Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A Couple of Quick Command Line and IRC timesaving tips

I'm one of those people who figures out things bit by bit. I learn enough to get what I want accomplished and then move on. A consequence of this is that I find out some time-saving trick literally years later, when it could have served me well from the beginning. But I'm too lazy (and too eager for immediate gratification) to take the time to thoroughly learn every nuance of some new exciting new toy.

So here are two things I've learned recently which you may or may not know:

1. In most IRC chat clients (Gaim/Pidgin anyway), you can use tab-completion to fill in nicknames of those in the chat. So if you wanted to type: "heathenx: You're a sorry excuse for a human being." , you could type "he" and then 'tab' and it would fill in the 'athenx' for you. If there are multiple matches, it lists them out and you type additional letters the next time to get a single match. **

2. In the bash terminal (works in rxvt under Cygwin, and likely on Mac terminals too), if you're searching for a past command you entered - and it's still in your command history - hit Ctrl-r. This will bring up a prompt so that as you type the first few letters it will find the most recent command matching those letters. It refines it's search result as you type more letters. If you find the command you wanted,  hit enter to execute the command or hit the right cursor key (or ctrl-j) to bring it onto the command line for you to edit.

So there are a couple of tips that might save you some time and frustration (things I'm intimately familiar with).

Note: Any reference to heathenx's or sorry excuses for human beings in this post are strictly fictional. No actual heathenx's were harmed in the production of this blog post - even if they claim to be. ;)

** - this tip comes via a Lotta Linux Links IRC chat session a while back. Check out the venerable Dave Yates and his podcast, blog, forum and irc channel at - you'll regret it if you don't.

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heathenx said...

Man, no respect. :p