Tech Talk: F.lux

F.lux is a free application that alters the color temperature of your screen from a bright, beaming blue to a calm, relaxing reddish hue. This application was created by both Michael and Lorna Herf. F.lux is available for Windows, Mac, and iOS operating systems. You can download F.lux for free off of the F.lux website. Blue light emitted from a typcial desktop or laptop, being apart of the visible light spectrum delves deeper into your eyes. The measurement of light for blue light is 6500K, K meaning Kelvin which is a measurement of light intensity. Surprisingly enough daylight is 5000K. Crazy. It’s effect over time accumulates and can cause damage to your retina, which is connected to age-related macular degeneration. Constant blue light can cause retina cell death. Blue light during the evening time throws the human body’s biological clock out of order.

Brightness is not the biggest issue with the body’s biological clock in the evening, but the color temperature. The blue light may seem like nothing during the day, but it’s still digging away at your retina eye cells. Studies alsoshow that gazing into a bright blue screen at the dead of night cuts out 1 – 2 hours of  sleep that you won’t get back. F.lux alters the lighting to a warmer and friendlier tone.

The application itself is easy and free to download right from https://justgetflux.com/. The website should notice your operating system automatically (it has with all the machines I have downloaded F.lux on). All that you’ll really need to do with F.lux after you download the application is to enter in your zip code so that it recognizes the time when the sun is either setting, or when the sun is coming up in your chosen area. The application itself will know when it’s time for sunset to occur in your area and it will automatically adjust the warmness of your screen to nightime. The same process happens automatically when dawn approaches.

There are other tweaks you can use to alter F.lux, you can disable it or unistall it very easily. There is a checkbox that you can check that disables F.lux for one hour if you’re doing something like Photoshop that is a color sensitive process. The other setting that you can use is the adjust lighting setting, which has an option for lighting of both the day and the night. Transitional speed is also another thing that you can configure – you can choose either fast or slow, having a slow transition helps the CPU usage become less intensive than the fast transition. Another cool setting is that you can adjust the nighttime to either Ember (1200k), Candle (1900k), Dim Incandesecent (2300k), Incandescent (2700k), Halogen (3400k), Flourescent (4200k), Sunlight (5000k). To expand your color range, you’ll need to restart your computer or portable device to try out every option for nighttime lighting. Essentially, the regulardefault moniter color temperature is like a tanning salon just for your eyes.

Matthew Porr is a member of the Information Technology Senior Seminar course and is planning on a career in Software Engineering. This article can be viewed online under Matthew’s webpage, http://www.matthewporr.com/beacon-article—flux.html.

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