Zed Lopez

Status Bar Datestamps Made Easy

Suppose you want to represent the days of the week with one character each.


Oops, two ambiguities in a domain of just seven. Tuesday and Thursday may begin with the same letter, but not the same sound, so we can just throw in the IPA for the voiceless dental fricative, one of the sounds represented in English by the digraph /th/.


But we still have to disambiguate Saturday and Sunday. OK, Sun is for Sunday — what could be more clear?


That’s the Unicode “white sun with rays”. It’s a little hard to distinguish from a snowflake or a squashed bug at regular text sizes. But if you tend toward light text on a dark background, like me, the “black sun with rays” works better.


Black Sun was also an X-Men miniseries. Black Sun was also a Wildstorm character. Now that Wildstorm is being rolled into the DC Universe, there could be a Black Sun with rays series.

But a sun-eater is cooler.

I seem to have digressed. Anyway, there’s a perfectly good alternative symbol for the Sun lying around, the alchemical symbol.


But if we’re going alchemical, why should Saturday get the S? Saturn’s got its own alchemical symbol.


And Saturn’s not the only one. Just look at the days of the week.

Moon day
Tyr’s day
Wotan’s day
Thor’s day
Freya’s day
Saturn’s day
Sun day

In the interpretatio germanica, Tyr is Mars; Wotan is Mercury; Freya is Venus; Thor is… well, Thor is Hercules, but Thor’s Day is Jupiter’s day. So now we have:


I expect strftime to support this any day now. In the meantime, this convenient Perl one-liner breaks it down.

perl -e ‘binmode STDOUT,:utf8";print chr((0,0×263D,0×2642,0×263F,0×2643,0×2640,0×2644,0×2609)[(localtime(time))6])’