Thursday, December 3, 2020

Chrome Sharing Hub

Chrome Sharing Hub
"The road to hell is paved with good intentions."

Sharing on Android

Share functionality on Android has been something of a mess, in that picking a Share target has been clumsy and painful. With Android 10, Google made significant improvements, although it's buggy in that the wrong target app is sometimes launched if you select too quickly (a problem that persists in Android 11).*

Meanwhile, possibly due to that clumsiness, the Chrome team has been working on its own Share solution, called Sharing Hub, and has now rolled it out widely.

What's Wrong with Sharing Hub?

The Sharing Hub provides an array of sharing targets at the bottom of the screen, which sounds like a good idea, except there are a number of problems:

  • The array of targets cannot be customized (as of this writing at least). That's only fine if you just want the sharing target choices made by Google.
  • If you want some other sharing target, you have to first scroll to the right, then select the More overflow menu to open the standard Android Share menu.
  • Opening the standard Android Share menu thus takes two extra selections, which is clumsy and painful, especially if you do it frequently.
  • Opening the standard Android Share menu also takes more time that slows things down, making it doubly clumsy and painful.

How To Disable Sharing Hub

Fortunately, Chrome Sharing Hub can be disabled, leaving just the standard Android Share menu:
  1. In Chrome, open
    chrome://flags/#chrome-sharing-hub
  2. Change the option to
    Disabled

* Work-around for the wrong target app bug is to scroll the standard Android Share menu up before making a selection.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Recommended VPN 2020

Update to Secure Wi-Fi with VPN

What is VPN?

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a service that allows you to connect to the Internet via an encrypted connection to ensure your online privacy and protect your sensitive data. VPNs are commonly used to secure connections to public Wi-FI hotspots, hide IP addresses and make your browsing private. In addition, VPN can make it possible to get around geographic blocking, such as accessing Canadian and British content from the USA (and USA content from Europe). I strongly recommend use of VPN, particularly on public networks (e.g., Starbucks Wi-Fi).

I had been using and recommending AirVPN, but it has eliminated all but one server local to me, and that server has not always been reliable. (Servers in other locations are not as fast due to extra distance.) So I undertook a through analysis of other VPN providers, and my new recommendation is Surfshark. In addition to excellent service and support, Surfshark is also (currently) a bargain, at only $47.76 for 2 years of service, less than $2 per month, with 30-day full refund.

Notes:

  1. I get no commission for recommending Surfshark.
  2. During the Olympics, I use VPN to access Canadian coverage (by connecting through a Canadian VPN server), which is far superior to coverage here in the USA.