The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Didn't think of that …

Well, that didn't work.

The battery in my watch is dead and I haven't bothered to get a new one yet, so I couldn't use it for the alarm function (which is all I really use the watch for) to remind me that it was time to pick up The Kids (since I would otherwise be preoccupied and not notice the time). I have an alarm clock, but it's in the bedroom where Spring was currently sleeping, so that meant I would have to move it, meaning unplugging it, resetting the time, then setting the alarm, then remembering to move it back into the bedroom …


I think there's some form of alarm function under Windows XP but I don't know enough about the system to know where to look for it, nor do I know if it makes sufficient noise to act as an alarm, since I would be away from the computer.

But Linux has the at command. Used to issue a command at a given time. So I quickly coded up the following script:

while (`true`)
	echo ^G

which prints over and over again the bell character which causes the computer to beep. I let that run, went into the other room where I would be occupied and yes, I could hear the incessant beeping; it was just loud enough that it would eventually grow annoying enough to warrant my attention (so with that, I allowed some leeway into what time I was going to set it for).

So I set the script to run at the appropriate time.

It didn't matter since I was finished with what I was doing before it would have gone off anyway. I was still out of the Computer Room when it was supposed to go off and when I did come back, the computer was silent. I didn't think much of it, other than it either worked and for some reason stopped running (it shouldn't have) or it didn't work at all, but I didn't care at that point.

Now, about four hours later my Linux system is acting just a tad sluggish. Check the load aveage and it's running over 1 (which for this system, is highly unusual). I start peeking around, and lo, there is my script, running, issuing a stream of beeps that aren't making it to the speaker. I stop the program, and I get the email output of my script, which consisted of over 15,000 bell characters, all preserved in their text bound existance.

Silly me … it didn't dawn on me that any output would be saved to a file and emailed to me.


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