If you’ve pair programmed with me, you might have seen me type something to the following effect on my terminal, particularly if I have just created a new file:

$ codetime

Then somehow I can magically paste a formatted timestamp into the file! Well it’s not a mystery, in fact, it’s just a simple alias:

alias codetime="clock.py code | pbcopy"

Oh, well that’s easy — why the blog post? Hey, what’s clock.py? A great question! This Python script is the dumbest thing that I have ever written, that has become the most useful tool that I use on a daily basis. Whenever there is a dumb to useful ratio like that, it’s blogging time. Here is clock.py:

So that’s it. It literally just prints out a string formatted datetime based on a named argument like “code”. In fact, this Jekyll blog has a date property in the YAML front matter that I can get using clock.py blog! So why do this? Well first, I was tired of aliasing date, particularly because there is a different implementation on OS X and Linux. Secondly, I needed JSON timestamps in UTC rather than my current time. This simple printer does that for me! So voila!