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Living Linux

Reminding Yourself With Linux


Sometimes it's useful to give a reminder to yourself -- like to tell you when it's time to get off the computer. Here's a few simple and effective ways to use Linux and open source tools to make reminders for either later in your current login session, or for the next time you log in.

Sending reminders in email

Sending yourself a short email message is often effective for reminding yourself to do something during your next workday or the next time you read email; keeping a message in your INBOX works as a constant reminder to get something done -- provided you don't abuse it and fill your INBOX with lots of these "urgent" mails!

To quickly send an email reminder, give your email address (or just your username on your Linux box, if you check mail there) as an argument to the mail tool. You'll be prompted to give a subject for the message and if that isn't enough space for the reminder, you can write as many lines as you need below it, as the message body text; press Ctrl-d on a line by itself to send the mail.

For example, if your email address is, to send yourself an email reminder:

Subject: Bring files to meeting
Null message body; hope that's ok

The text you type on the Subject: line is displayed as the subject of your email message, and the lines of text you type after that is the body text of the message. In the example, the reminder was typed in the Subject: line and the message body was empty.

Press Ctrl-d on a line alone to end the message; mail then prompts for any email addresses to send a "carbon copy" of the message to; just press enter to ignore it.

There isn't much editing capability in this basic email service -- Ctrl-u erases the current line and Ctrl-c Ctrl-c (yes, press it twice) cancels the message.

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