The T-Mobile Cellspot is a miniature Cell Tower for your home. If your cell service is bad at your home or other location and you are a T-Moble customer, they will “Give” you a Cellspot to use with a “Return Fee” in case you don’t eventually return it to them.
I don’t know for sure, but I think it uses the same protocols as the “Real” cell towers employed by T-Moble. The reason that I am guessing this is because the device requires “Open Ports”, which is a problem for most modern routers. Modern Routers do not “Open Ports” but rather use “Port Forwarding”. Here is the support page for the CellSpot. Notice the list of UDP ports that are required to be open.
“Open Ports:” mean that the firewall does nothing with traffic on those ports. The traffic passes directly onto the LAN – local area network. Modern routers do not support “Opening Ports”. Instead they support “Port Forwarding”.
“Port Forwarding” which modern routers provide, establishes a relationship between one or more LAN addresses and arriving packets with certain port numbers. This allows the router to know that the incoming packets are to be “forwarded” to the desired devices. This is not necessarily secure. And certainly “Open Ports” is not secure, since it allows attackers on the WAN – wide area network – to get up to any kind of mischief in attacking your home network.
And at this point your eyes are probably glazing over. Rather than showing your how to set up Port Forwarding on your router, or struggling with your ISP to do that, which they will probably refuse to do. Xfinity has no way to “Open Ports” in their router for you, apparently. This article provides another way to use the Cellspot.
In the following discussion I’m using Xfinity as an example of an ISP. The same discussion and requirements will apply regardless of your “Broadband” provider, whether it’s Cable, DSL or Fiber. Click on images below for a larger view and click on the X at the top right to close the image.
I updated Linux Mint 20.1 this morning on VirtualBox.
Update: Apparently this is about two weeks old, but not fixed as of 17 Aug 2021. Here’s a LM Forum post. I tried the work around to disable 3D and that works.
And this is what the menus look like now:
Rebooting does not fix anything. It is permanently stuck like this. Completely unusable / unfixable of course.
I’ve been using Linux Mint on VirtualBox for years and specifically LM 20.x for as long as it has been available. Sometimes there are minor problems, but this completely breaks LM on VB.
Reinstall From Scratch?
I created a new VM and reinstalled LM 20.2 on the latest VirtualBox. It worked fine as installed, but with the first update, it went back to the same problem. Here are the details:
After the clean install of LM20.2 on a new VBox on the latest VBox on a Windows 10 host the Linux Mint appears to work properly. After the guest updates – latest with latest install of VirtualBOX – everything is fine. Apparently. But the update completely trashes the graphics. I have no idea what caused it.. Maybe kernel, maybe something else. But I have work to do so I’m not going to diagnose it further. I’m just not going to update until I can confirm that this problem is fixed.
Here are the updates that LM 20.2 did after the install.
So apparently the only recourse I have is to REINSTALL THE WHOLE THING FROM SCRATCH AGAIN. and then NOT UPDATE IT.
Please do some QA on VirtualBOX before you SHIP an update.
I just started a post today. And it failed. Just got a white screen.
I’m a user of Firefox and Ghostery. Ghostery is a privacy and anti-malware plugin that
So now I can’t post unless I “Trust” wordpress. This is new behavior. Always before I have been able to post and do all the other things with Ghostery enabled. I have submitted my unhappyness to WordPress and listed the trackers and other stuff that they are using that Ghostery blocked.
So wordpress wants to track you and suck in other stuff that is questionable, even if you pay for their service, which I do to the tune of $100 per year.
My use of “Remote Desktop Access Software” has a long and storied history. It started years ago with LogMeIn, which is still around, and worked fine, but it no longer [at least to my knowledge] has a Free Option.
But Why Shouldn’t I Pay for Remote Desktop Software?
Here’s a long list of Remote Desktop software. After LogMeIn went behind a paywall, I used TeamViewer for a while, but they did the same thing. I do not use these programs as part of a business. I use them for personal use and to help friends – even before lock-down restrictions – maintain their computers, without pay.
So I need a totally free solution.
But What About Microsoft Remote Desktop?
I have never studied Microsoft Remote Desktop in detail. But my understanding is that it is not “Firewall Friendly”, but is rather designed for experts on both ends who either only use it on their LANS or know how to perform the arcane incantations to spirit connections through Firewalls.
What’s the Big Deal with Firewalls?
In order to be “Firewall Friendly” or in other words to “Allow NAT Traversal” or to Allow Traffic through a Network Address Translation Firewall, requires that the two machines find each other using a server out on the internet somewhere. Here’s where the costs might come in. Just like the Zoom or Discord or other services we use, the traffic must go from one machine, through those servers and then on to the other machine. All the time the connections are open with only 10s of millisecond latency. To be sure, a remote desktop connection has vastly smaller traffic requirements than a zoom call with a half dozen folks.
This post has been back-dated to keep it off the front page of my blog.
Performance and Cooler Testing
I ran a performance benchmark on the system just to test what’s going on and to make sure the cooler was working properly:
Hard Drive Storage Connection
In addition to the 2 M.2 NVME 1TB SSDs on the motherboard, the system now has three additional drives, mostly from the point of view of cabling. One of the drives will go with the system, but the other two are place holders. The drives are:
60GB SanDisk SSD – 2.5″ SATA form factor. Placeholder for a larger SSD in this form factor.
300GB Seagate 3.5″ 7200 rpm drive. Placeholder for a larger modern drive.
2TB Western Digital 3.5″ Green drive.
On the left, the Seagate drive is at the top and the WD Green drive is at bottom. I’ve ordered black plastic sheets that I’ll cut and over the circuits on these boards.
Storage Expansion Options
The Motherboard has 8 SATA connections and there are places in the case for two 2.5″ and two 3.5″ drives. The power connections are in place for all the drives. If 2 2.5″ drives are desired, then one more SATA cable needs to be run to the drive holder. The drive holders are “Tool-less” to insert the drive, but a screw driver is required to clamp the plastic holder in place on the case frame.
Hard Drive Performance
CrystalDiskMark was used to test the drive performance.
The read performance of the WD Green drive seems very low. Even the many years old Seagate drive is over twice as fast in read as the Green drive.
For comparison, here are performance numbers for a couple of WD “Black” drives from a couple of years ago – contemporary with the WD “Green” drive.
Here are the specs for the Black and Green drives.
I can’t explain why the WD Green Drive is so slow, but it does have 2TB of storage and so it should be useful for a while until replaced at some point with a faster drive. As you can see it’s not that much cheaper per GB than much larger and faster drives.