So you’ve got your eclipse glasses at the ready, you found some extra material to give your iPhone camera a special covering of its own, but you’ve got practically all day till the eclipse even starts.
So how are your favorite apps and gadgets preparing for the eclipse?
If you have the Google app installed on your iPhone (which you really should, since it also has the best third-party-keyboard for iOS), you’ll receive a popup notification about the eclipse. Press it to be taken to Google’s Eclipse 2017 search results page, which includes a special tile at the top of the results with lots of handy information about today’s event. You can also click today’s adorable Google Doodle and be immediately be taken to a page full of eclipse science facts.
Not surprisingly, there are tons of stories in Snapchat that are covering everyone’s reactions to the eclipse, from the silly to the informative, to the bizarre. They also have several filters dedicated to the eclipse, plus special geofilters if you’re lucky enough to be in the path of totality. Speaking of, you might notice something different about friends on your Snap Map. If they’re in that 65-mile wide totality swath, their Actionmojis will be busy watching the eclipse.
Instagram has also gotten spiffed up for the eclipse, with a set of stickers that you can add to your Instagram Stories. Facebook, oddly enough, hasn’t added anything to their live video for the event; but they have set up an information page so that you don’t have to leave the site for the latest updates.
Twitter, on the other hand, will be a little more ambitious. While they’ll be full of the usual insane mix of hilarity, information, speculation, and hysteria (maybe a little more of the later than usual as we reach totality) they’re also teaming up with the Weather Channel to live stream the channel’s “sun chaser” team as they follow the path of the eclipse across the US. They’re the only social media network to be attempting the same type of coverage as NASA’s own Eclipse 2017 page. You can find the stream at eclipse2017.twitter.com.
I was rather surprised when I wandered by my Nest yesterday and saw that there was a notification there asking if I wanted to participate in Rush Hour for the solar eclipse. Rush Hour is a Nest opt-in initiative that that pre-cools homes just before peak energy draw hours, then turns up the thermostat so that less power is used during peak time. With solar panels nationwide receiving reduced light for up to three hours today, Nest wants to do its part by lessening the impact on the grid from its customers who have eligible Nest thermostats. Just opt-in and your Nest will cool your house down just before the eclipse starts, then bump the thermostat warmer until the eclipse is over (don’t worry, if you get too warm you can manually adjust the temp back down). It’s an easy way to help alternate energy providers. You can find more about solar eclipse Rush Hour on the Nest site.
Surprisingly, Alexa doesn’t have a ton to say about the eclipse; but you can ask her when it is and Amazon’s info-bot will tell you when it starts and where, and how to get more information. If you ask Alexa to tell you about the eclipse, she’ll provide details from one of the recent eclipse stories (like Sunday’s Washington Post story about animals acting strangely during the event). Unsurprisingly, she won’t try to sell you eclipse glasses (since they’ve been sold out on the site for weeks).
Of course, if what you need is the latest, pure scientific facts about today’s eclipse, point your Safari or Chrome browser to eclipse2017.nasa.gov. They have all the news and info about the eclipse, as well as fun facts and activities.
(Oh, and don’t stare at the sun without eclipse glasses, m’kay?)