What Day Is It? @ tk here on Friday, September 14, 2007 12:02 AM
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Friday, September 14, 2007

What Day Is It?

Today or yesterday (depending on where you are) just so happens to be programmers' day, international chocolate day and (the late) Roald Dahl's birthday! Yes, it turns out that Sept 13 2007 is quite an eventful day. Too bad it isn't a Friday else it'll be a Thank God It's Friday (TGIF) day and Friday the 13th day as well.

The story behind programmers' day is that Sept 13 is the 256th day. If you're a programmer, you'll probably understand the significance of 256. For non-programmers, 2 to the power of 8 or 2^8 is 256 which is the number of possible values a byte can take up.

How is this so? In order to explain this, I'll need to explain simple binary maths. To spare you and me the trouble of it all (since the decimal system is firmly etched into some people's mindset), 00000000 to 11111111 are all the possible values a byte can take up. In total 256 combinations are possible (0 to 255) if you restrict the available digits to only 0 and 1.

And why are bytes important? Well, your harddisk knows the answer to that one. But if your harddisk isn't cooperating, Wikipedia is your friend (well, so is Google).

By the way, an attempt was made this year to cash in on this day at the Programmers' Day site.

As for international chocolate day, I'm not too sure about the story behind this. Why September the 13th? Is it because programmers worldwide are celebrating by stuffing themselves with gobs of chocolate? Or is Sept 13 infamous for poor chocolate sales? I'm still wondering. In the meantime, you could take a look at all the chocolate days at Candy USA!. Turns out there are plenty of chocolate days.

If you visit Google right now, you shouldn't be surprised to see pictures from Roald Dahl's popular stories embedded into Google's logo. Avid readers of Roald Dahl should recognize illustrations of Matilda, James and the Giant Peach and Charlie's chocolate bar with the golden ticket from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. For techies, Blogoscoped has more on Google's Universal Search. Non-techies could check out Wikipedia's page on Roald Dahl. And if you haven't read any of his stories before, now isn't too late to start.

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