When developing locally, I find it useful to have the full development server logs available. Luckily, Rails 3.1 does this for you in the file ./log/development.log. However, if you want something similar for other frameworks/commands that run continuously and post any errors, etc, directly to the terminal, something like this is useful:

$ rails s >> console.out 2>&1 &

(Replace rails s with any similar command)

Also, you can easily send signals (like ctrl-c) to background processes with kill.

List of signals:

$ kill -l

Closing a background process with id 1:

$ kill -s SIGKILL %1