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Albrik Avanessian (MET’22), who is Armenian and Iranian, says he enjoys how his Metropolitan College classmates share their ethnicity, culture, and language. All of these things “influence how we shape our understanding of the material being taught,” he says. Photo by Cydney Scott
Student ProfileA Master’s Degree at 62 for IS&T Staffer Albrik Avanessian His grad degree in project management from BU’s Metropolitan College is a reminder that it’s never too late to learn
Albrik Avanessian took the last flight out of his home country of Iran in 1978, before the Iranian Revolution made it problematic. He found a home with his brother, who had previously left for Florida to attend grad school. At first, the 19-year-old Avanessian spent a lot of time watching TV sitcoms like Happy Days, Sanford and Son, and Laverne & Shirley in an effort to learn American slang.
“When I was in Iran during the Shah’s time, English was a mandatory language to learn, but it was proper English—when you met someone you didn’t know, you said, ‘Hello,’ not ‘Hi,’” explains Avanessian, who also speaks fluent Armenian and Farsi. “So I watched the shows to learn about American culture. I tried to not necessarily assimilate, but integrate, bring in my experiences.”
Four decades later, Avanessian (MET’22) has fully integrated into American life and culture. The 62-year-old, married and a father, is a systems and networking program project manager with BU’s Information Services & Technology and is active in his Watertown community. At BU’s 149th Commencement on Sunday, he will receive a master of science degree in project management from Metropolitan College.
Avanessian says one of the only times he felt his age while in grad school was when classes resumed after the spring 2023 lockdown. He’s certain he was the oldest person in his classes—even older than the professor—and he was anxious about catching COVID because of his age (he was thankful to see everyone masked and the doors cracked, he says). When asked if it felt weird to be the only sexagenarian, Avanessian shakes his head no.
“It’s so good to sit next to people who have their life in front of them and they’re interested in having a dialogue,” Avanessian says. “Everyone is bringing a wealth of knowledge, and I hopefully added some too. MET has students from all over the world who bring their experiences—our ethnicity, the way we grew up, our culture, our language. These all influence how we shape our understanding of the material being taught.”A lifelong student
After earning two bachelor’s degrees, in computer science and in computer engineering, at the University of South Florida, Avanessian moved to the Boston area in 1989 and worked in computer science and project management positions for companies that included IBM, TJX, and Blue Cross Blue Shield.
He joined BU in August 2023, a year after his son, Shayan Avanessian (CAS’17, GRS’17), graduated with bachelor’s degrees in biochemistry and molecular biology and a master’s in biotechnology. As an IS&T project manager, Avanessian helps shepherd projects along for University clients by determining a project’s scope, timeline, budget, and how best to allocate resources. One of his current projects deals with data management, another is studying account authentication.
Before deciding to work for a master’s in project management, he thought he would study conflict resolution, and subsequently earned two graduate certificates, in dispute resolution from UMass Boston and in leadership for change from Boston College. Thinking of his own Armenian background (Armenians are Iran’s largest Christian minority), Avanessian is especially interested in the politics of ethnic conflict and conflict resolution, citing the Rwandan genocide of 1994 and Russia’s current war against Ukraine. “In the last 50 or 100 years we’ve had so many conflicts and most of it has to do with these top people deciding who dies and who lives,” he says.
He remembers hearing from a guest lecturer how a lunch meeting between two Central American leaders stopped the war they were about to start, and that has always stuck with him. “The fact that a simple lunch had such large implications for hundreds, if not thousands, of people dying?” he asks incredulously. “Suddenly you see this person not as an enemy, or as ‘other,’ and they avoided the war.”
He uses some of the conflict resolution techniques he’s learned in his current job, albeit with much lower stakes. “A huge part of a project manager’s job is to be patient,” Avanessian says. “I try to approach everything patiently, figuring out what can derail a project before it gets to the point.”
Kanabar describes his student as humble and down-to-earth, saying that another student once told him that he looks to Avanessian as a role model. “He’s very thoughtful, uses real-life experience. And he is patient and mentors fellow students,” Kanabar says.
And he’s not just a role model in the classroom. He is an active volunteer in Watertown, a community he and his wife chose to move to in 1995 for its diversity, large Armenian population, and proximity to Boston. He coaches in the town’s youth soccer league, although his son no longer plays, and is a board member with the Watertown Community Foundation, which raises funds for community groups that are directly addressing the issues most affecting Watertown’s communities of color and other underrepresented groups, according to their mission statement.
Avanessian says the group’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is extremely important to him as an immigrant who admires America’s “amazing experiment in democracy over the last 200-some odd years.
“You can’t just rely on others to continue this experiment—each of us has to get involved,” he says. “But for this involvement to happen, you need to have diversity, you need to have inclusion, and you need to have equity. I’ve seen what happens when it’s not like that, and it would be very sad if that happens to this country.”
Avanessian’s son, who is in a PhD program at the University of Washington, is flying in for the weekend to attend his father’s graduation. “He warned us he’s only coming in for a few days,” Avanessian says with a laugh. “But he’s pretty proud that his dad, at 62, is getting a master’s.”
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Actor Morgan Freeman to Receive Honorary Degree Oscar winner will be awarded Doctor of Humane Letters
Morgan Freeman is known as a consummate professional, less interested in star billing than in working with talented people.
He has played a US president, a freed slave, an ex-boxer, Nelson Mandela, and God (twice). Those roles just begin to hint at the versatility actor Morgan Freeman has brought to the stage and screen in a career spanning 5 decades and more than 70 films. Along the way, he has received nearly every award imaginable, among them the 2005 Academy Award for best supporting actor (one of five Academy Award nominations), a New York Film Critics Award, a Los Angeles Film Critics Award, and a Golden Globe, as well as honors from the National Society of Film Critics, the American Film Institute, and the National Board of Review.
On Sunday, May 19, the 75-year-old actor will receive yet another honor, when Boston University presents him with a Doctor of Humane Letters at the University’s 140th Commencement ceremony.
“I am most proud to receive this honorary degree from Boston University,” says Freeman. “However,” he adds, “we must never lose sight that there is no such thing as an honorary education.”
Freeman was bitten by the acting bug as a young boy in Mississippi. At age 12, he won a statewide drama competition, and as a high school student, he appeared on a radio show broadcast out of Nashville. But desperate to get out of the segregated South, he turned down a scholarship to study acting at Jackson State University to join the US Air Force, working as a radar technician for four years. He then moved to California and studied acting at the Pasadena Playhouse and Los Angeles Community College, before moving to San Francisco, where he appeared with local theater companies.
In the mid 1960s, Freeman moved to New York and took a series of odd jobs, including a stint as a dancer at the 1964 World’s Fair. He quickly found work off-Broadway, winning Obie Awards for his performances in productions of Coriolanus, The Gospel at Colonus, and the stage production of Driving Miss Daisy. He made his Broadway debut in an all-black revival of Hello, Dolly! starring Pearl Bailey.
It was a series of recurring roles on a PBS children’s television show that brought Freeman his first widespread recognition. For five years, he starred as Mel Mounds the DJ, Vincent the Vegetable Vampire, and most notably, Easy Reader on The Electric Company.
It wasn’t until 1987, when he was 50 years old, that Hollywood started to take notice of his considerable talent. That year, he earned his first Oscar nomination, as a fast-talking pimp in Street Smart, starring Christopher Reeve. Two years later, Freeman secured his reputation as one of the industry’s most versatile actors by taking on three back-to-back, vastly different roles: a freed slave in the Civil War drama Glory, real-life high school principal Joe Clark in Lean on Me, and the dignified chauffeur Hoke Colburn opposite Jessica Tandy in the film version of Driving Miss Daisy. That performance earned Freeman a second Oscar nomination and critical raves. Reviewing the film for the New York Times, Vincent Canby wrote, “Though the character never appears to be tough, it is a tough performance…the work of an actor who has gone through all of the possibilities, stripped away all the extraneous details, and arrived at an essence.”
Freeman has worked with some of Hollywood’s most accomplished directors, including Steven Spielberg (Hon.’09), Clint Eastwood, and Rob Reiner, balancing Hollywood blockbusters (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight Rises, Bruce Almighty), with more serious fare (The Shawshank Redemption, Amistad, Gone Baby Gone). He garnered his third Oscar nomination for The Shawshank Redemption.
His best supporting actor Academy Award came for his performance as former boxer Eddie “Scrap-Iron” Dupris in Eastwood’s 2004 film Million Dollar Baby. His performance as Nelson Mandela in another Eastwood-directed film, Invictus, in 2009 brought his fifth Oscar nomination.
Within the film industry, Freeman is known as a consummate professional, less interested in star billing than in working with talented people. “It’s true, most of the time I’m second banana,” Freeman told Bruce Weber in a 2008 New York Times profile. “But you know, that’s a choice. Eastwood, Hackman, Nicholson, Judd—name them. All these are people I wanted to work with. There’s always a big deal about who gets to be on the left side of the billing, but I’m not really invested in that.”
Freeman has also produced several films through his production company, Revelations Entertainment. His distinctive voice can be heard on Ken Burns’ Emmy-winning series The Civil War and as narrator for the Oscar-nominated documentaries March of the Penguins and The Long Way Home. More recently, he has served as host and co–executive producer of the Science Channel documentary series Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman, a show the New York Times calls “the best pop-science TV show since Carl Sagan’s Cosmos: A Personal Journey—a whirlwind tour of the fourth dimension with a sense of wonder and a sense of humor.”
All of which makes Freeman an ideal candidate to receive a Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.
More information about Commencement can be found on the Commencement website.
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Like stock certificates sprinkled with pixie dust, inflated exchange tokens were at the core of FTX’s spectacular collapse. They are still in widespread use at major cryptocurrency exchanges around the world. Will they be crypto’s undoing?
In 2023, cryptocurrency exchange Binance created the first of a new kind of blockchain-minted digital asset: BNB coin, designed to reward customer behavior such as trading or referring friends to its own platform. “A model for building a scalable, and impactful cryptocurrency business,” heralded CoinDesk editor Pete Rizzo in 2023, after Binance moved the coin to its own proprietary blockchain. “Unbelievable brilliance.”
Today, the only unbelievable thing about the whole cloth of crypto inventions known as exchange tokens, like BNB, is that they have inflated to tens of billions of dollars in value and in large part have become the foundation upon which the fast-growing digital-assets markets rest.
The weakest link in former billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried’s crypto empire was FTX’s own exchange token, which traded under the symbol FTT. According to Reuters, Bankman-Fried had lent his trading company, Alameda, billions of dollars in FTX customer funds, collateralized by these FTT tokens, which were essentially invented as a way to offer trading discounts and other perks.
“The way that FTT works,” said Bankman-Fried in an August 2023 interview with Forbes, “It is not that you get free FTT for doing things. The way to think about it is that you get free shit for having FTT. So, there’s a bunch of doo-hickeys.”
At the peak in 2023 FTT had a market value of US$9.6 billion, but unlike a common stock, which represents legal ownership in the assets of a corporation, FTT does not represent any equity ownership in the FTX company. If FTT had any intrinsic value, it was in the form of discounts that FTX customers using these tokens could get trading on the exchange–as much as 60% for active traders. You can think of these exchange tokens as being akin to loyalty or reward points you might get as a frequent customer of Starbucks or the UnitedMiles by flying on that airline. They have value, but it’s unlikely that a bank would allow you to use them as collateral if you wanted to purchase a home.
However, in the highly speculative and often bizarre world of digital assets, these loyalty tokens trade on numerous crypto exchanges just as stocks do on the New York Stock Exchange, and FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried reportedly used them as collateral for the loans his company made. Up until a week ago FTT traded at US$26 and had a market capitalization of $3.5 billion. But after Bankman-Fried’s rival Changpeng Zhao, Binance’s billionaire founder, went on Twitter to say he was planning to sell over $500 million of FTT, it sparked the crypto equivalent of a bank run. Today FTT sells for $2.70, and given FTX’s recent bankruptcy filing, it is likely headed to zero.
But the story of exchange tokens in cryptoland is far from over. Forbes counts more than 16 global crypto and DeFi (decentralized finance) exchanges currently using these tokens for a combined market value of no less than US$62 billion.
In fact, so-called exchange tokens are an important underpinning to the crypto exchange ecosystem because they are effective in creating customer loyalty–especially when token prices are rising. Virtually all such tokens offer holders exchange-specific perks such as trading fee discounts, preferential margin loan terms, enhanced rewards for staking (lending) and exchange-branded cashback Visa cards. Exchange tokens are also awarded to customers that refer new traders to a platform, in a system similar to multi-level marketing organizations like Amway. Exchange tokens function as the fuel for crypto’s self-fulfilling bubbles.
Binance–the largest crypto exchange in the world–has its own token, BNB, which by itself has a market capitalization of US$45.9 billion, though it does not represent any equity in Changpeng Zhao’s company nor has it been registered as a security with the U.S. SEC.
Anyone who opens an account on Binance and starts trading can buy or earn these BNB tokens, which offer 25% discounts on spot and margin transaction fees and 10% on futures. If you refer friends, you can get up to 40% commission every time they make a trade on Binance. Also, because Binance has created its own blockchain that mints BNB coins, you can use BNB to pay for goods and services, book airfare and hotels on sites like Travala for instance, participate in exclusive token sales and even earn free tokens by completing surveys and tasks. You can also put BNB to use by staking, earn a flexible percentage yield by depositing it on BNB Chain-based projects and apply for crypto loans. Notably, these digital assets are also essential for anyone who want to use Binance’s decentralized exchange (DEX), which theoretically can’t be shut down by U.S. regulators.
Unlike bitcoin, which is mined every ten minutes, all of the 350 million FTT tokens that would ever exist were created in what is known as a pre-mine. “There will never be any more minted,” said Bankman-Fried recently. In fact, over a period of about three months starting around June of 2023 almost all of FTT’s premined tokens were sold prior to getting listed on crypto exchanges. “Effectively, all of the FTT tokens were owned by a collection of people and entities,” said Bankman-Fried.
In terms of governance, exchange tokens, like loyalty reward programs, are completely under the control of the entity that issues or redeems them, even if they profess to stick to pre-arranged schedules for issuance or burning. DeFi tokens, by contrast, claim to offer holders the ability to propose and vote on platform changes. But in reality, many large DeFi platforms concentrate governance in the hands of big investors and founding teams. Additionally, just as FTT did not give holders stakes in FTX, purchasing a DeFi token does not necessarily convey ownership rights into the underlying platform.
Are you looking for a portable wireless keyboard that you can bring on the go or use for your phone and tablet? We had the chance to try out the Ajazz K620T 62 keys mechanical keyboard. Let’s find out how it works.
Note: as of this post, the Ajazz K620T keyboard is not technically available for sale yet. It is still at the crowdfunding stage on Kickstarter.
The Ajazz K620T mechanical keyboard comes in blue or pink. Luckily, I was sent the blue unit for review. The keyboard supports both wired and wireless mode and can work with most operating systems, including Windows, macoS, Linux, Android and iOS. Linux is not listed in the supported OS, but I have tested it, and it works fine.
To get started, flip the button on the left side of the keyboard to BT (Bluetooth) mode if you want to connect via Bluetooth. Alternatively, push the button to the left to connect via wire.
For Bluetooth mode, the initial setup can be frustrating, due to the lack of indication on the keyboard. There is no Bluetooth icon on the keyboard, so it is all guesswork to figure out which hot key to press to trigger the pairing mode. The answer is Fn + Q , but it took me quite a while to figure it out. (The instruction manual was missing in my review unit, so I can’t just “RTFM.”)
It was only later that I realized that there are three pairing modes, with the hot keys: Fn + Q/W/E. What this means is that the keyboard can pair with three devices simultaneously and switch between the devices easily.
Once I figured out how to trigger the Bluetooth mode, the pairing process is fast and without issue. What makes this keyboard different is the inclusion of a trench at the top of the keyboard that can serve as a tablet/phone stand. You can insert your tablet on it and start typing on the keyboard. This is pretty handy for on-the-go usage.
The keyboard also comes with a volume scroll knob that you can turn to adjust the volume. This can be useful/useless depending on how often you need to adjust the volume. I do listen to music regularly while working, so the scrolling knob is handy for me.
This is a compact keyboard with only 62 keys, which means the directional keys, numpad and several other buttons are missing. To replicate the functionality of these buttons, you have to use the Fn key with other hot keys. For example, press FN + ? for direction UP, Fn + Right Alt for direction LEFT, Fn + right Ctrl for direction RIGHT and Fn + right APP for direction DOWN. If you are not used to a compact keyboard, you can find this to be quite challenging, as you need to rewire your muscle memory. Once again, there is no indication on the keys, so you really have to memorize the hot keys combination.
We have previously reviewed another keyboard from the same company, and I mentioned that I liked the fact that the keyboard switch is hot-swappable. The same applies for this keyboard. If you prefer a different kind of typing experience than the default, simply swap the switches. There is no need to de-solder or change a new keyboard. Simply swap the switches to your favorite switch type.
The keyboard has a 4400mAh battery and is slated to run for 880 hours (without any backlight effects). I haven’t really tested it for 880 hours, but it can last for a week on one single charge.Conclusion
While there are plenty of compact keyboards out there, the Ajazz KT620 is one to consider. It is still in the Kickstarter fundraising phase, and you can find it here. The super early bird price is $59, and the early bird price is $69. Check it out.
Damien Oh started writing tech articles since 2007 and has over 10 years of experience in the tech industry. He is proficient in Windows, Linux, Mac, Android and iOS, and worked as a part time WordPress Developer. He is currently the owner and Editor-in-Chief of Make Tech Easier.
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An Android file manager is an app that lets you explore the files on your Android device, similar to the Windows File Explorer or macOS Finder. WIthout an Android file explorer, moving, copying, and pasting files on your Android device is much more difficult.
Furthermore, many Android file explorers give you extra file management options, such as creating file archives, uninstalling apps, managing your SD card, cloud storage support, and more.
Table of Contents
Check out the five best file managers for Android.
Solid Explorer has risen through the ranks of Android file explorer apps and is now one of the best options for managing files on your Android device.
It features a swish, streamlined user interface with easy to use menus, plus a range of themes to suit your color preferences, all using Google’s Material UI design.
One of Solid Explorer’s best features is its side-by-side view, which allows you to drag and drop files or folders from one panel to another. The side-by-side view makes transferring files incredibly simple, saving you from having to remember where the destination folder is.
Aside from side-by-side file dragging, Solid Explorer also includes a powerful archive tool that you can use for creating and managing archives (such as a .zip or .7zip file), an option to stream your media files via the Chromecast integration, and a handy file encryption tool.
Solid Explorer is a premium file manager for Android. You receive a two-week trial, after which you’ll need to pay $2 to continue using the app.
Total Commander is one of the original Android file management tools. It offers an extensive and powerful collection of file management options for Android devices.
Total Commander’s functionality can extend further using plugins, too. If you want to upload files to an FTP server, there is a plugin for that. If you’re going to use Wi-Fi direct file transfer, there is a plugin for that. You’ll also find Total Commander plugins that open Microsoft Installer Files, read and create ISO image files, provide an MD5 or SHA1 file hash, and so much more.
Some users will find the aging interface style a downside. But once you learn how to navigate Total Commander’s various menus, you’ll understand why many consider Total Commander the best file manager for Android.
If you don’t need the extensive functionality of Solid Explorer or Total Commander, you should consider the Simple File Manager. Unlike the other options on this list, Simple File Manager is a lightweight Android file manager meant for basic use.
That said, Simple File Manager is more than capable. You can rename, copy, move, delete, and manage your Android files. You can use Simple File Manager to check file properties or to create home screen shortcuts to specific files.
Furthermore, Simple File Manager includes some extra security functions, too. For example, you can use Simple File Manager to password protect and hide special files or folders, or lock a specific folder using a fingerprint scanner.
Aside from security and file management, Simple File Manager has several options for customization, including color schemes and themes.
MiXplorer is a file manager for Android that flies under the radar. A favorite of XDA Labs, the Android developer’s forum, MiXplorer is one of the most feature-packed Android file management apps available. Better still, it’s entirely free.
Furthermore, MiXplorer includes options for the creation and management of archives, encryption tools, a basic text editor and image viewer, and more.
The excellent free version of MiXplorer is available as an APK, which means you must sideload the installation file onto your Android device. Check out how to install apps on your Android device from your computer for more information.
There is also the MiXplorer Silver app available on the Google Play store, at the cost of $5. MiXplorer Silver bundles the MiXplorer file manager with several other apps from the developer and, of course, supports the developer financially.
Astro File Manager is one of the oldest and most popular free Android file manager apps. One of the best Astro File Manager features is the integrated cleaner. You can use Astro File Manager to help keep on top of your Android device spring cleaning, making sure you never run out of storage at a critical moment.
Astro File Manager isn’t flashy or brimming full of features and plugins. But it is a solid file manager for Android, which is what keeps it at the top of the Android file management app rankings.What Is The Best File Manager For Android?
The best file manager for your Android is the one that suits your requirements. You have a selection of powerful and essential file management options for your Android device. Experiment, and see what suits you.
Are you running out of space on your Android device? Check out how to transfer files from your Android storage to an internal SD card.
Linux is a powerful operating system that offers a wide range of command-line tools for executing various tasks. One of tasks that often need to be performed is repeating a command at a given interval. This feature can be useful for several reasons, such as monitoring system performance, running scheduled tasks, and performing backups.
In this article, we will explore how to repeat a Linux command at a given interval. We will discuss various ways to achieve this, including using cron utility, watch command, and sleep command.Using Cron to Repeat a Command
The cron utility is a time-based job scheduler in Unix-like operating systems, including Linux. It allows users to automate various tasks by scheduling them to run at specified intervals. To use cron utility to repeat a command, follow these steps −
Step 1 − Open crontab file by running following command −$ crontab -e
This will open crontab file in your default text editor.
Step 2 − Add a new cron job by specifying command you want to repeat and interval at which you want it to run. For example, if you want to run command ls every 5 minutes, add following line to crontab file −*/5 * * * * ls
The above cron expression specifies that command ls should be run every 5 minutes. five asterisks represent following fields −
The first field represents minute when command should run (0-59).
The second field represents hour when command should run (0-23).
The third field represents day of month when command should run (1-31).
The fourth field represents month when command should run (1-12).
The fifth field represents day of week when command should run (0-6, where 0 is Sunday).
Step 3 − Save and close crontab file.
The above example will run ls command every 5 minutes. You can modify cron expression to suit your needs.Using Watch Command to Repeat a Command
The watch command is a utility that allows users to run a command repeatedly and display output on terminal in real-time. To use watch command to repeat a command, follow these steps −
Step 1 − Open a terminal and type following command −
For example, if you want to run top command every 5 seconds, type following command −$ watch -n 5 top
The above command will run top command every 5 seconds and display output on terminal.
Step 2 − To stop watch command, press Ctrl+C.
The watch command can be useful for monitoring system performance or watching output of a long-running command.Using Sleep Command to Repeat a Command
The sleep command is a utility that causes shell to wait for a specified time before executing next command. To use sleep command to repeat a command, follow these steps −
Step 1 − Open a terminal and type following command −
For example, if you want to run date command every 5 seconds, type following command −$ while true; do date; sleep 5; done
The above command will run date command every 5 seconds.
Step 2 − To stop command, press Ctrl+C.
The sleep command can be useful for performing backups or running other scheduled tasks.
Here are some additional tips and examples for repeating Linux commands at a given interval −Using at Command
The at command is a utility that allows you to schedule a command to run at a specific time. To use at command to repeat a command at a given interval, follow these steps −
Step 1 − Open a terminal and type following command −
For example, if you want to run ls command every 30 minutes, type following command −
The above command will run ls command every 30 minutes.
Step 2 − To stop command, use atq command to list jobs and then use atrm command to remove job.Using a Bash Script
You can also use a bash script to repeat a command at a given interval. To do this, follow these steps −
Step 1 − Open a text editor and create a new file. Type following code −#!/bin/bash while true do done
For example, if you want to run date command every 5 seconds, type following code −#!/bin/bash while true do date sleep 5 done
Step 2 − Save file with a .sh extension, for example, repeat_command.sh.
Step 3 − Make script executable by running following command −$ chmod +x repeat_command.sh
Step 4 − Run script by typing following command −$ ./repeat_command.sh
The above command will run bash script, which will run specified command at given interval.Combining Commands
You can also combine multiple commands and run them at a given interval. For example, to run free command and df command every 5 minutes, type following command −$ while true; do free; df; sleep 300; done
The above command will run free command and df command every 5 minutes.Conclusion
Remember to always use caution when running commands in terminal, and make sure you understand what each command does before executing it. With knowledge gained from this article, you can now repeat Linux commands at a given interval with ease.
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