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Displaying Task “Execution Delay” in Remind


remind is a reminder tool for UNIX-like systems. I use it all the time. It manages meetings for me, reminds me when to pay my bills, tells me when someone’s birthday is coming up. I don’t know what I would do without it. I have a cron job on my webserver that runs remind every day and emails me the output. Each morning when I check my email I have a listing of the day’s events. All I have to do is edit this little text file to add or remove more items:

# Upcoming
REM 29 Mar 2013 MSG Collexion Hacker Lunch Sav's at 1PM
REM 3 Apr 2013 MSG Collexion Developers Meetup at 7PM
REM 19 Apr 2013 UNTIL 20 Apr 2013 MSG RailsBridge

# Appointments
REM 7 May 2013 MSG 8:00AM Bone Graft
REM 2 Apr 2013 MSG NIMS meeting 11:00AM - 12:15PM 4th Floor Gov Center

# Bills
REM 14 +5 Wells Fargo Payment Due on the 14th (%b)

One thing I recently wanted is to use remind like a todo list, but also show how long something has been on the todo list to emphasize how old they are and how increasingly important it is that they get done. I call this “execution delay” and I want to show this as a count next to the item. So, if I added something on March 20th, 2013, the next day I would get a reminder with that task and a “-1”, telling me its been one day since its been on the list.

remind includes an FSET construct for adding custom functions to your remind file. Using this, I can make my “execution delay” function and my reminder:

# Functions
FSET _delay(y,m,d) date(y,m,d)-today()

REM MSG Write Proposal ([_delay(2013,3,20)])

The reminder email will tell me how many days this item has been sitting on the list:

Write Proposal (-8)
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