Keeping Track of How Tos

Working at a start-up, I get to wear many hats and gain experience in a wide-range of topics.

But that also means picking up a project, learning skills needed to complete it, then moving on to the next project which may not require any of the knowledge I just acquired. For example, as part of an Incident Response project last year, I needed to determine how easily a password hash could be cracked. So, I learned how to use John the Ripper and about hash cracking in general. After concluding that project, I moved onto the next thing. It wasn’t until the next incident a year later that I needed to use John the Ripper again.

Then there are those random questions you never want to waste time figuring out again. Like, “How do I remove newline characters from within quoted text in this csv so that awk sees the quoted text as one field?”

This quick succession and breadth of topics meant that I’d often have to recall something from a few months ago.

So, how do I prevent having to relearn something I knew last week/month/year?

How Tos! lots and lots of How Tos. So many How Tos that managing them became an issue. But that’s a good problem to have, and one I solved with a simple little bash script.


With this script from my repo, you can list, search by topic, open, edit, and create new HowTos.

Using the help option will explain what the Topic Tags mean. Then you can make a new HowTo using the new option. Once you’ve written a couple HowTos you’ll be able to find them easily by searching with the Topic Tag, though sometimes I’ll just list them all out and pipe through grep.

There’s also a batch of Howtos in my repo to help get you started.

It’s made my work much easier having a quick way to parse through my notes and HowTos. I hope it helps you.

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