Remind FAQ

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Main article: Remind



What is Remind?

Remind is a sophisticated calendar and alarm service for Unix. It is a command line application which interacts well with other programs. Remind offers a specialized scripting language which can be used to express rather complicated scheduling methods in just a few lines.

Why would I want to use Remind?

  • Remind is very fast and lightweight in comparison to typical GUI calendar programs.
  • Remind can handle rather complicated recurring reminders, which are beyond the capability of most calendar applications.
  • Remind can interact well with other programs. You can quickly add reminders from the terminal, with Quicksilver, or with a homebrewed Python script; you can schedule applications to execute through Remind; you can display Remind's output through an external application, or even read off your reminders with a text-to-speech program.
  • If you have any programming experience, then the idea of using a scripting language to describe a calendar may seem very natural to you.

Where can I get Remind?

The Remind source code is available at the homepage:

In addition, Remind packages are available for most popular GNU/Linux and BSD distributions. An OS X package may be obtained through Fink.

How can I learn to use Remind?

  • The definitive reference is Remind's manpage. You can probably access it on your system by executing man remind at the terminal, or just look it up online.
  • David Skoll, the creator of Remind, wrote an introduction for the Linux Journal.
  • Mike Harris provided an OS X-oriented overview right here on 43 Folders.

Tips and Tricks

I have a recurring reminder. How can I cancel it on one or more dates?

Assuming you don't want to cancel every reminder on that date, you probably want to isolate the reminder in its own "omit context," like so:

   OMIT Mar 16 2006
   OMIT Mar 30 2006
   REM Thu SKIP MSG poker game tonight

Note that the the reminder will not be cancelled unless the SKIP keyword is used.

How can I generate popup windows to warn me of timed reminders?

You can use a separate application that takes text as input and simply displays it in a window; on GNU/Linux systems, gxmessage is one such program. Then you can launch Remind in "daemon mode" and direct it to generate a popup window for every timed reminder that is triggered:

remind -z -k'gxmessage -title "reminder" %s &' ~/.reminders &

You probably want this command to run exactly once, when your desktop is started. For an X Window desktop, this command could be placed in the startup script ~/.xinitrc .

OS X users may want to consider running Growl, then using growlnotify as a replacement for gxmessage.

How can I automatically create a popup window with my daily reminders?

The rem command can create a list of your reminders in the terminal. If you want to get a bit fancier, you can have your day's reminders automatically pop up in a window at whatever time you like. Just use cron to dump remind's output to a window periodically, with a cron table entry like this:

# Pop up daily reminders at 8:00am
00 08 * * * export DISPLAY=:0.0 && \
            remind -g ~/.reminders | gxmessage -title "today's reminders" -file -

This example is designed for an X11 desktop using gxmessage, but could be easily adapted for OS X running Growl or GeekTool.

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