A Historic Terminal

Mac Tip #126/05-Nov-2003
A Historic Terminal

Your Mac with OS X is really running an operating system which can receive instructions not by dragging and dropping items or pointing and clicking with a mouse but by typing complex strings of apparently meaningless letters, numbers and symbols. This is how computers used to work back in the day.

This tip is only for “tenners”.

Imagine how much computers would have caught on with the general public if every time you wanted to see what files are in a folder you had to type:

ls -la


The Terminal is a special bit of software you’ll find in your Utilities Folder which allows you a brief glimpse of this olde worlde stuff.

Geeks can work magic with the Terminal, but ordinary folks such as you and I can just have a little bit of fun.

The Terminal window doesn’t show much

Start up Terminal and you’ll see a prompt. Mine looks like this:

Last login: Sun Nov 2 21:29:53 on console

Welcome to Darwin!

B5:~ miraz$

Call up a calendar

The year calendar for 2003.

The year calendar for 2003.

To see just a calendar for the current month I type beside miraz$: cal

For a whole year (2003 in this case) type: cal 2003

For a specific month (November 2003 in this case) type: cal 11 2003

What happened on a date?

I wonder what happened on 5 November in 1605? Let’s find out. I type this (being very careful with my typing so as to avoid spelling errors):

cat /usr/share/calendar/* | grep `date +"11/05"`

Here’s an explanation of which keys to press:

cat [space] /usr/share/calendar/* [space] [shift \] grep [space] ` [that's the key to the left of 1 on the numbers across the top of the keyboard] date [space] +”[month]/[day]“`

It sounds awful but give it a try. You can also just copy and paste from here. Along with a couple of other lines you’ll find:

11/05 Roy Rogers born, 1912

11/05 Guy Fawkes’ Plot, 1605

Once you’ve had some fun looking up various dates just Quit the Terminal.

Note: I’m no expert using the Terminal. The basis for this Tip can be found at: Paul Bissex’s Blog.

Try all these great Terminal Tips


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