I understood the merits of the approach, but it struck me that a relative time might be a little more useful for many situations. For example, in a fast moving discussion, a short timestamp (e.g. 8:30 AM) as well as a verbal summary of how long ago the time was (e.g. “4 hours ago”, “20 minutes ago”) are most useful to the user. [...] Now, I figured this could be achieved very easily in PHP - and it could.
His code is included showing a series of if/else comparisons that change the values to their hour/minute/second counterparts. He also recommends the PEAR Numbers_Words package to help with readability.