Monday, June 4, 2012

Silly Little Mayan Long Count Calendar Utility

So for post 101 (that's 5 in binary), I'm giving a sneak peek into a silly utility I decided to develop. I don't know why, but it's just been one of those things that I thought "you know - why not?". So I am. And what IS said utility? Oh, it's tres bien, mon amie. And tres sillie. (And yes, I know that sillie is not really French). Regardless, here's a screenshot:
And what, pray tell, is that? Why, my friends, that's a Long Count (commonly referred to as "Mayan") calendar converter. It tells you what day it is in the Long Count (which, ya know, 'ends' on Dec 21 of this year - but not really). The Long Count calendar is actually pretty straightforward. It's mostly based on the number of days since the "dawn of man" which is - a date that correlates commonly to August 11, 3114 B.C.E. It uses a Julian dating scheme (every day is just 1 more day) and then divs and mods them into buckets (b'ak'tun, k'atun, tun, winal, and k'in). The main Wiki page gives a pretty good explanation of the whole thing.
I pretty much started it this evening when I got home, but I've been reading about the Long Count for a while now. I'm intrigued by different counting methods. I used to have a devil of a time with them (converting from decimal to binary to hexadecimal sucked). And then I heard Tom Lehrer's "New Math" (YouTube link here - and yes, you want to click it) and it completely resonated. I grokked it. My mom had Lehrer's LPs (if you remember those, you're older than you look) and I listened to them endlessly. Since then I've kind of geeked out at new methodologies.
Anyway, I looked in the App Store and saw a couple of things about the Long Count calendar but saw that some people were disappointed in the lack of functionality of some of those other apps. There are multiple "reckonings" for the start point of the Long Count, but those are all just relative to the main reckoning. It seems simplistic to use the different reckonings for reference use and also to allow people to convert any date. Probably be able to put in a Long Count and have it convert to a Gregorian date as well. So I'll see what I can do to make that happen and quickly.
Given that I have the basic calendar already working in just a few hours I'm actually feeling a lot more accomplished than I have in ages. And that's a good thing. And tres bien, mon amie.