F.lux makes computer look better at night

It’s been around 2 years and 4 months since my last post here. A lot has happened. But I’ve decided (for now) to leave the old as-is, the layout the same (not that you’ve seen it recently to remember, if you’ve ever even been here before) and just dive right in. I’m going to be posting whatever random stuff I want to here, from cool computer software to my experiences assembling IKEA furniture for my home office (maybe). Let’s start with some cool software (freeware, so it’s extra nice).

The software is f.lux from Stereopsis, written by Michael Herf, the guy who wrote Picasa and sold it to Google. His wife is an artist and the process of lighting her studio and finding lots of information about light (probably more than you want to know) led to the creation of f.lux. What is it? A small program, available for Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems, that runs in the background and adjusts the color temperature of your monitor so it matches daylight during the day, and incandescent light at night, so the monitor matches your surroundings (you can customize some of this for your light sources). All you have to do is tell it where you are, but it even makes a good educated guess at that (I assume with IP geolocation and/or the timezone setting in your computer, I haven’t checked).

The whole thing is straightforward. Just install and run; tweak if desired. You can click for a quick preview of how the monitor will change over a 24-hour period. This is my second night trying it. After sunset, my monitor has a warmer color tone. It’s a little odd, but it doesn’t have the same glaring brightness to my eyes, and when I look at the TV over my laptop screen the laptop’s backlight doesn’t scream at me out of the corner of my eyes as much, it blends in better with the room. It was annoying enough in the past that I would usually shut the laptop lid while watching TV, but it didn’t bother me nearly as much tonight (I reduced the screen brightness down significantly from full as I usually do, as well).

It’s still a bit odd to see the cast of my screen look slightly different at night, but it’s so much more comfortable I’m pretty sure f.lux is here to stay. It’s free, easy to turn off (or disable for an hour with a checkbox), is automatic and unobtrusive. No real reason not to try it. Oh, and you can open up the advanced settings and adjust the color temperatures in case you work in fluorescent lighting instead of daylight during the day, for example.

And you can’t help but like a guy who in 2001 was ranting about how credit card offers were terribly annoying when made to look like important, urgent bills. That must mean he writes good software :-)