punch: Getting past my prejudices

I arrive at punch with a small sense of prejudice. I admit it.

punch describes itself as a “time-tracking add-on for todo.txt,” which you might know as a text-only to-do list manager. It’s been around for quite a while, and I don’t have anything specific to say about it until the T section.

Unfortunately, my prejudice comes from the fact that todo.txt invariably comes with the implied endorsement of lifehacker.com, which I lump into the mental category of “pop tech blog,” and therefore avoid.

(If you’re going to namedrop, at least pick something with some credibility beyond the latest rundown on tablets and how to clean your oven with vinegar and oatmeal. šŸ˜• )

So anyway … getting back to punch, which requires todo.txt in order to work right:


And after getting todo.txt set up, and after getting past the involuntary shudder that I get from skirting lifehacker.com, and after figuring out what makes punch tick … I find that punch is actually rather cool.

It’s very straightforward. There are only about five commands, and the help flag shows you everything you need to know to work it.

punch in (number) to start the timer on a task, the number of which corresponds to the todo.txt list.

punch out when you’re done. punch report to get a rundown on how long it took to wash the cat. šŸ˜‰

I have no doubts that you could get punch up and running in less than five minutes’ time. And I’ve already covered more than half of what it does.

punch is not in Debian, that I could find. It’s also about five years past its last update, I think, and the PKGBUILD in AUR is sketchy at best.

However, it’s a python script, so if you have a little bit of gumption, you should be able to get it plucked out and working.

If you’re not distracted by lifehacker’s latest reviews of magnetic glass scrubbers, that is. šŸ˜

4 thoughts on “punch: Getting past my prejudices

  1. rodney

    Hah. “Tech”. Unless someone can call Facebook, cuisine and bills techy, they haven’t talked about anything related to computers since Trapani (todo.txt’s author) left Lifehacker years ago.

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