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Several commands use --block-size 1K as the default and I find myself counting numbers. Is there a way to automatically and permanently change the block-size of commands like du,ls,df to greater values?

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All those commands you mentioned (du, df, ls) have a -h option to make the output sizes "human-readable", using K, M, G and T as appropriate.

If you want to avoid adding the 'h' everytime, simply define bash aliases that include it, eg

alias duh='du -h'
alias lsh='ls -h --color -F '
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