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January 20, 2021
🌅 Good morning! Attention may be elsewhere today as Inauguration Day finally takes place, but there’s plenty happening on the web. And on the IPFS. More on what that is below!
Sharing Wi-Fi passwords could finally get easier in Android
RyFi WiFi icon next to ethernet cable

I’m jealous of my friends with Apple gear when it comes to how easily one of those long tricky Wi-Fi passwords can be shared around. 

  • Since iOS 11 back in 2018, Wi-Fi password sharing between iPhones and iPads has been great: you can very quickly* get another iPhone onto a Wi-Fi network. 
  • A fairly seamless Share Password option allows a connected iPhone to send across a Wi-Fi password to a waiting iPhone, which auto-fills and connects. 
  • The actual password isn’t even shared in the process.
  • *The only quibble is that it’s hard for two random people to do this, as they need to be on your Contacts list with their Apple ID. Classic Apple. But, it works.

Google’s intermediate step in Android 10 was allowing users to log in to networks using QR codes which your device can generate, which is handy.

  • But you still had to physically generate and then offer your own phone around for people to scan a QR code using a camera or an app.
  • It worked, but not as well as the Apple solution.

Coming up to three years later, the Apple-style approach is coming for this small but semi-regular annoyance in Android, via Nearby Share, (which is the same kind of thing as AirDrop on Apple).

Here’s the news:

  • A commit to Android’s open source code by a Google engineer was spotted by XDA.
  • The commit message says: “Implemented nearby button that displays wifi sharing intent and long press button that opens wifi qr share fragment.” 
  • Decoding that brief note, it looks possible that sharing Wi-Fi passwords across the room will be easier, and still with the optional QR code, via a new button and prompt.
  • That’s only if the feature ends up making it to Android 12 sometime this year, with the developer preview expected in February.
  • What’s a little unfortunate is that this can’t just be tacked onto Android in some way now, requiring a full leap in Android versions which takes longer since it’s a core settings modification.
  • But still, at least this will be handy when we’re meeting in person again.

📲 Qualcomm has announced the “new” Snapdragon 870, which… is actually last year’s flagship SoC with a 3% higher clock speed? Meet the Snapdragon 865 Plus Plus? Here’s how the Snapdragon 870 vs Snapdragon 888compare (Android Authority).

🔐 Google Chrome makes it easier to fix weak passwords in new Chrome 88 release (Android Authority).

🌐 Brave browser now offers IPFS support for decentralized web browsing. End result: swapping https:// for ipfs://, Wikipedia one of the first to support the peer-to-peer protocol (Android Authority).

🔧 iFixit has published a tear down of Apple’s $550 AirPods Max headphones: 6/10 for repairability which is possible but fiddly, lots of expense put into a complicated joint in each ear cup that lets the cups be flexible, which iFixit thinks is probably critical to comfort (iFixit).

🍎 Apple regularly publishes promotional photographs from its iPhone range, which, you know, disclaimers apply, but I’m always inspired to try and take more snaps after seeing them: Shot on iPhone 12-Portraits, cityscapes, food, sky (

📈 Netflix now has more than 200 million global subscribers, adding 8.51 million in the most recent quarter, restoring growth after a slowdown (CNET).

📏 Here’s an argument: “Goodbye and good riddance to the 16:9 aspect ratio,” as laptops become more 3:2 (The Verge).

💰 Microsoft has invested $2B in GM’s driverless car company, Cruise, valuing it at $30B (and accounting for more than 40 percent of GM’s total market cap). Why? It’s a cloud computing play (Ars Technica).

♻ The SolarWinds hackers used tactics other groups will copy(Wired).

👋 Jack Ma made a proof-of-life appearance, didn’t appear to be blinking for help (Reuters).

⚖ Trump pardons ex-Google engineer Anthony Levandowski, who was convicted of stealing Waymo’s trade secrets in a batch of 14,000 files. He was never imprisoned (Gizmodo).

🌳 Reddit’s former CEO is now in the forest-planting business(Fast Company).

🚗 Is a fake commute the right way to boost mental health if you’re always at home now? (CNN).

🌶 “Are we still discovering new spices to put on our food?” (r/nostupidquestions).

Weirdness Wednesday

Cameos became popular in my neck of the woods for Secret Santa gifts. Good times. The platform isn’t just for celebs, fringe celebs, and fun people who, well, played one NFL game ever to offer video messages for cash, either.

Mashable helpfully noted Punxsutawney Phil is getting on the scheme, too: 

groundhog day
  • “Punxsutawney Phil not just looking for his shadow this Groundhog Day [but] looking to make some cold hard cash on Cameo, too.”
  • $80 is pretty rich picking compared to the usual Cameo fun that can be had at much lower prices — here’s Barkley the mini dachshund puppy who will wish you a happy birthday or whatever for $5, which apparently goes to charity.
  • In any case, if you have a February 2nd birthday, maybe Phil’s appearance will make your day?
  • Cameo is weird, but surprisingly fun.


Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor

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