Tag Archives: schedule

when: A sleeper hit for the median demographic

I wasn’t really enthused about when when I first looked into it. I’ve seen a lot of calendar tools and a lot more to-do list managers, and I didn’t see a whole lot that stood out at first glance.


And actually, maybe that’s good. A program that has quite a few strong points but is easily overlooked doesn’t create nearly the empty-headed flap as a shallow program with lots of fanboys. And yes, betty, I’m looking at you. 😑

I don’t mean that I wish obscurity on when, only that it deserves to be digested at a decent pace.

when makes a nicely formatted list out of a very simple arrangement. Follow the brief setup scheme, and from then on every instance of when e puts you in your $EDITOR. The data arrangement is very easy to follow: Just separate the date from the note with a couple of spaces and a comma.

Leave your editor, and every time you enter when, you’ll get a list of upcoming events. Simple.

But when can handle some fundamental date tests, and this is where when really kicks it into gear.

when can sift out specific dates annually, so regular holidays, like Christmas or Valentine’s Day are easy to add. when can also filter for observed events too — so holidays or events that fall on a weekend can appear on regular weekdays. Now you can handle the complexity of scheduling Golden Week.

Arranging simple date tests is a breeze too, and you can pluck out the traditional Father’s Day — as the third Sunday in June — with no more than m=jun & w=sun & a=3. And believe it or not, when has provisions for dates that precede the end of the month too, and the man page claims it can handle things like moveable feasts. That’s impressive.

For a long time I was a strong proponent of the one-two knockout punch of wyrd and remind. But short of complex and detailed minute-by-minute calendars, wyrd/remind is overkill.

On the other hand, calcurse does a decent job handling very simple calendar requirements, and its visual arrangement is a great asset.

If I had to, I’d put when somewhere in between those two poles, and possibly even closer to the high-end wyrd/remind combination. I’m confident it can do some of the more challenging schedules that I would otherwise relegate to wyrd/remind, and it might even do them more quickly and gracefully.

A small warning: I noticed that some more complex and lengthy calendar lists cause a slight pause when displaying. It should probably go without saying that complex tests and date calculations will take a while to display. If you’re on very old hardware, that might trigger a lag.

Then again, if you have long, complicated scheduling requirements, you might be better off devoting a little more power to it than just your old leftover K6-2. :\

leave: Repeat after me, simple is best

It appears by the man page that leave is an immigrant from BSD, and by all accounts it’s a worthy addition to the population of Linux software.

leave does somethings simple but important — takes a time as an argument, and throws out an alarm as you get closer and closer to it.


There’s almost nothing to leave, and aside from that one time flag, it doesn’t accept much as an argument.

It seems to do its job rather well, and I’ve even tried starting more than one leave reminder, and they don’t seem to conflict.

So perhaps it’s possible to run more than one at a time and not confuse it.

A few shortcomings … it can only track times within the last 12 hours. Yes, I know, that’s inconvenient for those of us with daylong usage habits.

And it does not allow customizing the alarm message, which seems like a no-brainer for the program designer. I would much rather have it scream “ACHTUNG!” in all capital letters than just say, “Time to leave!”

More flexible that way. πŸ˜‰

It seems to be rather aged though, so perhaps it’s not appealing for someone to pick through the guts of this to get it working in a different fashion.

Final note: I only find leave in Debian, and I don’t know enough about the BSD landscape to be able to find it outside of packages.debian.org. If you’re familiar with BSD and kind find a home page for leave, please send it along. Cheers! πŸ™‚

cron: The chronological daemon

I think I have yet to meet a Linux distro that didn’t include cron, in some fashion or another, by default.


I suppose in that sense it doesn’t bear my explanation. I’ve used it only rarely by design; other times, it was just running by default.

crontab is an underling to the daemon. If you want to get started with cron, the comments in the basic crontab -e display will give you hints.

If you need more of a jump start, you could look over this quick how-to that some geek wrote, years ago.

More help than that, and I would advise you to take a peek at the finest collection of computer know-how in the history of Linuxdom … the Arch wiki. πŸ˜‰

calcurse: Simple is best … usually

I mention calcurse today, knowing full well I am of two minds on it.


(Warning, another big gif.)

I used calcurse for more than a year and never felt shortchanged or underpowered.

However, I also left it for wyrd when I realized how much more detail and power I could get out of the remind substructure.

calcurse was a winner for me for a long time, just for its simplicity.

Controls are obvious, menus are terse but complete, and there is enough customization that you can make it feel like home.

But I’ve told you about remind and wyrd already, and as soon as you see — or need — the detail and precision that they offer, you’ll probably shift.

So basically, if your life is simple, you’ll like calcurse. The instant it gets complicated … hello, wyrd. 😐

ical2rem.pl: Bridging the graphical and the textual

I use wyrd on a daily basis, the fantastic frontend to the planet-crushing power of remind.

But I also rely on a Google calendar for work-related stuff. Occasionally it becomes necessary to splice calendars together, and that’s when the fun starts.

Google allows you to export calendars into ics format, though a calendar’s Settings page. And ical2rem.pl converts them quickly into reminder format.

There’s nothing to see when this happens, so I don’t have a screenshot for you today.

But this wiki page will give you an idea how to set it up.

Personally I don’t bother with the cron job, like it suggests. It’s not often that I have to convert between them, and so once a month probably works for me.

The script is also in AUR, but it might be quicker just to download it. Have fun. πŸ™‚

P.S.: Apparently the script has either been rewritten or converted to ruby. I haven’t tried that. Let me know how it works. πŸ˜‰