As I was reading the latest Linux Format Magazine, they had a great tip for a low tech way to remind yourself of different time-sensitive events. The best part is that it works under any window manager! (ie it doesn’t matter if you’re in Gnome, KDE, XFCE, Fluxbox, or any other) The trick is to use xmessage and at. at is cron’s little brother, for scheduling things that will happen in the future, but not be a recurring event. xmessage presents a little dialogue box with whatever message you give it. Here’s a screenshot with an example!


As you can see, the syntax is very easy! Just type xmessage and give it a message. Just so you know, it has problems with exclamation points. You may have to escape it, but I’m not sure if it’s your shell that determines the escape sequence. To use the full technique to set a reminder for five minutes from now, you could type:

at five minutes today

then hit enter and you will get


type xmessage “it’s five minutes later!” Then hit control-d to escape at. And you’re done! In five minutes, x will pop up a dialogue box to remind you of the passing of five minutes. For a similar technique for those of you who hate GUIs, just use wall in place of xmessage and, as I described in a previous post, it will notify you to all terminals and virtual terminals! Enjoy and happy hacking!

Author: Eric Mesa

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