back to article Happy Friday the 13th! It's Programmers' Day

If your code monkeys aren't answering their emails today, it may not be the curse of Friday the 13th, but instead because they've taken a day of rest to celebrate Programmers' Day. Programmers' Day is celebrated on the 256th day of the year, representing the maximum number of values in a byte – and 256 is also the largest …


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  1. Gomez Adams

    Only if you work with 8 bit bytes. Not always the case.

    1. Gerard Krupa

      If you want parity and stop bits you'll have to go write software on one of Jupiter's moons

    2. Fink-Nottle

      Wait ... you're not suggesting programmers should work an 8 day week?

    3. C 18

      A byte is always 8-bits


      You might have encoding systems and protocols and other stuff that uses bits of bytes in particular ways to give n-bit coding systems, but bytes have 8bits, words have two bytes, etc, etc, etc...

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: A byte is always 8-bits

        To out-pedant you, I think you'll find that although a byte is, by definition, always eight bits, a machine word is whatever size the machine is designed to work with. This might be 2 bytes, although there aren't that many sixteen bit architectures around these days, most modern machines being 32 or 64-bit. The machines I learned to program on were 8-bit, where a byte and a word were synonymous.

  2. Mr Young

    That's it!

    I refuse to read the words 'marketing' and 'programmers' in the same article - please consider my subscription cancelled.

  3. Demosthenese


    "But as any good programmer knows, this ignores the use of zero as a value."


    day[0] = 'Jan 1st'

    So day[255] will be the 256th element, afterall.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Okay, why can't they just call it day 0x100 and be done with it?

    1. Robert Forsyth

      @Stuart Longland

      Surely, day 0xFF - flip-flop day

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        A proposition that has not much flip but quite a lot of flop.

    2. Wil Palen

      That, is Overflow Day

  5. JLV

    One day off? How wimpy!

    Where a superset of gov programmers had it made.

    For a while, anyway (odd that this relic made it all the way to 2013 imho)

  6. lauris

    a plan for programmers day

  7. hplasm


    Seeing as the most arsey Programmers refer to themselves as "Developers", dos that mean we can ignore them on this most auspicious day?

    They can get their own "Developers' Day" if they want one!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So-

      Errm, no thanks, I don't want to be associated with that sweaty gorilla jumping around on stage chanting "Developers".

      No, the title of Programmer (or Engineer, as I am one of those as well) will do me fine.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just picking a random couple of paragraphs... pick upon...

    >Programmers' Day is celebrated on the 256th day of the year, representing the maximum number of values in a byte – and 256 is also the largest power of two that comes to less than the 365 days found in a regular year. This means the holiday falls on September 13 most of the time and September 12 in leap years.

    >Pedants might note that the binary representation of 1111 1111 is actually 255, making Programmers' Day 24 hours too late. But as any good programmer knows, this ignores the use of zero as a value.

    "maximum number of values in a byte" - a byte contains one value, the maximum value that it can contain is 255, there are 256 values possible in a byte, they range from 0 to 255.

    "ignores zero as a value" - the problem in misunderstanding is the use of numbers to do one of two things, count or reference. When counting, zero is always considered a value, the absense of the thing being counted. When referencing, there are one-based indexes (or indices, depending on the intensity level of your pedantry), and there are zero-based indexes. This is where the real problems began, especially the notorious 'off-by-one' and 'fencepost' types of errors so prevalent in developers who want to be programmers.

    So, remember, there are only 10 types of people in the world...those who understand binary...and...those who don't...

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