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F.Lux Product Review

Eyestrain from looking at the computer monitor is not uncommon.  Typically, you can manually adjust the brightness and contrast setting on the monitor itself.  You can also make certain adjustments within your operating system.

But, what about insomnia?  According to Greg Linch of the Washington Post, “Humans evolved to respond to darkness by producing melatonin, the hormone that regulates the sleep cycle.  But our light-sensitive pineal gland near the center of the brain responds to blue light by suppressing melatonin causing us to wake up.”  This now explains why the advice has always been to never keep your TV or a computer monitor on in your bedroom: you won’t be able to fall or stay asleep.

About F.Lux

However, there is something you can do.  Stereopsis (www.stereopsis.com/flux/) offers a free software application called F.Lux.  This application adjusts the color of your monitor screen based upon the time of day.  In other words, f.lux makes your computer screen look like the room you’re in, all the time. When the sun sets, it makes your computer look like your indoor lights. In the morning, it makes things look like sunlight again.

Change Your Location

The first thing you want to do (which is really Step 2) is change your location.  Click the Change button and enter your zip code.  This will help you to make the proper adjustments based upon where you are in the world.  (Likewise, if you take a vacation, etc., you can reset this option for relevancy to your current location.)

Day or Night Setting

Under section 1, the type of lighting you’re under is what is used to gauge where the best setting might be.  For example, most offices have fluorescent.  Move the Daytime slide to the area that reads Fluorescent.  (The Daytime and At Night sliders are independent of each other so only move the applicable slider based upon the time of day.)

Since I work in daylight, I moved the slider from Daylight left to see what would happen.  My screen went from an obvious blue to a less bright very faint sepia tone (which is orange/brown).  While it took me a few minutes to get used to this change, I found that it was much easier to work.  I also felt a lot calmer, which is not a bad thing.

At night, repeat the same process, moving the slider back and forth to see what works best.  One thing you’ll notice as you move the bottom slider is that the screen starts to change.  This is to simulate how the monitor brightness changes from night to day.  (It’s not clear why this is necessary.)

When you have all the settings in place, click Done.  That’s it.

Graphics

You should disable F.Lux when you are working with graphics that require true color. F.Lux makes it easy to turn off the feature for an hour or so as you’re working with this type of media.  You can see this option in the lower left-hand corner of the F.lux window that reads, “Disable for one hour (for doing color-sensitive work).”  Simply click in the checkbox and F.lux is turned off.  If you want to enable F.Lux again before the hour is up, click in the checkbox again to remove the checkmark.

I think it takes a bit of testing if you are using a laptop and move around to various lighting sources.  However, since your desktop stays in one place, you may find this very useful.

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