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Is there any way to have an alarm sound when a terminal becomes inactive or a process is asking for user input?

I have a process when needs user input very infrequently (every few hours), and would like to leave it running, and hear an alarm when I need to return to the computer to input something.

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Check out gnu screen. It has the ability to monitor for activity or silence. While in a screen session press C-a _ to monitor for 30 seconds of silence and C-a M to monitor for activity.

You can change the activity message to include ^G which will be replaced by a terminal beep, but I'm not sure how to do this with silence. You can at least be working in another screen window and receive the notification on the bottom of the terminal.

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Good answer, but probably won't work for me. I generally have the system beep disabled in ubuntu. Plus, it would be better if its a more prolonged or regular alarm, so that I'd hear (and notice it) when not directly at my computer. – Caleb Aug 6 '12 at 19:09

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