Terminal-based task manager


Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/08/01/terminal-based-task-manager.html


I’m a fan of remember the milk, it has smart parsing and will auto assign due dates from the text so the workflow is primarily typing.

Also this boing boing post about writing your task list for public consumption was transformative for me: https://boingboing.net/2017/01/16/the-benefit-of-making-your-per.html. Way more crucial than the specific app.


“but I’m too young to have ever used textmode apps in a way anyone would be nostalgic about”

Does Global War count? Because I get real nostalgic about Global War.


(first PC: 1996)

But you had an Amstrad CPC, Rob! And even a Spectrum! You’re not that young!


(first PC: 1996)

What does a PC have to do with terminals? I learned on a PDP-8, myself.


What about org-mode?


What about top? Top comes standard with most builds of linux.


I have little nostalgia for WordStar.


I saw this yesterday, and like the idea. I need it wrapped with automatic commits and pulls on a git repo, and some team capabilities. If I had a little more motivation, I’d do just that… If we could use this format as a standard, there could be a whole ecosystem of desktop/mobile/browser frontends.
Someone give me a swift kick in the ass so I do this, will ya? Or maybe I’ll just add it to my task list.


I’ve been using Gina Trapani’s todotxt for years: http://todotxt.org/


Different kind of task manager unless you organize your priorities by writing programs that spin the CPU for varying amounts of time.


top is a process manager. This is a task manager, as in to-do list - not in the windows sense


re: org-mode: The learning curve is a little steep, but well worth it!


So its a to-do list then.


As the boingboing.net URL promises, this is a dubious use of the word “minimalism”, though ironically there’d be a good case for describing stdio-based apps as “brutalist”. And I’m not sure command-line UIs will ever be the hipster’s choice, with their low ratio of coffee-shop cachet to actual effort.

Anyhoo command lines aren’t obsolete, and for some things they’re the future. Like, if you use AutoCAD-style applications, you sooner or later realise that the experience is vastly improved by turning off the hundreds of meaningless distressing buttons and just typing [the first few letters of] “rectangle” or “sweep” or “loft” as needed. That goes for any app where there’s always a large number of unrelated actions you might want to take next. You have to learn how to do the actions regardless, and ultimately it’s easier to learn a hundred words than a hundred patterns of clumsy mouse-intensive bollocks that change every time your toolbars get rearranged. MS Word should totes have this option.


8-bits like the Amstrad really didn’t have much of a command line. It looks like they do but it’s just a basic interpreter with bare-metal access. There were certainly no useful applications to be found and I was a kid anyway.

More salient might be the Amiga I had as a teenager. But it was quite peculiar: you had to load a useful OS or baremetal application from a bootstrap prompt, and the result was an ecology centered around games and apps with terrible custom graphical UIs. I don’t even think AmidaDOS was baked in – it had to be loaded from floppy!

So the age I was first exposed to a computer with “real” text-mode software was the age I got my first PC. And it came with Windows 95, which had the effect of exposing only the most annoying and difficult command-line goings on.


Theoretically, you could run CP/M on the Amstrad if you had a disk drive, but I know disk drives were relatively uncommon on British micros although they were viewed as essential in the US – essentially all software here was on disc. And like you said, you were a kid and so the text-mode apps of CP/M wouldn’t be that appealing. But if you haven’t used it, CP/M was basically like an 8-bit version of MS-DOS (yes, I know the lineage goes the other way), and had a command line basically identical to it.


Nice! I had CP/M (control program for microcomputers) on a VT180, which was a short-lived PC competitor of sorts from DEC… they toook their then world-leading VT100 terminal (a lovely, solid curvy thing) and cut it free from the shackles of needing mainframe via CP/M. I still put it on my CV/resume for the lulz, though I don’t fancy my chances of getting a job using CP/M any time soon :wink:

I used to code ASCII games (with moving graphics, thanks to the magic of escape codes) in BASIC on that box. Used the “Select” word processor extensively too. Formative.

** wavy lines to indicate me going back in time **


A mix of top and Core Wars for team priority setting. I can see it now. :slight_smile:


I never got around to programming the Quake mod idea I had back in college: some variant of capture the flag where there’s a flag for each print job, and a successful capture puts it at the front of the queue.

There’s some logic to the idea of writing a program that will check your progress on a task and automatically terminate when you’ve completed it, so that you can use top as your todo list, but it’s probably not the most practical way to go about it. Now that I think about it, it might be nice to have the option of adding automated monitoring into a todo list.