It's been a busy last few weeks. The extension of the holiday season resulted in a delay of the Kickstarter projects. They were all expected between November and December. Kickstarter projects sure are the best way to get hands-on the technology. The risks of timely delivery always exist. While we are waiting to get the new toys, here is useful application - f.lux (pronounced as Flux). f.lux is a simple yet powerful application that works on Windows, Mac OS and Linux. Android (root required) & iOS (jailbreak required)
What is f.lux
F.lux is quite a unique application. F.lux is not a new application, it has existed for around 7 years now. There have been studies of the negative impact on health by the light emitted by the modern devices. The display screen on smartphones, tablets, laptops and even computers emit this light. The studies reveal about a harmful blue light emitted by these devices. Our brains are sensitive to this blue light. It delays the process of going to sleep (the reason it's advised not use gadgets before going to bed) and adverse. Excessive exposure to this light leads to drying of eyes, headaches and eye strains. In extreme conditions, it can even lead to certain types of cancer. F.lux does a simple task of reducing the blue light effect from the displays.
How it works
Once f.lux is active, the application uses the location of the device to adjust the display. Depending on the time of the sunset, the display turns warmer (orange effect). There is a manual trigger to change to a warm display as well. This is useful when working on colour specific tasks like editing photographs. The settings option allows choosing the application(s) to auto disable f.lux. For e.g. I've selected the Lightroom application (photo editing tool) to disable f.lux. When lightroom is active, f.lux gets disabled. The moment the focus changes to another application, f.lux starts working again.
At first, it seems a little different and takes few days to adapt. After a few days of using f.lux, the regular screen would feel bright. To the extent of hurting the eyes (personal experience speaks).
The modern operating systems are enabling similar functionality as a native feature. Apple has started testing the Night Shift option on the forthcoming version of Mac OS 10.12.4 (currently in Beta). This is already available on the iOS 9.3. Based on the sunset and sunrise times, this gets enable/disable on its own.
Google has been testing the similar feature on Android as Night Light as well.
F.lux earns the points for legacy and personal preference. It works on Windows, Mac OS and Linux. For making it work on Android, it requires root, for iOS, it's built in as Night Shift.
Most of the smartphone platforms are building this functionality within the operating system.
Update: Twilight is another alternative application for Android. There is a Free and a Pro version available. It works without root.
F.lux has been useful on the MacBook for a few years now, during after working hours. A few weeks ago, I installed it on the work laptop (running Windows). Luckily f.lux did not prompt for administrator credentials and ran at a user level.
After using it for few weeks during the day as well, noticed less fatigue, zero eye strain and headaches. These were earlier quite frequent, even with the low power anti-glare glasses. These past few weeks, the glasses have been resting at peace in its case. I'm not complaining at all. This has also made a positive impact on my sleeping patterns. This is what triggered this blog post.
Where to Download
F.lux has definitely made the days less straining to the eyes and helped me with peaceful sleep. This has, in turn, led better activeness during the day both at work and home. I recommend giving f.lux a try. There is yet one negative point about it… it's addictive. Once you start using it, you cannot stand your screen without it. Download it now, b but keep in mind to give it a week or two before you start to notice any results.
Share your experiences in the comments below, would love to hear you.