You know dates are the bane of a programmer. I mean think of all the Y2K FUD, that's nothing, dates have always sucked. The worst thing about dates is that the Americans think it's cool to put the month first.
Seriously, who had the brain explosion and thought, yeah, this'll be a good idea, lets make the date 4/5/2004. It can't have been the entire American population can it? Who is responsible! It is fkn stupid, and no argument in support of the idea has any merit whatsoever.
Normally, I wouldn't be so peeved. Usually I just say, “OK, my name's Paul and this's between y'all” if the Americans want to do stupid things, then fine, go right ahead, I mean you've stubbornly stuck with the imperial system, why not have a useless date format too? Right?
For me, ISO dates (yyyy-mm-dd) all the way, failing that then d/m/y. Why am I so upset? Because I have software that I installed the other day that only handles dates in the m/d/y format, and I can't do anything about it.
ISO dates and their sensible alphabetical (alphabetanumerical?) order are great.
I think 'alphanumeric' is the word you are looking for, unless you were just teasing.. :P
It is the ISO date formats ability to sort properly with an alphabetic sort that makes me love it so much. Plus starting from the 'most significant' time is a natural idea, this is how our number system works, i.e. thirty-seven is 37 not 73.