On Dennis Ritchie

The past week there has been a ton of recognition for the contributions Steve Jobs had made to computing and society through his work. Steve Jobs was a household name. Dennis Ritchie however was not a household name. Despite this his work was amazingly influential on almost every aspect of our daily lives either directly or indirectly. Everything from the computer I wrote this blog post on to the server sending you this blog post involved his work.

Rob Pike best eulogized his work, copied below for posterity. An amazing legacy.

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UNIX Apocalypse

Apparently Unix time/POSIX time will hit a rather impressive 1234567890 in the next few days. What is even more interesting is that this is happening on Friday the 13th, 2009. You can find out when it will happen in your local time by running perl -e 'print scalar localtime(1234567890),"\n";'. Just another milestone on the way to Y2K38.

As a sidenote, on Friday April 13, 2029 99942 Apophis will have a close encounter with earth.

Yea it’s superstition, but it sure is fun 😉 .

[Via Slashdot]

Shell Stats

Since it seems like everyone else on Planet Mozilla is doing it… My twist: multiple systems. Actually I found it interesting too see the variation based on what I use them for.


$ history | awk '{a[$2]++}END{for(i in a){print a[i] " " i}}' | sort -rn | head
114 ls
91 cd
63 sh
41 ssh
37 sudo
14 pico
13 exit
12 ping
10 ./gl_tail
8 top

Home Server

$ history | awk '{a[$2]++}END{for(i in a){print a[i] " " i}}' | sort -rn | head
68 ls
64 dig
55 cd
45 whois
27 ps
24 clear
23 sudo
14 pico
12 top
12 exit


$ history | awk '{a[$2]++}END{for(i in a){print a[i] " " i}}' | sort -rn | head
67 top
65 ssh
31 ls
29 sudo
26 dig
23 cd
20 ps
19 svn
17 php
8 ping

In Search Of The Epoch Child

The UNIX Epoch is 00:00:00 UTC on January 1, 1970. That’s essentially the beginning of time for UNIX based systems. You know, “In the beginning when Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie created the /usr and the /etc1.

I’m curious if anyone has tracked down someone (preferably a geek) who was born on the Unix Epoch. I guess we can’t be too exact since the question would be “are you born when your head is out, or when your butt is out? Can the cord still be attached or do you need to be unplugged?” or something to that effect.

All kidding aside, it would be interesting to know if anyone has come to the realization that they are the Epoch Child. I’m not sure (any calendar scholars can help me out here), but it seems the last child to have a time standard’s origin coincide with their birth may have been Jesus (and obviously any other child born that night). In that case, it seems they likely it was rounded as best they could (see Wikipedia discussion of Jesus’s Birth Year and Date).

Remember to account for the timezone. For example if your born in New York, that’s -5:00. So anyone feel like finding him/her? Obviously some proof would be necessary to prove your the epoch child.

It would also be interesting to find some others, but this seems to be the most interesting.

1 Yea, lame Genesis joke.

Background Batch File

I want to run a batch file via Scheduled Tasks in Windows XP.

Does anyone know how to run it in the background (without the window)? I don’t want to see the window. Just have it do it’s magic.

Crontab like (no crontab ports though, don’t want to add more software).

Anyone with info on how-to, please comment or email. Neat trick in the next 24-48 hours that involves this (will post of course).