I use and love OSX growl and Ubuntu notify style desktop notifications. They are gorgeous. But they are also distracting and after a few vibrant and whimsical but fleeting seconds they are gone forever and you have no way to get them back.

A more useful (and less glorious) way to receive notifications is in your tmux status bar. tmux is the brilliant successor to the venerable screen which hasn’t been actively developed for quite a while.

Here is how I configure notifications in my .tmux.conf file:

set -g status-interval 15    
set -g status-right !exec my_shell_script

This tells tmux to run my_shell_script every 15 seconds. It displays the first line of output from the shell script. Now I can get unobtrusive status updates which don’t go away. And if I ate a good breakfast, feel rested, and have the wind at my back I can write some code to log my notifications to a file so that I don’t miss any.

Here are some ideas that might be useful which I might someday do maybe perhaps possibly:

  • Status updates when someone says your name on irc
  • Status updates when jenkins tests fail
  • Status updates when people push code live
  • Status updates when people merge branches

Any other ideas?

Also don’t miss the tmux powerline status bar.