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Previous: 40.10 nextday, nextweekday: Tomorrow or Next Weekday Chapter 40
Delayed Execution
Next: 40.12 Periodic Program Execution: The cron Facility
 

40.11 Send Yourself Reminder Mail

I use the at command ( 40.7 ) to send myself reminders. The at job runs a mail program ( 1.33 ) and feeds the body of the message to the mailer's standard input. Examples:

  1. To send a one-line reminder, I use a one-line command like this:

    % 
    
    at 0427 tuesday
    
    
    at> 
    
    echo "send summary to Tim today" | mail jpeek@jpeek.com
    
    
    at> 
    [CTRL-d]
    
    %

    It sends mail at (in this case) 4:27 a.m. on the next Tuesday. The mail says: "send summary to Tim today."

  2. To send more than one line, you can use a temporary file:

    % 
    
    vi msgfile
    
    
       
    ...put message body in msgfile
    ...
    % 
    
    at 0808 feb 28
    
    
    at> 
    
    mail jpeek@jpeek.com < msgfile
    
    
    at> 
    
    rm msgfile
    
    
    at> 
    [CTRL-d]
    
    %

  3. Combine the output of UNIX commands and text with backquotes ( 9.16 ) and a here document ( 8.18 ) :

    % 
    
    at 0115
    
    
    at> 
    
    mail -s "Hard-working people" tom << END
    
    
    at> 
    
    These employees are working late. They deserve a bonus:
    
    
    at> 
    
    `w`
    
    
    at> 
    
    END
    
    
    at> 
    [CTRL-d]
    
    %

    That sends a message to tom at 1:15 a.m. tonight. (This mailer accepts a subject on the command line with its -s option. The output of the w command gives detailed information about logged-in users; not all systems have it.) Unless you understand how to quote here-document text ( 45.26 ) , the message shouldn't have anything but letters, numbers, commas, and periods.

If your system administrator has set up the calendar ( 48.4 ) program, it's good for easy one-line reminders on particular days. If your UNIX has personal crontabs ( 40.12 ) that can send periodic reminders every Tuesday, every hour, or whatever: use the commands in items 1 or 2 above.

- JP


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