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Ever worked late into the night on your computer and found yourself blinded by the light from the monitor? Yes, all of us have experienced it at some point or another.

So what do you do then? Get down and dirty and adjust the screen’s brightness to be a little easy on the eyes, only to find it ineffective and then find yourself adjusting it again the next morning? There’s definitely got to be a better way to automate this. And surely there is – “F.lux“.

A no fuss application that doesn’t bother you too much and sits quietly in the system tray adjusting the screen for the better. F.lux uses your location and the time of the day to find out what would be the lighting conditions around you. It is an known fact that there is considerable difference in lighting conditions when the sun is out and glowing and when it is set. The natural lighting (due to the sun) has a cooler feel to it than artificial lighting.

F.lux takes all of this into account and with the knowledge of your local sunset and sunrise timings it adjusts the color of your monitor display to suit the time of the day. The display gets warmer during night time and cooler during day time. Odd you would think? Shouldn’t it be the other way round?  Actually no because surprisingly less color temperature means more blue whereas more color temperature means more red.

F.lux does an amazing job in detecting your location and current state of lighting. I just had to install and run it and instantly it started adjusting the display and did it right. Running it the first time you might feel a bit odd because the first adjustment would be big and you would be able to notice the color changing. After that the changes are subtle and you won’t even notice them. You can click on the main interface and see a 24 hr preview of the changes that would occur.

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If for some reason F.lux is not able to set up your location correctly or if you want to take matters into your own hands you can always summon the F.lux GUI from the system tray. Click on ‘settings’ and you will be able to see the current location F.lux is using.  If you want to change it and you know the latitude and longitude values for your city/town you can do so here (check out Google Maps or just Google the city name if you have trouble finding the correct values).

F.lux also lets you customize the lighting values. Adjust the sliders to choose the maximum and minimum values within which the display color will oscillate. If you use fluorescent lighting you can adjust the night slider so that colors don’t become too warm for your lighting conditions. You can also change the transition speed if you have issues with it. Fast seemed to work just fine for me.

If you are doing photo editing or some other color sensitive work you can choose to disable F.lux for one hour.

F.lux is available for Windows, Mac and Linux. Note that F.lux is not the same as the ambient light sensors that come with laptops these days and adjust the brightness of the screen according to the lighting conditions. You don’t require any sensors for F.lux to work and moreover it adjusts the color as opposed to the brightness.

It’s amazing how such a simple idea can become part and parcel of your work in no time. I wish they had a portable version so one could take it along in a USB drive, run it and feel at home.

Do you use similar applications that you can’t live without? We would so like to know about them in the comments!

  1. 1fastbullet
    May 27, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    Downloaded it for Linux Ubuntu but unsure where to extract it to.

    Suggestions, anyone?

    Thank you.

  2. Navrooz
    April 23, 2009 at 8:27 am

    i had been using this software for quite a while now, and it gives good results,

    but one thing i don't like in it is, that at around 10-11 into night the screen looks really awkward.

  3. Lauren
    April 17, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    This is great!

  4. Smitty
    April 15, 2009 at 11:49 pm

    Love at first sight ... incredible.

  5. Ben
    April 15, 2009 at 7:01 am

    I have been using F.lux for a couple of weeks now and after getting used to the changes, absolutely love it. The screen just doesn't feel as harsh at night anymore. Fantastic app.

  6. david2
    April 15, 2009 at 4:37 am

    The effect is good for the eyes - once you get used to the coloring change,

    BUT

    when I run this on XP the CPU maxes out at 100% and many instances of cli.exe start up (cli.exe is part of the Radeon 9550 video card software set).

    The guys at F.lux have not responded to my email - any suggestions out there? I really want to use this product.

  7. Titanium Pen
    April 15, 2009 at 4:11 am

    Seems useful.

  8. Justin
    April 14, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    I love this program, however I can not use it on my main system due to some weird problems.

    It is Win Server 2008 x64 and after Flux has been running for a few hours it causes my computer to slow to a crawl. It does not seem to use a lot of CPU or RAM, but for some reason it is the cause.

    However this app works great on my XP media center, which is in the living room. Having it dim that screen on its own is great.

    Now if I could just get it working on this system...

    • Ytak
      August 6, 2009 at 6:30 am

      Hey Justin
      Same problem here on my Windows XP PRO and Home systems. The app is really great and I don't wanna miss it but since it slows down my computer(s) dramatically it's unusable for me.

      I tracked down the problem and it seems that the app somehow interferes with the Windows DDE. This means that when I for example doubleclick on a Wordfile it takes about 5-8 seconds for Word to startup and load the file. When I change the behaviour of the file associations to not use DDE it works fine. But I cannot create a manual file association for each and every filetype in Windows.

      Bummer, I had to delete the app. I hope the bug will be fixed soon.

  9. david
    April 14, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    I rather use a bat file which changes the energy settings using powercfg.

    The warmer colors feel like a filter over my screen.

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