Linux only: gcalcron allows you to issue terminal commands to a computer through Google Calendar. It's more beginner-friendly than editing cron jobs or remote shell work , and great for remote download control.
Patrick Spear's package is a self-installing Python script that plugs itself in the cron automation engine. Every 30 minutes or so, it checks in with a specific Google Calendar you provide the name, password, and calendar ID for, then anything in the "Description" field of a timed appointment as a terminal command.
So if you're at work and decide that you want to use
wget to grab a big file for home, simply type the command into an appointment at, say, 3:30pm that day, and if your desktop, laptop, or home server is working, it will pick it up and run with it. Want it to shut down in a power-conscious way at 5:30pm? Use a three-dash (—-) delineator, type a second command like
sudo shutdown -P now on the line below, and set the Google Calendar appointment to end at 5:30pm, as illustrated at right.
As Spear himself points out, this script is only as secure as your Google Calendar account—someone nefarious with access to it could theoretically gain admin-level control over it. But if you're pretty sure you haven't got a team of hackers after you, gcalcron is a convenient alternative to manually hopping into your remote system with an SSH shell, or mastering the somewhat uber-specific language of cron tasks. It's a free download; the page below walks through an Ubuntu installation, but instructions for manual installs on other Linux distributions is included in a README file. If you're now intrigued by cron's powers and want to start automating the pro way, try our previously posted link for learning to use cron from the command line.