Sundown ya better take care / If I find you bin creepin' 'round my back stairs.
June 22, 2010 3:38 PM   Subscribe

Ever notice how people texting at night have that eerie blue glow? Or wake up ready to write down the Next Great Idea, and get blinded by your computer screen? During the day, computer screens look good—they're designed to look like the sun. But, at 9PM, 10PM, or 3AM, you probably shouldn't be looking at the sun. F.lux fixes this: it makes the color of your computer's display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day. It's even possible that you're staying up too late because of your computer. You could use f.lux because it makes you sleep better, or you could just use it just because it makes your computer look better.

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. Tell f.lux what kind of lighting you have, and where you live. Then forget about it. F.lux will do the rest, automatically.

Available for XP/Vista/Win7, Mac OS X, and XFlux for Linux (glibc6).

(Note: It's easy to temporarily disable the program in case you're doing stuff like editing photos, or other tasks that require accurate color calibration.)
posted by crunchland (65 comments total) 89 users marked this as a favorite

 
I tried this out a couple of weeks ago (just before leaving the desktop in Indiana en route to Budapest, and haven't put it onto the laptop yet).

On the one hand, it's a neat effect and really is easier on the eyes. And on the other, I just can't decide whether I like it yet. Part of me keeps wanting to adjust the monitor.
posted by Michael Roberts at 3:46 PM on June 22, 2010


Installed. Everything looks pink now.
posted by him at 3:46 PM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I tried it out for a while a few weeks ago, but it bothered me because my usage never match up with the times of the day.. if that makes sense.

Loved the idea though.
posted by doublehappy at 3:49 PM on June 22, 2010


I've been using this for about two weeks now, and I'm really starting to like it. I think there's something to the idea that having a brighter, bluer screen keeps one up longer at night.
posted by boo_radley at 3:49 PM on June 22, 2010


It takes getting used to. When you start using it normally, you won't even notice the change, but when you first install it, the color change is dramatic enough so you do.
posted by crunchland at 3:49 PM on June 22, 2010


I think this came out like two years ago. I remember using it on my laptop for about a week before I got annoyed with it and was constantly disabling it and ended up just uninstalling it. I didn't like the late afternoon/early evening color shifts at all.
posted by mathowie at 3:50 PM on June 22, 2010


Just installed it on OS X. I've been wanting something like this for a while, I'm pretty sure the Evil Blue Light messes up my sleep pattern a bit. Although I might need to lie to it about where I live so it pretends it's daytime for maybe an hour after the sun goes down.
posted by floam at 3:51 PM on June 22, 2010


Oh, and I think what this needs is to also take in some input from the ambient light sensor.
posted by floam at 3:53 PM on June 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


You can set the color transition to very slow to fool yourself. The drawback is that after a reboot at night, it takes the very-slow period to adjust to dark mode.

I just reinstalled it - neat feature; instead of entering your zip code (which in Budapest is kinda useless) you can get a Google mashup page as if by magic. I'll give it this: as an app it is just a beautifully thought-out work.

I also adjusted the dark level up towards the brighter end (there's a slider, with "halogen", "fluorescent", and "sun" marked on it - I moved it to "fluorescent") and it suits me better.

(Note to all y'all in the States: wait until dark to install it, so you can play with it immediately. I have the advantage right at the moment.)
posted by Michael Roberts at 3:53 PM on June 22, 2010


I think I like this.

And now I need to set it on the laptop I keep up in the bedroom, since that's the one I use late at night or really early in the morning, when something not-so-bright would be really nice.
posted by Katemonkey at 3:54 PM on June 22, 2010


Also, the initial guess it makes as to your actual longitude/latitude (from the IP, maybe?) may not match your actual location - and thus your sunset/sunrise times will be wrong. It will work way better if you get your location right.
posted by Michael Roberts at 3:55 PM on June 22, 2010


I've been using this for a year or so on all of my computers. I don't notice the shift (I have it set to the one hour transition.) The only thing I notice is if I turn it off at night - the blue seems unbelievably bright. I go to bed earlier, too, but I think that's a result of different factors and not f.lux.
posted by reishus at 3:55 PM on June 22, 2010


It's even possible that you're staying up too late because of your computer

well that's a relief; and here I thought it was all that meth I was smoking.

*fires up pipe*
posted by mannequito at 3:56 PM on June 22, 2010 [16 favorites]


This sounds cool! Before I install it, can someone confirm that it's easy to uninstall cleanly? I once installed something that controlled the fan on my computer, and when I uninstalled it, it was a huge nightmare causing me to to have to reformat and reinstall everything.

It seems like a cool idea, though. My computer is on all the time on my desk which is in my bedroom. Will it be more like natural sunlight now? Can I use it like those special lights in clothing store dressing rooms that show you what you look like in daylight?
posted by bluefly at 3:58 PM on June 22, 2010


Early days, but I like it.

Oh look, time for bed.
posted by ceiriog at 3:58 PM on June 22, 2010


Tell f.lux what kind of lighting you have, and where you live. Then forget about it. F.lux will do the rest, automatically.

Note the pleasant patented "fog effect" emanating from your DVD slot. No need to be alarmed. Just sit back and breathe deep.
posted by hal9k at 4:01 PM on June 22, 2010 [10 favorites]


I wonder if the whole point of this will be defeated by my fluorescent desk lamp with its searing bright whiteness. Well, time will tell.
posted by selenized at 4:03 PM on June 22, 2010


For those of you who care about such things, Redshift is open source, packaged in Debian and supposedly going to be included in Ubuntu 10.10.
posted by pwnguin at 4:05 PM on June 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


Bah. Matt did this for metafilter a few years ago, and everyone complained.
posted by MrMoonPie at 4:06 PM on June 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've been running it for a few weeks, and I now understand just how bad my display was. This can be a very handy piece of software.

I've also installed instant elevator music for those times when I'm waiting for a system event to finish, and am now using this ambient music stream from sleepbot to ease my way into slumber...zzzz
posted by disclaimer at 4:12 PM on June 22, 2010


If only it realized that I spend most of my time sitting in the dark. Really.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 4:14 PM on June 22, 2010


It works for me. When I turn it off as an experiment, I'm astonished at how blinding the normal daylight setting is. As for subtle: I installed it on the wife's iMac and she hasn't commented on the nighttime screen change. I don't think it's cured her insomnia, although she does come to bed a bit earlier.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 4:27 PM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Brilliant idea -- but I wish it could be set to adjust the monitor's brightness instead of (or in addition to) just tweaking the colors. I don't need my screen to be more orange at night, I need it to be dimmer.
posted by ook at 4:42 PM on June 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Wow, not a week ago I installed Shades on my Macbook. I knew the lowest brightness setting was too bright, but I never realized how much room there was between 1 and 0. The automagic dimming in f.lux sounds like it can go wrong in many ways, I'll stick with the user-directed tinting.
posted by persona at 4:45 PM on June 22, 2010


I put this on my machine some months back. I then proceeded to forget I had it on after about a week of adjusting to the difference. I then reinstalled my OS, and found out very quickly how much I wanted it back that first evening, finding the monitor way too bright and harsh to view.

It's also definitely improved my sleep - I didn't realize just how long I'd be lying in bed waiting to drift off until I stopped doing it every night.

So yes, I highly endorse this program. I do wish that it was "fuzzier" though in adjusting the monitor color, that as it got later it would increase the shift toward the red, instead of simply being either off or on.
posted by evilangela at 4:47 PM on June 22, 2010


I actually use this.

Since I use my netbook as "sleep aid" in the form of a reading device ambient noise generator as well as watching industrial process videos like "How It's Made" or stuff from the Prelinger Archives, I've found it super useful for drifting off to sleep. I'll also set my display down to minimum brightness and to auto-dim at an appropriate time, but not having the full glare of a bright blue LED backlit screen is nice.

I tend to turn it off at night if I'm not actually trying to go to sleep but sometimes I leave it on just because it's easier on the eyes in a darkened room.

It does seem to actually help not keep me awake too late, and reliably falling asleep for me is some kind of epic chore most of the time.
posted by loquacious at 4:54 PM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Are there any screenshots of this taken at different times?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:01 PM on June 22, 2010


Shades seems like a great idea, as does this application. Back when I had a linux laptop I used a great application that would tint the whole screen red. Combined with dimming the brightness, this was fantastic for use without blinding you at night.

There used to be a similar application for OSX - the icon looked like a porthole window if I remember correctly.

Shades seems neat, but I can't get the slider to vanish after setting the brightness.
posted by odinsdream at 5:13 PM on June 22, 2010


I wish it could use my netbook's built in camera, or a usb-attached webcam.
posted by clarknova at 5:13 PM on June 22, 2010


odinsdream: You might be thinking of Nocturne for OS X? It inverts the colors on your screen. I thought this was neat when I tried it, but I didn't want to use it regularly.

I've been using F.lux for more than a year now, and I doubt it has any significant impact on my sleep, but it makes my screen a lot more comfortable to view at night. I use the "Fluorescent" setting and the "fast" transition, and I like that the "fast" transition makes me more aware of when the sun is setting (or rising). Sometimes I sit in places without good outdoor light, and sometimes when working on my computer I just forget that I live in meatspace and not inside my screen, and the F.lux color transition reminds me that the outside world exists. It's like Nethack's "good luck" and "bad luck" messages on the full moon and new moon...except I don't play Nethack regularly anymore, so I sometimes don't notice when there's a full moon. Aw.

And I like how F.lux tells me what time sunset is — I can open the little panel and see "oh, sunset in three hours, time to go outside!" or "sunrise in two hours, I better go to sleep". It also showed me that sunset happens at slightly different times in places even a fairly small distance apart, which is probably obvious to most people but I thought it was cool when I learned it from messing around with F.lux. (I really do go outside every day, I promise! I just don't always notice things like this.)
posted by dreamyshade at 5:26 PM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've been using this for about four months now, and it has made, for me at least, a huge difference in my sleepiness at night-- when the sun goes down (like, within the minute), my screen gets this reddish dim, and it works perfectly as a "Nolan, time to stop staring into your laptop" cue. I've been a go-to-bed-at-4am man ever since high school; these past four months, I've gone to bed before midnight more often than I had in the last 10 years combined.

That said, selling it as "you could just use it just because it makes your computer look better" is almost laughable. When f.lux is active at night, it makes video-watching pretty difficult, so it's nice to tick the "disable for an hour" option so you can watch in normal hues (and then have f.lux creep back in an hour later).

It's also definitely improved my sleep - I didn't realize just how long I'd be lying in bed waiting to drift off until I stopped doing it every night.

A thousand times, this. I still need my mediated white noise, but for whatever reason, f.lux seems to have pushed that whole nightly process ahead 3-4 hours for me.
posted by NolanRyanHatesMatches at 5:32 PM on June 22, 2010


BUT I NEED IT FOR THE PHONE or other handheld device that I read in bed


-GREAT- idea, gonna check it out.
posted by mwhybark at 5:33 PM on June 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I use f.lux on my laptop and it's had a minor, but noticeable effect on my bedtime. If I'm actually doing something, talking to people on IM, performing a task or whatever, it doesn't make me want to stop, but I don't stay up nearly as late just randomly browsing and surfing. Instead, I notice I'm tired and go to bed. It's definitely doing something worthwhile for me.

When I use my iPhone in bed after using my f.luxed laptop, I really notice the difference.
posted by immlass at 5:36 PM on June 22, 2010


Thanks! I gotta give this a shot. My 27" iMac is definitely screwing with my (already terrible) sleep habits.
posted by furiousthought at 5:44 PM on June 22, 2010


OK, tell you what you don't want to do, is try to run Shades and F.lux at the same time. Which should probably have been obvious in retrospect.
posted by ook at 5:50 PM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I already set my Macbook screen brightness to the minimum setting (one 'square') at night, that seems to help with tired eyes as well. This seems like a neat idea, I'll give it a try.
posted by carter at 5:59 PM on June 22, 2010


I just thought the late night blue glow was metafilter.

Or maybe I just got the glow (yt)

(music by Willie Hutch, from The Last Dragon).
posted by honest knave at 6:04 PM on June 22, 2010


I'm pretty sure the Evil Blue Light messes up my sleep pattern a bit.

You know it also comes in plain white? Check your profile settings.
posted by Mr. Anthropomorphism at 6:05 PM on June 22, 2010


Oh okay there's Shades as well. I just downloaded it and it doesn't seem to play with f.lux - it keeps cyclin between blue and yellow screens :(
posted by carter at 6:11 PM on June 22, 2010




I already set my Macbook screen brightness to the minimum setting (one 'square') at night,

Try Shift+Option+F1/F2 to alter in units smaller than whole squares (works for volume too).
posted by pompomtom at 6:16 PM on June 22, 2010 [10 favorites]


I decided to try this out and it's making me uncomfortable because it reminds me of many years ago, when part of the monitor cord on the family computer died and everything became pink-hued from that point on.
posted by Nedroid at 6:20 PM on June 22, 2010


I'm liking this, and also Shades, but not together. Shades is better for when all the lights are off, and I'm in bed next to my wife, while F.lux is better for doing a little work with the table lamp on.
posted by bashos_frog at 6:27 PM on June 22, 2010


For what it's worth, IAmBroom, I scanned the setup program with microsoft security essentials before I made this post, and it came up clean.
posted by crunchland at 6:31 PM on June 22, 2010


And, furthermore, I just downloaded Spybot S&D, including the most recent update, and it didn't report any errors with my system (Win7), and I've (obv.) got F.lux running.
posted by crunchland at 7:08 PM on June 22, 2010


Malwarebyte's Anti-Malware scans it clean.
AVG scans it clean.

Maybe the "process that is listed as part of a malicious software" is also part of non-malicious software.

I'll still wait for tomorrow, to see what others experience. One night's sleep pattern "lost", eh.
posted by IAmBroom at 7:10 PM on June 22, 2010


As soon as I installed this, it immediately made me tired. I'll try sticking with it for a while, but my first impression is that it's making me tired because it's hard to read text and it's causing eyestrain.
posted by painquale at 7:22 PM on June 22, 2010


I love this program, been using it a few months. Simple, does exactly what it needs to do, and works like a charm.
posted by MetaMonkey at 7:47 PM on June 22, 2010


How about an app that forces a shut down when the sun goes down? Maybe it should turn off your lights as well. But not before reminding you to take your Ambien.Sorry, I haven't slept in days.
posted by itchylick at 8:58 PM on June 22, 2010


BUT I NEED IT FOR THE PHONE or other handheld device that I read in bed

Reading in bed is "bad for you"; it's considered poor sleep hygiene. Beds are for sleep, sex, and jumping on.
posted by sebastienbailard at 9:53 PM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


As someone that knows color theory and could talk to you about white balancing photos all day and all night, I am hesitant to give this a try. But I also have trouble falling asleep...so we'll see?
posted by ztdavis at 10:04 PM on June 22, 2010


I like this so far. I spend the daylight hours in a basement office with no natural light, so it will be nice if only to get some idea of the passage of time. I would complain about my job, but I'm getting paid for this.
posted by notionoriety at 10:07 PM on June 22, 2010


This is cool, but any information on the license? Or source availability? I feel icky about just installing some random binary that hasn't had a few people look at it.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 11:16 PM on June 22, 2010


Thank you! I was thinking of writing an app like this myself because I've been tweaking the monitor settings manually between warmer and cooler for the last few years! when I use my machine at night vs. day.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:07 AM on June 23, 2010


As someone that knows color theory and could talk to you about white balancing photos all day and all night

I was worried about that sort of thing too but the program has a menu option to disable it for an hour so you can go back to your calibrated settings.
posted by furiousthought at 12:21 AM on June 23, 2010


Interesting concept, but, in the northern latitudes (for me, anywhere roughly north of Minneapolis), my problem this time of year is the sun itself is up too late. And of course, in winter, night is way too early to be reminded about. The extremes of winter/summer sun in Europe always remind me how much further north I am than the climate would suggest.
posted by Goofyy at 12:42 AM on June 23, 2010


Reading in bed is "bad for you"; it's considered poor sleep hygiene.

Balderdash.
posted by Michael Roberts at 2:03 AM on June 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


f.lux makes your computer screen look like the room you're in, all the time.

A mess?
posted by krinklyfig at 9:00 AM on June 23, 2010


Reading in bed is "bad for you"; it's considered poor sleep hygiene.

I think this is only meaningful if you have difficulty sleeping.

Anyway, I've had insomnia for a long time, so I pay attention to this. I like reading, but if I read in bed I tend to fall asleep pretty quickly.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:03 AM on June 23, 2010


I think this came out like two years ago.

I believe it was longer than that. I can't believe it's still around. Did crunchland just wake from a coma? :)
posted by Dennis Murphy at 10:17 AM on June 23, 2010


You might be thinking of Nocturne for OS X? It inverts the colors on your screen. I thought this was neat when I tried it, but I didn't want to use it regularly.

Thanks! That is the program I was thinking of. I didn't like the inverted mode either, but I really like the non-inverted, red-tinted mode. It's absolutely perfect for night-viewing.
posted by odinsdream at 6:45 PM on June 23, 2010


I've been using it for a few weeks now, and I really like it. It's slightly weird when it first changes, but then I hardly notice it after a few minutes. I am a total insomniac, and since I have yet to get myself to stop using my computer before bed, I figure this is probably the next best thing.
posted by tastybrains at 9:33 AM on June 24, 2010


FOLLOWUP TO MY SPYBOT WARNING: It seems like the warning was initiated when I allowed the program to go online to find my latitude. If you only input your zip code, no warnings.

So, whether or not the warning is important, the suspicious part of the program is entirely avoidable.
posted by IAmBroom at 11:37 AM on June 24, 2010


I would like this better if it didn't keep forgetting what time sunset was when my laptop went to sleep.
posted by subbes at 6:52 PM on June 24, 2010


BUT I NEED IT FOR THE PHONE or other handheld device that I read in bed

I have Bright Day on my Android. It controls the brightness based on time of day, though it doesn't shift the colours like F.lux does.
posted by heatherann at 5:48 PM on June 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


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