Sometimes, it's the little things. I was trying to replicate an error someone was experiencing involving a large number of files in a directory. So I made my large directory, opened a terminal, then did an "ls" on the directory. Everything scrolled by, and then I noticed that there's no total file or total size information. Size information is easy to get (type "du directory_name"), but how do you know how many files are in a directory in the terminal?
Given my basic UNIX skills, I headed to the "man" pages for "ls", but found nothing useful there. Same thing with "man du". I finally had to use a lifeline and phoned a friend ;-). The answer definitely speaks to the sometimes non-intuitive nature of UNIX, but also shows how you can pretty much make it do what you want by combining commands.
To count the number of files in a directory, enter:
ls | wc -l
That's the "ls" directory listing command, the vertical bar (which 'pipes' the output of "ls" to the next command), and then the "wc" word count command with the "l" (lower-case L) option to count the number of lines instead of characters. The output of this command is the number of files in the directory. Subdirectories count as one entry; the files in the subdirectory are not counted.
Of course the GUI is much easier, but if you're connecting remotely via SSH, you won't have that option available!