Use F.lux to Prevent Hurting Your Eyes From Computer Glare

Prolonged use of computers can sometimes lead to irritation in the eyes, particularly when the display is bright and the usage continues till late at night. Symptoms may include difficulty in reading, headache and sleeplessness.

The reason behind this is very simple. During the daytime, computer screens look good as they are designed to look like the Sun. But during the evening and night our eyes get tired by looking at the bright (sun-like) computer screen giving which leads to eyestrain.

F.lux is a simple, yet very effective software that handles this problem very well. It adjusts the colour temperature of your computer’s display according to what time of the day it is.

Color temperature is a term that describes how much red or blue, the light is. Natural light is more blue, whereas artificial light is warmer, i.e. more red.

During the evening and at night, F.lux automatically changes the colour temperature of computer screen to warm. This makes the computer screen look like indoor lights i.e. a fluorescent or halogen like warm color. As a result, our eyes don’t stress even if we are using the computer till the late dark hours.

Using the software is very easy. All you need to do is download the setup file from the  f.lux website and install it. Then fill in your location and F.lux will do the rest. It will automatically change the colour temperature of your display to warm depending on the local sunset time and revert it back to normal the next morning.

Users of F.lux might take some time to adjust to the new colour settings. If you find your screen too pink or orange you can set the color manually by clicking the ‘Change Settings’ button after clicking on the F.lux icon in the taskbar. For colour intensive work such as using Photoshop it might not be a good idea to keep F.lux running all the time. For this, there is also an option to disable F.lux for an hour after which it starts functioning automatically.

F.lux is available for Windows XP/Vista/7, Mac OS X, Linux and iOS. Android users will need to wait to get the benefits of F.lux. Also if you are an iPhone or iPad user, keep in mind that you will have to jailbreak your device before you can start using F.lux.

All in all, F.lux is an amazing software that does it’s job and its makers have rightly called it as a software that will make your life better. Having used it for a few days now, I can strongly recommend it as a must have for your computer.

Please share with us your experiences using the software and if it helped you work longer hours on the computer without the eyestrain.

Optimize Images For The Web Using ImageOptim

As the saying goes, An image is worth a thousand words.

As a tech blogger, I absolutely live by that saying. I like to include a lot of images in my posts for reference and also because sometimes it’s just easier to explain a concept with a single image rather than writing a couple of paragraphs on it.

The only problem with including a large number of images is that the size of an individual page increases and so does the load time. Even though the average home user who reads this blog now has a lot more bandwidth at his/her disposal, page load times are still a factor to keep in mind while designing web sites. And that is the reason why most image editing applications such as Photoshop or The Gimp come with an option to save an image For The Web.

What this option does is that it removes unnecessary information such as color profiles, comments and whitespace from the image and makes the size of the image smaller so that it loads faster over slow internet connections.

But, you don’t have to buy Photoshop or download The Gimp for just this simple task. ImageOptim can do it for you and that too for free.

ImageOptim is an open source application for OS X that does one thing and does it well. It optimizes and reduces the size of any image file that you pass to it.

It is also probably one of the easiest applications to use and understand, that I’ve ever seen. The whole operation is a simple drag and drop affair. Just drag your image file and drop it on the ImageOptim window and ImageOptim gets to work right away.

ImageOptim overwrites the original file with the new optimised image and while some may think of this as a limitation, I think it is just this simplicity that makes the application such a joy to use.

You can even download and install a Finder service that’ll let you optimize your images with just a right click without even launching ImageOptim.

Do you guys struggle with keeping the size of the images on your websites in control ? Do you use any tools for the purpose ?

Please give ImageOptim a try and let me know how that works out for you.

How To Get Music Off your iPhone

A couple of months back I wrote a post about how the iPod stores music internally and how you could use that knowledge to retrieve music stored on your iPod without using any external tools. This is made possible because of the fact that the iPod identifies itself as a USB connected external disk and let’s a user browse the contents of it’s filesystem using almost any operating system.

An iPhone on the other hand is an even more closed system than the iPod. While Apple atleast has opened the filesystem of an iPod, the iPhone doesn’t even let a user browse it’s filesystem contents. The only way then to manage the music on your iPhone is using a compatible version of iTunes. Right ?

Well, yes and no. While it is true that the only official method to manage music on the iPhone is using iTunes, a lot of enterprising hackers have been able to decrypt the protocol that iTunes uses to communicate with the iPhone and have created standalone utilities that let a user do stuff that Apple never wanted iTunes to do, like copy music off an iPhone.

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Announce your musical tastes on Twitter using Tunes Tweeter

Tunes Tweeter There is no denying the fact that Twitter is an extremely popular web service. In fact, Twitter is more than just a web service, It is a cultural phenomenon which is going to slowly but surely take over our lives. The service is spreading like a wild fire and the user base is growing at a breakneck speed. It is everywhere – Twitter is being discussed in the media, around the blogosphere and everywhere in between.

Most Tweeps (That’s the term used to refer to people who use twitter) use Twitter to share random quotes, funny jokes and useless poetry but some actually have good engaging conversations on it. And that is where the power of Twitter lies. The ability to let normal people have conversations, cutting across all the technical and physical barriers.

If you think about it, Twitter should have been the first application every developed by mankind because it mimics the most primitive and basic nature of humans. Talking. And socialising with like minded folks. That is what Twitter is all about and that is what makes Twitter so powerful and useful.

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Plinky: A Web App To Jumpstart Your Creativity

Plinky is a web application that gives you that spark of inspiration when you need it the most, by prompting you with a question each day. It also makes it easy to share your answers to other social networks or post it directly to your blog.

Every writer has certain exercises for writer’s block. I often find myself powering up the computer, checking my task list in OmniFocus, reading my email and then skimming the headlines for important news in Google Reader.  Twitterrific almost always has something important popping up, so I dedicate about 10 minutes every day looking at today’s tweets. Coffee cup in hand, some free time available and the morning routine completed, it’s time to cross something off the task list.

Screenshot20090829at08.54.521

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Create rounded corners for DIV elements using Javascript

curvyCornersMost websites these days use rounded corners for almost all website elements. Creating rounded corners isn’t easy since it requires creating perfectly aligned images and well, you need to be a photoshop or a GIMP ninja, which I’m definitely not.

So, I went looking for a better solution and found a Javascript which would do the same for me.

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How to install *.rpm files in Ubuntu

UbuntuUbuntu (and all Debian based) distributions use the .deb format for application packages and these days most developers writing applications for Linux provide a .deb package.

But, even then there might be times when you want to install an application which is available only in the .rpm format. If you use Ubuntu or any other Debian distribution, Alien might be able to help you.

Alien is a program that converts between the rpm, dep, stampede slp, and slackware tgz file formats. If you want to use a package from another distribution than the one you have installed on your system, you can use alien to convert it to your preferred package format and install it.

Alien is available in the Ubuntu repository so you can install it by using the following command

$ sudo apt-get install alien

To convert an rpm file to deb, use the following command

$ alien -d -k package.rpm

Where package.rpm is the rpm package that you want to convert. The ‘-k’ option is to tell alien to keep the same version number on the resulting .deb as the rpm file.

Alien can also convert .deb packages to .rpm and the command to do that is

$ alien -r package.deb

Where package.deb is the deb package that you want to convert.

Use freepdfcard to make business cards online

FreePDFCardsFreePDFCards is a nice web application that can help you design your business card online for free. If you’ve been dying to have your very own business card with your own blog’s logo on it, but were afraid of the costs involved, now is the time to give this site a try.

To get started, just type in your contact information, upload your company/blog logo and customize the text size and style. Click Preview and you have your business card ready. Wasn’t that neat ?

Business Card Info

You won’t get any of the cool designs, nice graphics that a professional designer would offer you, but for those looking for a cheap way out, this might just be the solution.

Geeky Ninja Business Card

This is how a business card would look like. Customize the card to your heart’s content and when you’re satisfied take a printout using any printer.

What do you think of FreePDFCards.com ? Let us know in the comments.

Clone an Ubuntu system using Synaptic Markings

synaptic logoHow many times have you had to reinstall the OS on your computer and then had to install all your favorite pieces of software by hand. I’m sure it’s quite painful. And even more so when you forget to install a couple of software and then have to install them in a crunch when you need them the most.

The Synaptic Package Manager bundled with Ubuntu (and available for Debian and most other debian based distributions) has a very cool solution. Synaptic is a graphical package manager for debian based distributions and is the default package manager installed for Ubuntu and is quite popular on that platform.

Synaptic lets the user export (and import) a file which contains details of all the software that is installed on the system.

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Zim – Desktop based wiki for Linux

Zim - Desktop WikiApplications to help you take and organize notes on your computer are available dime-a-dozen. Linux purists will, ofcourse, give their vote to text editors such as Vim or Emacs but there are also applications such as Tomboy and BasKet available for the non-geeky users that make taking and organizing notes on Linux a breeze.

Ofcourse, taking things a bit further, using a wiki as a note taking tool sounds like a great idea and depending on your usage, might even prove to be a better solution than the general purpose note taking applications that we’ve mentioned above.

Zim - Desktop wiki

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