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  • Writer's pictureBurton Kelso, Tech Expert

3 Tech Tips to Help you Enjoy the Great American Eclipse 2017

 In less than a week, the total solar eclipse will occur and I’m excited. There are many questions people have about the eclipse ranging from the best way to find the best viewing of the eclipse to cell phone outages because of the eclipse to if you can take photos with your smartphone of the eclipse. If you continue reading, I can answer most of the questions and help you and your family enjoy the Great American Eclipse 2017.  Next total Eclipse in North America won't be until 2055.

1. Plan for Cellphone and Wifi Outages.  If you were planning on using your smartphone or tablet to stream or talk with friends or family during the eclipse, you might have a problem. It won’t be because of the eclipse, it will because of the large amount of people sharing their experiences online. It is predicted that areas in path of the totality which are attracting large crowds will have outages similar to disaster zones. What’s worse, is many of the areas in the path of the totality are in rural communities which already suffer from poor cellular signals and slow Internet. Some cell phone companies will deploy COWs or Cellular on Wheels to help with the increase bandwith and coverage,  but you should be prepared for spotty coverage in areas near or around the totality.  Keep in mind the following to compensate for lack cell coverage and wifi: Use text messaging rather than phone calls as text messaging doesn't use much bandwidth. Limit Your Phone Calls only to only emergency calls or 1st responders.  Setup a designated meeting spot if you are viewing the eclipse near the totality in case you get separated.  If you want to record the event, consider just using your smartphone to record the event and posting to social media later rather than trying to live streaming the event. Also, if you have a home or business near the totality, you might want to perform Internet heavy tasks before the eclipse starts which is about 11:00am CST.

2. Take precautions before you attempt to record or take photos of the eclipse with Your Smartphone. Before you ruin your smartphone trying to capture the eclipse, follow the following steps: Use a solar filter or eclipse glasses in front of the lens if you plan on taking pictures. You can damage your smartphone if you start snapping photos of the eclipse without a filter. Don’t use the zoom feature on your phone and turn off the flash.  Focus manually on the sun by touching the smarthphone’s screen, then slide your finger up or down to darken or lighten exposure. Also, consider taking a time lapse photo series of the scenery as the light dims.

3. Watch safely. Solar eclipse glasses are a must. Looking at the sun before it’s fully covered can damage your eyes. For about 5 minutes before totality, the ambient light will take on a sharp gray hue. Looking through the glasses, you will see only a tiny sliver of sun left – but don’t take the glasses off! If it still looks like daytime (with the odd gray light) then the full eclipse hasn’t happened yet. When it becomes as dark as night, the full eclipse has arrived. You can remove your glasses and look directly at the eclipse. The corona of the sun will have blossomed out from the black face of the moon.

I hope you are able to enjoy the 2017 eclipse. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity that everyone should take time out to view. 

Burton Kelso is the Chief Tech Expert at Integral. They offer tech support to homes and businesses all over the Kansas City Metro. He regularly appears as a guest tech correspondent on ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS on shows such as Kansas City Live, Better Kansas City, FOX 4 Morning Show, offering viewers easy tips on technology, Internet lifestyle, Internet security and gadgets. You can find Burton on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter and watch great tech tip videos on his YouTube channel. He can be reached at 888-256-0829 or email at

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