Making Royal TSX Even More Awesome

For those who don’t know, Royal TSX is an awesome Remote Management solution, which supports RDP, VNC, SSH, S/FTP and even ESXi and vCenter. I’ve been using it for years, not just because they offer free licenses for vExperts (and others), but simply because it works really well. Store it’s config file on a synchronized file area (like Dropbox), and boom, your config follows you around from machine to machine, including custom icons. What’s not to like?

Following Ryan Johnson’s tweet, where he showed off his VMware Clarity inspired Royal TSX setup, I decided to do something similar. Unlike Ryan, I decided to run with the standard Clarity icons, and not invert them. Since the Clarity icons are in .svg format, I had to convert them to .png to be able to use them as icons in Royal TSX, I’ll post a separate post on how I batch converted them later.

Currently, my setup looks like this

Royal TSX with Clarity icons

Changing the icons for entries is pretty straight forward. For existing entries in your config file, simply open the items properties and click on the small icon besides the Display Name. This brings up a dialog showing the built-in icons, but also reveals an option to browse your filesystem for a new icon to use.

Update: Felix from Royal Applications left a nice comment, explaining that you can also drag-and-drop icons directory from finder into Royal TSX as well as the manual process described above.

To change the default icons, find Default Settings in the Navigation Panel on the left, and follow the same procedure.

While the primary goal was to prettify my setup with snazzy new icons, I discovered that I could do quite a few things besides that as well.

As seen in the screenshot, there are a couple of web pages added, but perhaps more interesting are the “PowerCLI” and “Connect VPN” entries.

Running PowerCLI Core from Royal TSX

I run the PowerCLI Core Docker container on my Macbook from time to time, so why not have the option to run it directly from Royal TSX? Once you have it up and running, adding it as a Command Task is pretty easy!

Add a new Command Task, and put in the docker run command in the Command: field

Update: Since originally posting, I’ve discovered that there is an even better ways of doing this, and at the same time keep your PowerCLI running in a tab inside of Royal TSX. Instead of adding it as a Command Task, add a new Terminal connection, but use Custom Terminal as the connection type:

Then add the command you want to run under Custom Commands

In my case, I want to run the following command:

docker run --rm -it --entrypoint='/usr/bin/powershell' vmware/powerclicore

Now, under “Advanced”, find the Session option. Enable “Run inside login shell” to make sure your applications, like Docker, are found without having to specify the complete path to it, and that’s it. As long as Docker runs locally, PowerCLI core can now be launched directly from the navigation bar, and it opens a new tab inside of Royal TSX!

This can also be used to run other things of course, I’ve added a new Terminal option to my sidebar as well, which opens iTerm2 in a new tab.

Connecting Tunnelblick VPN Royal TSX

I run OpenVPN at home, and use Tunnelblick as my client of choice. In order to connect to my home network, I’ve created another Command Task, with the “Run in Terminal” option configured, that runs a simple AppleScript command instructing Tunnelblick to connect.

osascript -e "tell application \"Tunnelblick\"" -e "connect \"[your-connection-name]\"" -e "end tell"

I guess I really understated the percentage of awesomeness increase by doing this, it should at least have been 84% 92,7%.

 

Got VMware vRealize Log Insight?

Recent conversations with existing and potential clients made me realize that many are not aware that they most likely are entitled to use VMware vRealize Log Insight in their environment. For free.

Back in March 2016 VMware announced that everyone with a valid VMware vCenter license are also entitled to  25-OSI pack of vRealize Log Insight for vCenter Server. This means that you can gather logs for up to 25 ESXi hosts, VMs or other devices, in your environment.

It even allows you to use the following VMware content packs (3rd party content packs requires a full Log Insight license)

  • Horizon View
  • NSX
  • OpenStack
  • vCenter Operations Manager
  • vCloud Automation Center
  • vCloud Director
  • vCNS
  • Virtual SAN
  • vRealize Automation
  • vRealize Operations Manager
  • vSphere

This should be a no-brainer for everyone with a >24 host VMware vSphere environment, the value that vRealize Log Insight provides is enormous, especially when it comes to troubleshooting. Why 24 when you get a 25 pack you may ask? Well, you’ll want to use one of them for vCenter itself, leaving 24 for your ESXi hosts. If your environment is smaller than 24 hosts, the remaining OSI’s can be used to monitor just about anything that can log to a syslog service, like switches, routers and other devices.

Credits: http://www.gratisography.com
Credits: gratisography.com

So, if you’re not running it already, logon to my.vmware.com and download it today — you can then use your existing vCenter license to activate it. You’ll be drinking from the log-hose in no time.

 

#vDM30in30 progress:

My Slate Setup

macbook-pro-too-mainstream-1.jpgAbout a year and a half I go, I took the leap from running Microsoft Windows as my main operating system and switched into full “hipster mode”, i.e. switched to a Macbook Air and OS X.

Simply put, “the change” was not that hard and most everything has worked without problems, and for those things that still require Microsoft Windows, well, there is VMware Fusion for that.

While I´m admittedly still a novice OS X user, and not even close to mastering OS X, I´d like to share my current Slate setup.

Slate is a OS X window manager that makes it much easier to resize, focus and arrange your applications. The real beauty of it is that everything is controlled via the keyboard, no need to reach for the mouse.

By combining PCKeyboardHack and KeyRemap4MacBook with Slate, I am now able to move my windows to pre-arranged locations on my display, or even “throw” a window to another monitor if required.

None of this was originally my idea, I´ve stolen quite a bit from Using Slate: A Hacker’s Window Manager for Macs and other sources, but the end result is simply a dream to work with.

As suggested in A useful Caps Lock key, I have remapped my Caps Lock key to F19, and set F19 up as Hyper key (Control, Command, Option and Shift pressed simultaneously), and use that as a trigger in Slate. One thing I always forget to do though, is to disable the Caps Lock key whenever I connect a new keyboard to the Mac. After a recent re-install I could not for the life of me figure out why this setup was not working, until I remembered that I had to disable the key (as mentioned in the article linked to above).

The first thing you’ll need to do is disable the Caps Lock key in OS X. Head to System Preferences’ Keyboard pane and click the “Modifier Keys…” button. Set Caps Lock to “No Action.”

My current .slate config files looks like this

Seasoned Slate users, will notice that I am barely scratching the surface of what is possible here, but this is a work in progress. I really want to set up pre-defined application locations and window sizes based on my various multi-monitor setups (Macbook only, home office, work office, etc.), but that is still a work in progress.

How fun is it being able to hit caps-lock right-arrow and throw an application window from the internal Macbook screen to a secondary screen on my right? And at the same time resize it to fill the entire screen!

I may just be me, but I do find pleasure in these little things. Especially when they just work. Now I just have to remember to use them frequently, muscle-memory is a powerful tool when it comes to efficiency.