Friday, August 31, 2012

Improve yourself with crontab and growlnotify

Its been a very long time since I last posted.  I've moved, changed jobs, major technologies (Windows / ASP.NET / C++ to Mac / Rails), had twin boys and am now working from home.  Working from home provides some great opportunities (family time instead of commute time being the big one).  I've found that I need help making sure that I take a break and step away from the computer occasionally during the day.  Also, I'm a skinny ex-cyclist who doesn't like to go to the gym, but does want to be stronger.  Enter GrowlNotify and crontab to the rescue.

I use Growl and GrowlNotify for all sorts of things in my development work.  Anytime I kick off a long process (tests, database restore, etc), I use growlnotify to let me know that task is done.  That way, I don't have to watch the process and can pick up immediately instead of possibly being distracted.

To provide me with a break every 30 minutes I've setup a cron job that sends me a message with growl.  Its very simple*:

~/.crontab 0,30 9-16 * * 1-5 /usr/local/bin/growlnotify -s -m "Time for some pushups or situps?" --image "/Users/johnnaegle/Pictures/growl_notify_pushup.jpg"

To let me easily change the timing, message or disable the notification easily, I put this in ~/.crontab (and some others) and added this to my .profile.  Whenever I launch a new terminal, the crontab gets updated with my latest list of timed notifications.
~/.profile crontab < ~/.crontab
The result? I get a forced break (good for the eyes) and get stronger.  I'm already noticing a difference.
* every 30 minutes between 9am and 4pm on Monday through Friday, send me a sticky growl message with growl_notify_pushups.jpg as the icon.

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