SINNERS!! HEAR ME!! For too long have you lain contented and SLOTHFUL in the illusion that time is infinite! SOON the UNIX EPOCH will END and numbers will OVERFLOW their confines CLEANSING all in a flood the likes we have not seen since 1901!!! The SINS of your 32 BITS will chase your children and your children's children unless you REPENT NOW and cleanse your code of the 2038 BUG!!


Beneath the smooth veneer of your shiny Web 2.0 app or fancy new dynamic programming language or powerful database is pit of barely contained screaming demons which run our computers. These demons are held in check by a diminishing army of stalwart obsessive-compulsive C programmers. It is an unglamorous world of unfashionable programming languages and technologies, but somebody has to do it. I’m going to show you a little bit of this world and reveal how that unless these unglamorous, unsung sewer workers of the computing world do their job the world will end in 2038.

I’ll do it by showing you how your computer calculates the time and date. Sounds simple? Its not.

Calendaring is hard. Calendaring is very hard. Its also a little crazy. OK, its a lot of crazy. Fortunately there’s a small band of equally crazy people who make it all work so you don’t have to know anything about the crazy.

We’re going to look at some of that crazy, reveal the madness.

We’ll see that computers suck at math.

We’ll discover that there are time zones on Mars.

We’ll look at the 2038 bug effecting 32 bit systems, why you care about it now in 2010 and how to protect yourself against it.

We’ll peek at the hidden time limits in the protocols and programs you use every day.

We’ll better appreciate the people who keep that swarming pit of demons in check and powering your lolcat generator

Speaking experience


  • Schwern round tuit oscon 2005


    Schwern has a copy of Perl 6, he lets Larry Wall borrow it and take notes.

    Schwern once sneezed into a microphone and the text-to-speech conversion was a regex that turns crap into gold.

    Damian Conway and Schwern once had an arm wrestling contest. The superposition still hasn’t collapsed.

    Schwern was the keynote speaker at the first YAPC::Mars.

    When Schwern runs a smoke test, the fire department is notified.

    Dan Brown analyzed a JAPH Schwern wrote and discovered it contained the Bible.

    Schwern writes Perl code that writes Makefiles that write shell scripts on VMS.

    Schwern does not commit to master, master commits to Schwern.

    SETI broadcast some of Schwern’s Perl code into space. 8 years later they got a reply thanking them for the improved hyper drive plans.

    Schwern once accidentally typed “git pull —hard” and dragged Github’s server room 10 miles.

    There are no free namespaces on CPAN, there are just modules Schwern has not written yet.

    Schwern’s tears are said to cure cancer, unfortunately his Perl code gives it right back.


      • Title: How To Report A Bug
      • Track: Cooking
      • Room: Broadway
      • Time: 3:454:30pm
      • Excerpt:

        Bug reports drive Open Source, but too often it’s a hostile experience. As a user, how do you report a bug without being treated like you’re dumping a sack of crap on the developer’s doorstep? As a developer, how do you encourage users to report bugs? This is not a tutorial, but an examination of the social aspects of bug reporting.

      • Speakers: Michael Schwern
      • Title: Your Internets are Leaking
      • Track: Cooking
      • Room: Morrison
      • Time: 4:455:30pm
      • Excerpt:

        Using your computer on a public network is like having a conversation on a city bus: people you don’t know can hear everything you say. They’ll probably be polite and ignore you, but you still might not want to shout out your credit card number. Yet this is what your computer does. All the time. And you don’t know it.

      • Speakers: Reid Beels, Michael Schwern