How to watch the solar eclipse on Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter

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Another dark shadow is about to descend upon the United States.

A rare solar eclipse will cast a massive shadow across the U.S. on Monday, temporarily plunging wide swaths of America into darkness as the moon blocks out the sun.

It’s a pretty big deal. A total solar eclipse hasn’t occurred in the lower 48 states since 1979, according to the Washington Post. The eclipse starts at 1 pm ET / 10 am PT.

As a result, a lot of Americans are traveling to watch the eclipse and buying things like eclipse glasses. Naturally, all of the social media apps Americans spend time on are preparing for the eclipse in their own ways. If you don’t plan to see the eclipse in person and you’re looking for ways to enjoy a temporary break from U.S. politics, here’s what you can expect from Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube.


Facebook’s solar eclipse notification.

The social network will push NASA’s livestream of the eclipse into users’ News Feeds with a special notification for those in the U.S. NASA will also go live with a 360-degree video from Charleston, S.C., and NASA also created some special camera filters for the occasion you can find in Facebook’s built-in camera.

A bunch of other local and national new organizations plan to stream the eclipse live on Facebook, including CNN and NBC News.


Snapchat will compile a “Total Solar Eclipse” Our Story beginning on Sunday and continuing through Monday’s eclipse, which means it’s going to be taking photos and videos from users across the country and putting them into a montage for people to watch. The Story will also include Snaps from NASA and the Department of the Interior. Snap has also created some special photo filters for the event, including some that will only be available to users in the eclipse’s “path of totality.”

You can follow that path of totality on Snap’s new map. If you have friends standing in places where the eclipse will cast a shadow, their Bitmoji will change on the map so that it looks as though they’re staring up at the sun.


Twitter has an official live partnership with The Weather Channel to stream the eclipse live to users, and the feed will include a special timeline full of eclipse-specific tweets. It’s the same kind of setup Twitter uses for all of its livestreaming programs, including presidential debates and NFL games.



A bunch of publishers are planning to stream the eclipse live on YouTube, including NASA, PBS and the Washington Post.
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Recode Daily: There goes the sun

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Plus, the front-runner in the Uber CEO race, flying cars are already a thing, and Ellen Pao examines how sexism works in Silicon Valley.

There goes the sun: Go ahead — leave your desk and watch the eclipse! You’re not going to cause a productivity crisis. Plus, here’s how to livestream the eclipse wherever you are, and how to watch the real thing without burning your eyes out. [Peter Kafka / Recode]

Former GE chairman Jeff Immelt is the front-runner candidate to become Uber’s CEO; a board vote is expected within two weeks. Meanwhile, ousted CEO Travis Kalanick blasted early investor Benchmark for ambushing him with a lawsuit when he was mourning his mother’s death. To keep you up to date, here’s Recode’s regularly updated timeline of everything you need to know about Uber’s turbulent 2017. [Kara Swisher and Johana Bhuiyan / Recode]

Flying cars are already a thing. A European company called Lilium has built a full-scale prototype of a vertical takeoff and landing jet, which it flew for the first time in April; the company is now looking to the ride-hail industry as it builds out a business model for on-demand VTOL jet cars. [Johana Bhuiyan / Recode]

Facebook has big plans for Marketplace, its Craigslist competitor, a centralized location within the app where people can sell used merchandise to others in their neighborhoods. The social network wants to bring ticket sales and bigger retailers to Marketplace as it connects buyers and sellers, but it’s not getting into payments — the actual monetary transactions still happen off-site. [Kurt Wagner / Recode]

Ellen Pao examines how sexism works in Silicon Valley in an excerpt from her forthcoming book, “Reset,” which details her lawsuit against Kleiner Perkins, which sparked a debate over sexism in tech. [Ellen Pao / The Cut]

Top stories from Recode

A judge said Uber can’t present a key argument in the Alphabet lawsuit to a jury.

This could hurt Uber’s case.

Coal country is ready for tech jobs — if techies will just give them a chance.

Kara Swisher heads to Louisville, Ky., to talk about the future of work, on the latest Recode Decode podcast.

This is cool

Quantifying happiness

Mathematicians in the Computational Story Lab at the University of Vermont are reading your tweets and learning a lot about our collective well-being. [Rowan Jacobsen / Outside]

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Coal country is ready for tech jobs — if techies will just give them a chance

Recode’s Kara Swisher heads to Louisville, Ky., to talk about the future of work on the latest Recode Decode.

A major theme of the 2016 election that has carried over into 2017 is the future of work — will all the new jobs be on the coasts, or can people struggling in the middle of the country get opportunities in tech, too?

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On the latest episode of Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher, Kara spoke with a roundtable of guests who are confident that the latter is achievable: Interapt CEO Ankur Gopal, Code Louisville founder Rider Rodriguez, TechHire Eastern Kentucky student Crystal Adkins and Tech Jobs Tour CEO Leanne Pittsford.

“I think a lot of people don’t realize they have these passions for other stuff that can translate into tech and then can transform these small towns that are dying,” Adkins said. “It makes me sad to see all these people — they’re so smart — holding onto this idea that coal is going to come back and it’s going to make things so much better for everybody when the fact is, it’s a finite resource and we’ve got to find a way to move away from it.”

Gopal, a Kentucky native who learned growing up that success meant leaving Kentucky, came back to the state to start Interapt after stints in Chicago, Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C.

“What inspired me was that when I went out, if you will, into the cities, I saw how many people were just like the people I grew up with in Kentucky,” Gopal said. “I realized, it’s not about getting out, it’s about giving people guidance.”

You can listen to Recode Decode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.

However, bringing coal country into the future isn’t as simple as saying “you can do it.” The panel agreed that founders and investors in today’s tech hubs — places like San Francisco, New York and Boston — should take a serious look at how Kentuckians might help them build great businesses.

“Every city has its own individual issues,” said Pittsford, who is touring the country this year to encourage tech entrepreneurship in 50 cities. “When we come into places, one of the things is a true pride in where people live. They’re really concerned that we’re coming in and taking jobs away. We’re actually wanting to do the opposite: How do we get companies of all kinds to think about opening offices in other cities, or think about working remotely?”

Adkins said hiring managers need to be part of the solution, too. As a student in a local coding apprenticeship program, she noted that many of her classmates were talented programmers who quickly hit a wall when they tried to take their skills to big companies, because they lacked a traditional college degree.

“We need more people to take chances,” Adkins said. “The biggest thing we’ve seen was, recruiters will call us: ‘Oh, we have to have somebody that has a bachelor’s degree.’ And to know how different that academic programming is to real-world programming, it kind of hurt. I know how to do this! I understand that it’s hard to take that chance. But we have to have people take that chance for us.”

If you like this show, you should also sample our other podcasts:

  • Recode Media with Peter Kafka features no-nonsense conversations with the smartest and most interesting people in the media world, with new episodes every Thursday. Use these links to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.
  • Too Embarrassed to Ask, hosted by Kara Swisher and The Verge’s Lauren Goode, answers the tech questions sent in by our readers and listeners. You can hear new episodes every Friday on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.
  • And Recode Replay has all the audio from our live events, including the Code Conference, Code Media and the Code Commerce Series. Subscribe today on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.

If you like what we’re doing, please write a review on Apple Podcasts— and if you don’t, just tweet-strafe Kara.

Flying-car company Lilium has hired ex-Gett and Airbus execs to help make its on-demand air taxis a reality by 2025

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Lilum already has a full-scale prototype that has completed its first flight.

It turns out that Jetsons-like “flying cars” may eventually become a reality.

Lilium, a company developing these vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) jets, has already built a full-scale prototype, which it flew for the first time in April. Now, the Europe-based company is working on building out the business for these futuristic jets.

To do that, Lilium has brought in two executives to help scale the company as it prepares to explore commercial applications for its VTOL aircrafts. The first is Remo Gerber, who has been hired to be Lilium’s chief commercial officer. Gerber, who has a background in physics, previously headed up ride-hail company Gett’s Western European arm.

Gerber’s experience managing a ride-hail business lends itself to Lilium’s long-term plan of working with partners to create an on-demand network of VTOL jets. (Yes, Uber for flying cars.)

Ideally, cities would put up landing pads where a passenger can hail and then ride in a VTOL jet. Think of it like a helipad for helicopters. The difference is that VTOL jets use propulsion to take off and land, so the idea is that it should be much quieter than a helicopter.

You can see more on how the jet actually takes off here:

Since the company is only two years old and has yet to staff up its executive ranks, Gerber will also be handling responsibilities usually held by a CFO or COO, such as investor relations and finances.

Gerber said the company is laser-focused on bringing its vehicles to market; he will also continue discussions the company has already begun with potential commercial partners and regulators.

“The industry is really waking up,” Gerber told Recode. “People are starting to get excited about this.”

Lilium’s idea for an on-demand app for flying cars.

“[What is] quite unique about Lilium [is] we have a full-size prototype flying,” he said. “We are looking at a situation where we have a team of incredibly talented engineers that have proven that it is possible to create an aircraft that can take off and land vertically. Ultimately, we are very clearly looking into the future, we are thinking about how we are going to market.”

While Lilium will be turning to partners to commercialize its flying cars, the company will manufacture them in-house. Lilium has brought on Dirk Gebser, the former VP of assembly for two Airbus models and former director of manufacturing engineering at Rolls-Royce. Gebser is joining as vice president of production as the company prepares to meet its 2019 deadline of launching its first manned flight.

Lilium’s timeline for the roll out of its flying car service.

Lilium is certainly not the only company with ambitions for a flying car service. The company, which has raised $11.4 million from VC firms Atomico and e42 Ventures, is also competing against a Larry Page-backed company called Kitty Hawk and others.

Uber has talked about its own flying-car ambitions, which entail developing the on-demand platform that these jets will operate on. The ride-hail company is shooting to demonstrate its network of flying cars in Dubai and Texas by 2020.

The flying-car space is moving quickly past the prototype phase in an attempt to bring these new forms of transportation to market.

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Go ahead and watch the eclipse! You’re not going to cause a productivity crisis.

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The U.S. economy can handle March Madness. It can definitely deal with Monday’s momentary darkness.

Monday’s solar eclipse is a big deal because total solar eclipses are rare. The last time people in the U.S. have been able to see one was in the 1970s.

Much less rare: Press releases from HR firm Challenger Gray, announcing that an event many people in the U.S. are interested in will cost U.S. employers lots of money.

Here’s one they sent last week, announcing that Monday’s eclipse will cost $694 million in diminished productivity — “much to many employers’ dismay” — because people will spend time talking about the solar eclipse, reading about the solar eclipse, or even leaving their desks and venturing outside and attempting to see the solar eclipse.

If you don’t keep track of press releases from Challenger Gray, you might think this is a Very Big Deal: All that productivity! Kaput!

Don’t worry. Turns out Americans piss away their productivity all the time. And we’re still here.

In March, we frittered away $2.1 billion in productivity watching college basketball. Last fall, we burnt $17 billion in productivity by playing fantasy football. Christmas shopping from the offices costs another $450 million. Etc.

At this point you may wonder why more people aren’t alarmed about the frequent, epic, Productivity Losses Affecting America. Or, you may be thinking that Challenger Gray may not be that serious about the way it estimates Productivity Losses.

I’m going with the latter.

For starters, that’s because Challenger Gray’s methodology for this stuff doesn’t change: It guesstimates how much time Americans Spend Doing Something, then uses data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to guesstimate what that amounts to in hourly wages. That’s it.

Equally important: As Jack Shafer wrote for Slate, all the way back in 2006 (Challenger Gray has been at this for a long time!) Challenger Gray’s methodology assumes that workers are working every minute that they’re at work. And that diversions like March Madness and eclipses are the only time they lift their gaze from their workstations.

Much more likely: Time Americans spend watching buzzer beaters and eclipses is time they would have spent screwing around on Facebook, or whatever.

Speaking of Facebook:


But give it up to Challenger Gray: Attaching a Big Number to an Event Many People Are Interested In is an excellent way to get people to write about you. Can’t hate the player. Especially when you’re playing the game.

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Talking the Talk: The Beginner’s Guide to Designing a Chatbot Conversation

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Nothing will impact the way we communicate quite like chatbots.

Whether you need to summon a Lyft, book a flight, or even test out a new shade of lipstick, it’s now safe to say, “There’s an bot for that.”

By plugging into the messaging apps we already use to talk with friends every day, chatbots sit at the intersection of convenience and utility, redefining what it means for brands to be helpful for their customers.

And the numbers live up to the hype. Today, messaging apps have over 5 billion monthly active users, surpassing that of the top social networks. On Facebook Messenger alone there are 100,000 bots, not to mention the growing offerings on Kik, Slack, WeChat, and more.

Needless to say, bots are the future of brand communication.

But that doesn’t mean they won’t frustrate the hell out of you from time to time.

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Screen Shot 2017-07-19 at 9.21.16 AM-2.png

Image: Why Chatbots Fail

Let’s face it. Aside from the one-year-olds in your life, humans are really good at conversation. We remember contextual details. We get sarcasm. We read between the lines.

Bots don’t.


Image: Giphy

No matter the amount of headlines you read proclaiming that it’s the “Year of Chatbots”, natural language processing technology is still early, and there will still be those bots that make you want to sling your phone against the wall.

Besides, an entire lifetime of conversations has taught us to expect those we talk with to be relevant, clear, and brief. But, as more and more marketers race to this new communication channel without carefully considering the customer experience, we risk messing up messaging.

It’s safe to say, the greatest challenge of creating a bot is developing the conversational flow.

Don’t get hung up on development. Thanks to platforms like, building a bot is as easy as drawing a flowchart, meaning you can get the whole process done without knowing a line of code.

However, crafting a productive conversation is an art. There’s no absolute template to follow.

It’s really the double-edged sword of messaging. When done well, bots provide a scalable way to have one-on-one conversations with buyers unlike any other communication channel us marketers have gotten our hands on. Yet, bots fail when they don’t deliver an experience as efficient and delightful as the complex, multi-layered conversations people are accustomed to having with other humans on messaging apps.

If this sounds like nothing you’ve ever done before as a marketer, you’re not alone. Designing a great chatbot conversation will take more than some witty copywriting.

To help you wrap your mind around the concept, we’ve created the Inbound Messaging Framework — a beginner’s guide to structuring chatbot conversations that keep the greater customer experience in mind.

So, get out those dry erase markers. It’s time to whiteboard your first chatbot conversation.

The Inbound Messaging Framework




The first step of the Inbound Messaging Framework is to connect with your audience. Before you write a line of copy, understand your audience enough to know the messaging app where they’re most likely to spend their time so you’re available when their problem arises. For example, with its wide reach, Facebook Messenger could be the best option for audiences over the age of 18. But it overlooks the teenage demographic, who has proved loyal to Kik.

Engage the user in a conversational tone authentic to the feel of the messaging app, but remains true to your brand’s personality. For example, notice how the Sephora bot for Kik welcomes users with a casual tone and isn’t shy with the emojis.


Image: NewsWhip

The Sephora bot begins the conversation by getting to know the customer as if they’ve walked into the store and are greeted by a personal stylist. The bot then recalls these details to cater product suggestions accordingly.

This sort of personalization is just the beginning of what the Connect stage could be in the future. Imagine chatting with a bot that remembers your exact shade of foundation or recalls your shipping address automatically. As bot building platforms make connecting to your business’s CRM even easier, personalization will have a new whole meaning for marketers.


A common misconception with chatbots is that they’re supposed to be chatty. Remember, with each joke or silly GIF, you’re adding another barrier between the user and the solution they’re looking for.

Instead, the goal of the Understand phase is to lead the user through a series of dependent questions to to collect the necessary information to understand their intent or problem.

Here’s where the flow-charting begins. The progression of questions is neither random, nor one-size-fits-all. Start with a leading question that helps you narrow down the user’s intent as much as possible. Then, use the answer to alter each follow-up question until you’re able to hone in on a solution.

As described on the Prototypr blog, one method is to consider the who, what, when, where, and why of the situation and order your questions with the most telling variable first. For instance, Spring, a personal shopping bot, begins by asking whether the user wants women’s or men’s items to cut the product options in half from the start.


Image: SendBird Blog


You’ve heard it said before: bots are the new apps. We’ve grown tired of having to download an app we’ll never use again. In fact, half of U.S. smartphone users download a whopping zero apps per month. But since bots are accessed via messaging apps, there’s no longer a need to clutter up your phone with new downloads.

The best bots complete a transaction or deliver a solution without forcing the user to leave the conversational interface. Thankfully, most bot building platforms provide a variety of rich media options to help make this a reality, including image carousels and buy buttons.

Note how TechCrunch’s Facebook Messenger bot delivers content via Instant Articles to prevent mobile users from having to load their website.



Intel targets 8th Gen Core laptop processors at video editors and VR fans

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Intel is unveiling the first batch of its eighth generation Core processors, which are targeted at laptop users who like to do video editing or run virtual reality apps. The chips should also be plenty good for new kinds of gaming laptops.

Santa Clara, California-based Intel said the chips have 40 percent better performance than the previous-generation Core processors.

Intel estimates there are 450 million PCs that are older than five years, and these new processors are two times faster than those 5-year-old processors, said Gregory Bryant, senior vice president and general manager of the Client Computing Group at Intel, in a blog post.

Above: A photo of the Intel 8th Gen Core processor.

Image Credit: Intel

He said they will fits into laptops than are less than 11 millimeters thick, and be able to run 4K content, VR apps, and mixed reality technology. Bryant said that Intel wants to make this kind of tech accessible to everyone, starting with mobile processors designed for thin-and-light laptops.

Rival Advanced Micro Devices recently claimed the speed crown with the fastest desktop processors, but Intel believes its fastest upcoming desktop chips will beat AMD’s fastest.

The initial chips are targeted and thin-and-light laptops and 2-in1s, which can be converted into tablets. The processors have four cores, but some low-end members of the family no longer use hyperthreading.

“These improvements also open the door to richer, more immersive entertainment, and an experience that is optimized for simplicity,” Bryant wrote.

And the battery life is better. These machines can run 4K UltraHD video for up to 10 hours on a single charge.

If you’re editing photos, you will be able to do it 48 percent faster on 8th-generation processors compared to the processors Intel released last year. Video editing is 14.7 times faster than a five-year-old PC. So rendering a scene that took 45 minutes before can now be done in three minutes.

You can watch video shows in 4K UHD resolution and use Thunderbolt 3 external graphics for better gaming and VR.

Above: Intel’s new Core i7 is the top of the line of its new 8th generation laptop chips.

Image Credit: Intel

The first wave of 8th Gen Intel Core machines will hit the market in September. More than 145 models should be available with the new Core i5 and Core i7 processors. 8th Gen Intel Core processors will continue to roll out through the coming months, with the first desktop processors coming in the fall, followed by processors for
enterprise customers and a broad range of other options purpose-built for different segments.

The 8th Gen family will include some of Intel’s first chips based on its 10-nanometer manufacturing process.

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