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Monitor Sanity Fading Fast
May 8, 2013 12:10 PM   Subscribe

Not sure if this was on the Blue or Green (possibly even the Grey), but within the last year or two, I remember a discussion around freeware that automatically adjusted your monitors to the ideal brightness/setting.

I believe it changed based on time of day, so if the room was lit more by natural light during the day but fluorescent light at other times, settings changed.

I may or may not have installed it. I may or may not have it still installed. My monitor at work may or may not be totally jacked up. Actually, I'm not sure it is, but I've been looking at it jacked up for so long that it took someone else looking over my shoulder to point out to me that things don't have to look so blurry at that/any resolution.

Please help me remember the name of the software so I can better guess whether or not it is running before I open a help desk ticket to probably replace my monitor anyway.
posted by MCMikeNamara to MetaFilter-Related at 12:10 PM (35 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

F.lux?
posted by valleys at 12:14 PM on May 8, 2013 [11 favorites]


It's F.lux, and it's lovely. It's not quite as sophisticated as you describe, though - it just changes color temperature when the sun goes down. I am convinced it helps, though.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 12:16 PM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


From your description I'm sure you're talking about f.lux, which is amazing at getting me off the computer after sunset. It adjusts the color temperature of your display to make it more red in the evening.

If your display looks blurry, I'd be surprised if that's the reason.
posted by gauche at 12:18 PM on May 8, 2013


Regardless, you deserve a nicer monitor.
posted by boo_radley at 12:31 PM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I use F.lux. Only complaint is that when it goes into colorshifting mode it causes my system to hiccup a bit. Otherwise it's good stuff.
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:47 PM on May 8, 2013


Thank you. It's definitely f.lux (though I can't easily find the thread where I learned about it because f-dot-l-u-x is very annoying to search on)

The reason I described it as more sophisticated than it is is because I was describing what I thought it rather than what it actually did. Because I am

And, to be clear, I didn't think f.lux caused the blurry monitor but wanted to get rid of it (which I apparently had already) before somebody else who might have jumped to that conclusion came to review my situation. But I'm pretty sure the reason I uninstalled it was because my monitor has been ever-so-slightly blurry this entire time so I didn't appreciate it.

Regardless, you deserve a nicer monitor.

Fingers crossed.

There's some sort of horribly sad metaphor to be made about my life in regards to looking through a busted monitor for so long that you don't even notice it. But don't let it make you sad. I typically look at Metafilter on my built-in laptop screen. You can make your own estimation on relative time spent on each which has led to this point.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:00 PM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


f.lux has significantly improved my sleep patterns, as well as my awareness about when I should start winding down for the night or preparing for the day. It's just great. Sometimes I'll disable it for an hour if I'm, say, working in Photoshop or watching videos. That also gives me a nice time limit to get my stuff done.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:23 PM on May 8, 2013


Amazing. I totally need this. And since I work a lot with images, it's nice to be able to disable it from the menubar.
posted by phaedon at 1:34 PM on May 8, 2013


I'm begging them to install something like this into iOS so that my habit of iPadding before bed can be a little less sleep-disruptive.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:43 PM on May 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Supposedly if you jailbreak your device, you can install it on iOS. I would LOVE to be able to dim my phone even further - it's at the lowest setting and it's still way too bright for comfortable reading in bed.
posted by desjardins at 1:48 PM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


desjardins: "Supposedly if you jailbreak your device, you can install it on iOS. I would LOVE to be able to dim my phone even further - it's at the lowest setting and it's still way too bright for comfortable reading in bed."

Android has cyanogen, which will let you dim the screen completely off if the hardware supports it (a pain in the ass). It also had RenderFX, which let you tint the screen -- you could have it so that only the red sub-pixels would be active, so you'd get a super low brightness, low-power consumption screen.
posted by boo_radley at 2:20 PM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


though I can't easily find the thread where I learned about it because f-dot-l-u-x is very annoying to search on

Pretty sure this is the thread? Search engines drop out punctuation so if you search for the URL as a "bound phrase" (i.e. in quotes) it will usually find what you're looking for if you couple it with metafilter.com.

This has been your librarian minute. IAYL.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:50 PM on May 8, 2013 [20 favorites]


I really wish that there was a Google search that supported regular expressions. Really really wish.
posted by double block and bleed at 2:56 PM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I run f.lux on my jailbroken iPhone (and all my computers).

And a Google search for [f.lux site:www.metafilter.com] finds the thread pretty easily.
posted by jjwiseman at 3:01 PM on May 8, 2013


Ha, Google allows it for content filtering and analytics but not for search. And you can hack your way to to search gmail. And more searching wound me up here which then wound me up ... here.

It's too bad because I feel like too many places just want search that is "good enough" [i.e. that value recall over relevance] and search could be So Much More.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:09 PM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Supposedly if you jailbreak your device, you can install it on iOS. I would LOVE to be able to dim my phone even further - it's at the lowest setting and it's still way too bright for comfortable reading in bed.

Every iphone revision seems to allow dimming the screen further. For instance, my 5 gets way dimmer than my 4/4S allowed, which got dimmer than my 3g allowed.

That said, the combination of absolute-minimum brightness and f.lux is *amazing*. It makes me never feel like i'm breaking some awful "sleep hygiene" rule when i surf in bed, since it gets so dim that i'll just start to nod off and drop my phone and fall asleep.

I'd definitely say that besides some light thematic/interface tweaks, it's the number one reason i jailbreak now. I was REALLY bummed when i had to wait for a new jb after the 5 came out.

It also has the added bonus of making your phone screen really unobtrusive when you pull it out in a dark room pretty much anywhere.
posted by emptythought at 3:11 PM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


jessamyn, Google also used to allow regular expressions in their Code Search (now gone). There's a lot of very interesting but very technical info from one of the guys that implemented it here: http://swtch.com/~rsc/regexp/regexp4.html
Code Search was Google's first and only search engine to accept regular expression queries, which was geekily great but a very small niche. The sad fact is that many programmers can't write regular expressions, let alone correct ones.
posted by jjwiseman at 3:17 PM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Blurry monitor is almost always caused by using a resolution other than the monitor's native resolution these days. That's the first thing I'd check. But maybe by "nicer monitor" you meant you wanted a bigger monitor?
posted by stopgap at 3:26 PM on May 8, 2013


A word of caution to this tale: if you use an older (6+ years old) computer, use of f.lux may cause your monitor to short out and fail. :( This happened to two of my computers in two separate spaces after using f.lux daily for a few months.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 3:30 PM on May 8, 2013


The sad fact is that many programmers can't write regular expressions, let alone correct ones.

*Sob*. They should probably be taught in middle school. They're as simple and useful as ([^c]ie)|(cei)
posted by Monsieur Caution at 3:39 PM on May 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'd even settle for wildcard globbing.

My sister in law is one of those scary-smart people who can rattle off the list of words that have "u" as the forth character and some other character as the second character. I'll never be able to do that, but isn't that the sort of thing we have computers for?
posted by double block and bleed at 6:42 PM on May 8, 2013


I would like to say holy shit, thank you. Because holy shit, thank you.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:27 PM on May 8, 2013


Yeah I'd asked a question about my new monitor giving me migraines and I was super doubtful that F.lux would make a difference, but it has helped!
posted by IndigoRain at 9:06 PM on May 8, 2013


A word of caution to this tale: if you use an older (6+ years old) computer, use of f.lux may cause your monitor to short out and fail. :( This happened to two of my computers in two separate spaces after using f.lux daily for a few months.

Given that all f.lux does is change the colour response of the graphics card output, it seems more likely that you had two old monitors that happened to die at about the same time you started using f.lux.
posted by pharm at 1:23 AM on May 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


NB. If you're using Linux, there's a program called redshift that does the same thing as f.lux.
posted by pharm at 1:25 AM on May 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


There is also a Linux version of f.lux itself.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 4:29 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Blurry monitor is almost always caused by using a resolution other than the monitor's native resolution these days.

Except on Windows 7, where setting Windows to your monitor's native resolution can sometimes cause worse blurring than letting the monitor handle scaling up from a lower resolution.

Display resolution has been a bugbear in the Windows environment for a very long time. There are lots and lots of Windows applications whose visuals break horribly if Windows is set to anything other than 96dpi, and this is exactly why so many laptop manufacturers kept offering business models with 1280x800 displays for so long after the underlying hardware became more than capable of handling 1080p video playback.

Windows 7 has an inbuilt facility that's supposed to deal with this. If you have a nice new 1920x1080 display panel but you want text the same size as it was on the 1280x768 panel it replaced, the "correct" way to get that result is to set Windows to 1920x1080 with 150% text scaling. This makes Windows run a 144dpi instead of 96dpi, and as long as you're working with properly coded "DPI-aware" application programs it does indeed look very sharp and crisp.

When you launch an application that has not declared itself "DPI-aware", Windows 7 provides that application with a fake 96dpi display and graphically scales the resulting application window by 150%. Text and graphical elements within the application will relate as expected by the designer, so the application will not look broken, but it will look blurry as hell. I don't know what Windows uses to do its 150% scaling but it's much worse than the result of feeding a 1280x768 video signal to a 1920x1080 panel, and the effect is especially jarring if the blurry window is not occupying the whole screen.

Some applications that don't bother declaring themselves "DPI-aware" (notably Adobe Reader and LibreOffice) look much better if you turn this scaling kluge off, which you can't do across the board but can do for each individual application: right-click any shortcut to the application, choose Properties->Compatibility, and check "Disable display scaling on high DPI settings". Doing this to others just breaks them in the customary fashion.

If what you spend most of your day looking at is application programs that don't respond well to having Windows display scaling disabled, and you don't like teeny tiny text, then your least bad option might well be to run your display at something lower than its native resolution.
posted by flabdablet at 5:17 AM on May 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


And here's what I should have linked to instead of writing all that.
posted by flabdablet at 5:29 AM on May 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


If you want something for an iPad or iPhone, there is AfterDark Pro. It's in the App store for $.99, and it allows you to have full brightness control for your browser (not just bright/slightly less bright/TOTALLY BLACKSCREEN).

It is not as great as f.lux, but it's a good option for stuff like late-night Metafilter sessions on un-jailbroken iOS devices.
posted by misha at 6:41 AM on May 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


I use the Screen Filter app on my Android when I need the screen to be extra dark. It's pretty crude -- it just makes everything blacker -- but it works OK and doesn't need root access or anything. It's good stuff.
posted by Scientist at 9:43 AM on May 9, 2013


I'd even settle for wildcard globbing.

Huh? Oh, this is one of those trick comments, where I search on "wildcard globbing" and it comes up with something in Urban Dictionary and I scream and think "cannot be unread". Nice try...
posted by Wordshore at 12:00 PM on May 9, 2013


My goodness, this is complete awesomeness - i might have this delayed sleep thingumy.
posted by sgt.serenity at 4:25 PM on May 9, 2013


Misha, can you post a link? The only AfterDark apps I see in the App Store relate to music venues.
posted by desjardins at 9:05 PM on May 9, 2013


I've been using redshift continuously since last fall. I was skeptical for about the first 10 minutes and now every time I accidentally click the little tray icon and turn it off I'm temporarily horrified and confused for reasons I can't even articulate. This is pretty good software.
posted by brennen at 9:56 AM on May 11, 2013


desjardins: I'm not misha, but I think this is the referenced app. (Hope that link works — mobile copy/paste grumble grumble.)
posted by Lexica at 1:44 PM on May 11, 2013


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