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That solves one half of the terminal/GUI interaction disconnect, but I'd really like something to do the opposite too... keep a Finder window synced to my current working directory, preferably that floats above everything else* .

Why? There's a few things that you can't do with a Terminal, such as seeing and easily editing all the info from Get Info at once, or most things involving the use of a contextual menu - especially seeing what programs are in the Open With list (there may be a launch services related command, but you still can't pick one without typing another command (open -a Application file). Multi-file drag and drop is easier than multi-file cp, especially if you don't need a particularly named group of files that you can use a wildcard with - it's easier to shift-click or command-click than to type each one out individually, even if you can use tab completion.

* aliasing cd to end with an open . won't do, because that brings Finder to the front (which you can work around in bash), along with all the other open Finder windows (which you can't), and worse, it opens a new window every time instead of reusing the same one (another can't work around). The last two are because you can't, as far as I know, get a handle on a particular Finder window. I wonder if an AppleScript can get the job done. Hmm...

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