Nov 6, 2008

Handy Nix Shell Commands - Alarm Clock Oneliners and More

Some linux commands are fantastic!

I found some nice ones in a slashdot postings about surprising linux commands and others come from slashdot user tpwch.

Alarm Clocks and Notices

Want a simple alarm clock? Try this one:
echo "cat /dev/urandom > /dev/dsp" | at 7am tomorrow

Your food is in the oven?
sleep $((20*60)); xmessage "Dinner is done"

You can also use zenity to get a popup message:
sleep $((20*60)); zenity --info --text "Dinner is done"

Or, if you prefer a voice message, you can use espeak or festival, which I explain in Free Text-to-Speech.
sleep $((20*60)); echo "Take the food out of the oven" | espeak

Notification of events.

For example, notifying me when some specific thing changed on a website:
CHECKLINE="$(curl -s [] | grep "currently undergoing maintenence")"
while true; do
sleep 120
[ -z "$CHECKLINE" ] && xmessage "somewebsite is open again" && exit

Checking for changes on a website:
while true; do
CONTENT=$(elinks -dump 1 -dump-charset iso-8859-1 "")
MD5=$(echo -n $CONTENT | md5sum -)

[ "${MD5}" != "${OLD_MD5}" ] && {
xmessage "$(printf "New action: :\n\n${CONTENT}")"
sleep 120

Prank Greetings

Some nice greetings to your colleague?
cat /dev/random | write colleague


  1. The brightness of the screen can be adjusted with a simple drag of your finger, up or down. This is great for being able to have it dim enough to let you sleep, but take a quick swipe up and see whatever info you’re looking for.

  2. Very helpful news, I’ve been searching for posts on the topic of this blogging. Thanks for sharing! featured

  3. Nice commands. Thanks!