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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!

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