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If you work with a production environment you need to be recording timestamps in your shell history. When shit hits the fan, knowing exactly when you ran that deploy script or updated that database can help you resolve an incident quicker.

After an outage, timestamped shell history can be used to stitch together an accurate timeline of events for an incident report or postmortem. Your company does write these, right?

It’s so easy to record timestamps to your shell history, there’s no excuse for not having it. Here’s how you would configure it in Bash.

# .bashrc

Easy as that!

It is also useful in other situations: Read a bunch of emails and forgot how long ago you started your load test? Want to know what you were doing at 3 pm yesterday? Just check your shell history.

$ history
    1  2020-10-25T20:59:55-0400: git clone
    2  2020-10-25T21:00:05-0400: cd meteogram
    3  2020-10-25T21:00:41-0400: vim internal/app/http/http.go
    4  2020-10-25T21:02:56-0400: vim app.yaml
    5  2020-10-25T21:08:32-0400: gcloud app deploy
    6  2020-10-25T21:24:04-0400: history