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Mark Embling

September 2009

SSH Agent in Powershell

Those of you using git will more than likely be pushing and pulling over a SSH connection (to github for example). Recently I posted about my preference for using git from within Powershell. However there was always one really annoying thing when compared to using git from my OS X and linux machines - the need to type my private key passphrase every single time I do a push or pull. It got to the point where I decided to do something about it. Enter ssh-agent.

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Task Lists and Issue Trackers - Thoughts

Recently at work, my colleague Jeremy and I made the switch from using the task list in Outlook to Redmine for handling our list of tasks and features to be added to our internal software projects. At the outset, this seemed like a great idea and quite a step forward - I mean, Outlook? Its hardly designed with our job in mind is it. The list of personal annoyances associated with Outlook is quite extensive, but suffice it to say I find it clunky and restrictive and it gets in the way. Imaging running a marathon and having to open a door every 6 minutes in order to continue. That's what using Outlook feels like to me. Because of this, I spent the best part of a day sorting out a nice VM, installing Windows, then Ubuntu and configuring Apache, Passenger and Ruby all to get Redmine running, and was quite pleased with myself and our shiny new issue tracker by the end of it all.

It has now been a while using it instead of Outlook and while it has solved several of the problems I have with Outlook (not to mention it looks better and has a more intuitive UI in most places), it did not solve the problem as efficiently as we would have liked.

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My Ideal Powershell Prompt with Git Integration

I have become quite fond of Powershell lately and enjoy its flexibility. As part of this flexibility, it has impressive scope for customisation and modification similar to Bash (although arguably in a much nicer way). My main bugbear with the default installation of Powershell is the horrible prompt you are provided with. As such, I have modified my prompt to better suit my needs including useful details about the git repository when within one.

The Git part of my prompt is inspired by this blog post, but with some of my own ideas and tweaks. It's also worth noting that like others, I use the excellent Console app, which makes a much nicer host application for Powershell (and cmd.exe, bash, etc).

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