Archive for March, 2007

Adding “Open with Console” to the context menu…

The other day I discovered that if you hold down the ‘shift’ key whilst right clicking on a directory in the Vista explorer you get a ‘Open Command Window Here’ entry in your context menu. You can do this on XP with a PowerToy or some registry jiggery-pokery but it was nice to have it out of the box in Vista.

Having picked up on the excellent ‘Console‘ from Ben’s post the other day I was back to having to ‘cd’ into directories again so set about rummaging in the registry. So… the fruits of my labours:

Add the key – HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\shell\open_console

Set the value of that to whatever you want to appear in the context menu e.g. Open Console Here

Under that add the key HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\shell\open_console\Command

Set the value of that to the path to your console.exe with the parameters -d %1 In my case that gave me C:\Program Files\Console 2 Beta\Console2\console.exe -d %1

There you go… You should now have the context menu entry. Right click on a directory and open Console on that directory. Coupled with e – texteditor’s “Open as e Project’ you can have your rails set up running in a jiffy.

I would like to add the ability to open a few tabs in Console from the context menu with the same command and maybe start a server running in one and have another ready for commands but I can’t seem to get that going at the moment as I’m no great shakes in the registry. If anyone could point me in the right direction for that I’d be most obliged… In fact, it would be nice to open the ‘e’ project and the Console tabs avec server etc with the one context menu command, perhaps ‘Open Rails Environment’ but maybe I’m getting carried away there…

Windows Rails Environment

I have been aware for some time that TextMate is the defacto standard editor for Rails folk but have also been aware that there isn’t really a Windows equivalent. As I don’t have a Mac this has been an issue. I have tried loads of editors and all have their good and bad points but I have yet to see anything close to the stuff I have seen done with TextMate.

Yesterday, Dave Verwer posted a Windows alternative on the GeekUp mailing list. I dutifully downloaded it as I always follow Dave’s advice to the letter 😉 . Bugger me with the wide end of a rag man’s trumpet if it wasn’t exactly what I was after. The editor in question is ‘e’ which you can get for a snip ($35) at

It supports TextMate bundles, has a built in file explorer that can be set to project folders and other goodness and can even be set to have a black background which was the clincher for me.

This morning on my daily peruse of the blogging world I stumbled upon a new post on which in turn led me to an excellent post by Ben Kitrell which outlines the steps to achieving an all singing all dancing Rails environment on Windows. Nice one Ben… I’ve still got a few bits to add but that sounds the business.

Note to Reader: I have deliberately avoided phrases like ‘Mac-esque’ and the like. Those sanctimonious f’ers are smug enough without giving them further encouragement.

Dell Support – is this a joke?

I just got off the phone from a call to Dell Support. Here is my problem… As I have mentioned on a couple of occasions here I installed Vista on my M90 laptop pretty much as soon as it was released on MSDN. Installing this early left me with a few driver issues but undeterred I soldiered on. Slowly but surely the drivers started to appear on the Dell site and I installed them with varying degrees of success. The sound driver still gives worse performance than the XP one I tried and a few other issues….

I was just setting up another new Dell laptop when I noticed that the Notebook System Software utility was running (on Vista) and was periodically checking for updates from Dell having scanned the system to determine the hardware. That sounds about the cut of my jib thought I and off I scurried to install it on my M90. Having run the installer 3 times I still haven’t got it working, hence the call to Dell support.

After the usual switchboard tennis I got through to the person I needed to speak to.  I explained that I had upgraded my operating system and that the Notebook System Software (NSS) wasn’t working. “I don’t think we are going to be able to help you” he told me. Why, because they don’t know if that application will work on my machine with Vista. “So”, I argued, “why does it appear in the Vista 32-Bit Drivers and Downloads list and state in the release notes that it applies to the Precision M90”. “Err…”, he replied, “that is only with the operating system that we supplied the machine with.” After a bit of pointless to-ing and fro-ing I capitulated and hung up.

During the call he also suggested that I ‘try the Internet, you know blogs or newsgroups’. Obviously, I had already done this but his suggestion to try ‘blogs’ was a good one, hence the post 🙂

So, the moral of this story is, once you upgrade your operating system you are screwed as far as any Dell drivers or system software is concerned. You are on your own…

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