Cool Software To Reduce The Glare Off Of Your Screen (in the evening)

July 5, 2015

I use the word “cool”, which may be out of date terminology in today’s generation; but, this is the only way to describe Sunset Screen… This software (easy to use – portable version available) will help you with reducing eye strain, sleep better, and wind down in the evening before bed.

SunsetScreen is a free app for Windows which helps take the glare off your your screen in the evening. Scientific research has shown that melatonin – the chemical the brain makes late in the day – is reduced when exposed to blue light. By tempering this blue light, it becomes easier to wind down properly at night, and thus have a more restful sleep.

Features include:

  • Set the sunset time precisely.
  • Set the sunrise time too.
  • Choose by colour temperature or by HSB for a precise colour.
  • Transition from one phase to the other gradually.
  • Automatically resides in the tray so it keeps out of your way.
  • Loads automatically at Windows startup if you wish.
  • Instantly turn off SunsetScreen if you need to do colour sensitive work.
  • Choose from a range of presets, and reset to default if things go wonky.
  • Small, fast, elegant and easy to use interface in less than a megabyte.
  • Isn’t patent pending unlike something beginning with ‘F’😉

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Auto Adjust The Brightness Of Your Monitor For The Time Of Day

January 4, 2013

I bet that many of my fellow tech bloggers spend a great deal of time at their PCs’, often working into the late hours researching and writing their next article… I know myself, I fly with the owls and hang with the opossums. A lot of this has to do with the mind of the geek not shutting down; BUT, have you ever thought that your computer monitor may be playing a part in this and is actually keeping you up?

Think about it, most everyone owns the big LCD and LED monitors that are very bright and that brightness stays at the same level both day and night. At night, the level of brightness becomes even more radiant and glowing and can actually impact and stress your eyesight and cause headaches; resulting, in sleeplessness or the delay in falling asleep.

Some studies indicate blue light is beneficial during the day, but late at night it can negatively affect your sleep pattern.

There is a software solution, that I have used for the past three year, called F.lux that I will not live without.

Flux

F.lux is a FREE software application that you install on your PC that makes the color temperature of your computer’s display automatically adjust and adapt to the time of day at your location. There is a feature built into the software that allows you to pinpoint your exact location down to the longitude and latitude. Once the location is entered, F.lux does the rest.

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.

In a sense, as stated on the F.lux web sitewarm at night and like sunlight during the day”. The nice thing about this app is that you can manually adjust the color temperature to tweak it to the level you desire. You can even temporarily disable F.lux or exit F.lux and your color temperature will return to its’ normal settings. The night setting is the setting where you will initially notice that the display gives off a fleshy tone and you may not like it at first; BUT, with continued use it may make a difference in both your vision and health. I can honestly attest, after 3 years of using this app, it is a big help!

Flux

Flux

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Is Your Computer Usage Harming You?

November 28, 2012

My mother always told me that if you consume too much of anything, it is bound to cause you harm. The same goes when we indulge ourselves in too much computer time. We can suffer chronic pain from poor ergonomics, develop mush brain from too much multi-tasking, develop blue light insomnia, get fat from lack of moving around, lose our eyesight, and become addicted to games (and porn). Wow! Nothing here sounds too positive; however, there are things you should do to prevent harming yourself.

Reflected below is a clip from a infographic, titled, “Is Your Computer Killing You?”. Click on the clip to get the full-size version of the infographic to get answers on how you can save yourself from the harmful effects of excessive computer usage.

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iPAD – A Possible Solution For When You Cannot View The Contents Of Your Email

August 7, 2012

Yesterday, was a first with me that taught me that I need to be now thinking outside the box; the Windows OS box that is…  A friend of mine, in his 80’s, asked if I could help him with an email problem he was experiencing on his computer. What I was expecting was a computer sitting on or under his desk or a notebook computer, but what I found was that this well seasoned friend of mine was using an iPad.  I was like, hmm, hmm, and hmm… ; where do you turn this thing on at (just kidding). I actually had an iPad in my hands a few times, so I did at least know where the home button was located.

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The problem he was facing was that the email client suddenly had stopped displaying the contents of any of his emails. The left side of the email client showed the email titles; however, when you finger tapped an actual email, it was no longer showing the content of the email on the right side of the window. After navigating around in the settings and confirming the settings were properly set, etc…, I came to the conclusion that this was a bug in the email app that was causing it to hang and wasn’t releasing itself from memory.

If you remember, several days back I posted the article All It Took Was Unplugging The Computer and Plugging It Back In as a potential fix to many computer problems. With this thinking in mind, I told my friend, “Let’s try this… We will completely shutdown the iPad, count to 10, then restart it”. What I soon learned is that he had never completely shutdown the iPad since he owned it.

Note: Folks, these tablets (iPads, Androids, etc…) are like giant smartphones and if you ever owned a smartphone (or cell phone) you soon learn that you need to completely power down the unit on occasions and reboot it.  What this does is refresh the operating system and releases any memory resident programs or issues that have been cached.

Sure enough, after restarting the iPad and it came back to life, I went back to the email client and voila’ problem solved.  My friend was back in business and could now read his email.

After praising my friend, who is in his 80’s, for knowing more about an iPad than I did, I went home and did some further research on this specific problem and found it is quite a common problem. As a result, to help other iPad owners, here are some of the solutions you can try if you are unable to view the contents of your email:

Solution #1:  Completely power down the iPad.  Hold in on the hold  button (which I called the power button) that is at the top right corner of the iPad. A red slider will appear.  Slide the slider to the right to power the iPad “off”.  Count to 10, then restart the iPad.

Solution #2: You can perform what is similar to ctrl+alt+del on your computer by holding both the sleep and home buttons together (for approximately 10 seconds) until you see the Apple Logo.  Ignore the red slider.  The iPad will reboot.

Solution #3:  Simply double click the home button, press and hold the mail icon and tap when the red dash appears to refresh or (kill) the app.

Again, I am not an iPad expert and these solutions may vary from generation to generation of iPad. Also, for anyone that is into computers and information technology, be aware that you now have the tablets on your plate to deal with.

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Fatburgr Helps Keep Computer Users Healthy

June 7, 2010

Fatburgr We tech bloggers often go on about what you can and cannot do to keep your computer healthy and in good running order. What we forget is that the person sitting behind that computer needs to keep healthy, as well. We often find ourselves grabbing a meal from a local fast food restaurant and eating that meal as we navigate the world wide web.

What would we do if we did not have the fast food restaurants? I can remember growing up and there was not such a place; then one day McDonald’s came to town which was a big event. Today the area which I live is saturated with fast food restaurants. Do I visit them? Well, of course! Are they good for me? Well, of course not!

To help me curb my fast food restaurant addiction, I have come to rely on the web site Fatburgr. Fatburgr is pretty much set up to give you the nutritional value (calories, fat, carbs, and fiber) of those Big Macs, Whoppers, Fries, Chicken Nuggets, etc… You can assess your intake by category or by restaurant. You can also click on the column titles to display the column in ascending or descending order to further assess what is best for you.

Fatburgr

Fatburgr is a really a nice looking site that is easy to follow with a nice collection of (popular) restaurants to pick from. I often visit Fatburgr to look at the calorie intake of a potential meal in the hope that it will serve as a deterrent.  Does it work?  Well, of course not!

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Be More Comfortable and Productive While Using Your Computer

April 19, 2010

Computers are wonderful innovations, but did you know that using the computer improperly can actually cause you injury; that use of a keyboard or mouse has been linked to serious injuries or disorders; and, that improper body positioning while using the computer can lead to musculoskeletal disorders (such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, tenosynovitis, and other conditions). Really, the factors that lead to these injuries boils down to improper personal habits that can easily be prevented by changing and developing proper personal habits.

To help get us on the right track, Microsoft has published and provided for FREE a Healthy Computing Guide that explains how these types of injuries can occur while using the computer, and the solutions to prevent these injuries.  The guide is not lengthy at all and is a benefit to us all. If you are managing a network, this is an excellent “proactive” resource to circulate amongst your users. You can get it [HERE] .

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This guide is designed to help you be more comfortable and productive while using your computer. It may also help you reduce your risk of experiencing painful and disabling injuries or disorders described in the following Health Warning.

Update: The author of 404 Tech Support has provided another great resource on this topic called Comfortable Computing Initiative (Interactive Tools to precisely assist us with creating and planning our workspace).  I also encourage you to checkout this article Ergonomics At the Office.

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Healthcare Insurance Reform – Use Technology to get the FACTS

March 20, 2010

When it comes to the Health Insurance Reform topic I am not going to reflect (in my blog) my opinion, how I feel, etc…  I would become a victim of blog assassination, if I did.  Too much hatred (like road rage) out there for me to do that.

I will tell you this though.  I am an observer of people and have been for years.  Especially, from a behavioral standpoint.  This topic of Healthcare Reform is a major change that will or could have an impact for us all.  Again, I’m not revealing my feelings on this, either way…  From the behavioral standpoint, at least in my region, I see people talking and talking and talking; but not saying anything.  Why?  Because they have no idea what they are talking about.  It is the same folks who are still looking for those weapons of mass destruction.

image

One of my favorite sayings is, “believe nothing and verify everything”.  In this specific case of Health Insurance Reform, “verify everything”.  DO NOT rely on the propaganda of the media to “dumb you down”. The media is a business (of greed & sensationalization), fed by political influences, that relies on stirring up the population to the point of hatred (toward each other) and division (even within our Congress). Our leaders are even afraid to make decisions, because it is “all about me” and “not us” (as a unified country). DO NOT rely on the information that is circulating via the email circuits.  If you are, then you are really being taken for a ride.

So before you start talking, pointing fingers, and ready to beat your neighbor up, GET THE FACTS and become an expert of the information; however use good resources.  A good starting point for this is the White House [ HERE ] AND [ HERE ] .  Again, and I know I may get comments telling me to not trust the White House; BUT, please do not be one of these people that tell me to hate my President, but love thy neighbor. The information I am presenting to you is your starting point to GET THE FACTS, then start digging and just maybe when the talking starts you can GIVE THE FACTS, can realistically debate your concerns; AND, in the end, love your neighbor.

Note: I encourage you to comment and I also encourage you to read the comments that have been posted [ HERE ].

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Get answers to real questions with wiseGEEK…

September 21, 2009

The internet has become an infinite source of information that we have come to rely on for just about everything; however, it is important to verify the information for validity and accuracy.  Often we start our research for information from simply asking ourselves a question. The question in many cases can be relatively simple but finding the answer can be difficult because the answers are distributed across multiple web sites. This is where wiseGEEK steps in…

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wiseGEEK digests and simplifies disparate information into concise answers. The site is a compilation of nearly 50,000 articles, under 22 categories, with answers to common questions that is researched by over 100 qualified contributors.  wiseGEEK makes every attempt to keep the articles error free and accepts comments from readers to challenge the validity of the information.

…occasionally an error sneaks into one of our articles. That is where our wiseGEEK readers come in. In the “wiseGEEK features” menu available on every article page, there is an option to “comment on this article.” Every comment is researched and implemented where appropriate. Our qualified writers along with the army of readers ensures that our information is as accurate as possible.

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Personally, I enjoy visiting wiseGEEK, on a regular basis, to learn about answers to common questions and to build my trivia knowledgebase;  AND to give myself ideas for blog articles. Make sure you check out the category on “Internet and Computers”…

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Get better lighting for your computer…

May 22, 2009

I bet that many of my fellow tech bloggers spend a great deal of time at their PCs’, often working into the late hours researching for and writing  their next article… I know for myself I fly with the owls (as TechPaul at Tech-for Everyone states it). A lot of this has to do with the mind of the geek not shutting down; BUT, have you ever thought that your computer monitor may be playing a part in this and is actually keeping you up. Think about it, most everyone owns the big LCD monitors that are very bright and that brightness stays at the same level both day and night. At night, the level of brightness becomes even more radiant and glowing and can actually impact and stress your eyesight and cause headaches.

Some studies indicate blue light is beneficial during the day, but late at night it can negatively affect your sleep pattern.

Flux

There is a potential software solution, that I am trying, called F.lux. F.lux is a FREE software application that you install on your PC that makes the color temperature of your computer’s display automatically adjust and adapt to the time of day at your location. There is a feature built into the software that allows you to pinpoint your exact location down to the longitude and latitude. Once the location is entered, F.lux does the rest. In a sense, as stated on the F.lux web site “warm at night and like sunlight during the day”. The nice thing about this app is that you can manually adjust the color temperature to tweak it to the level you desire. You can even temporarily disable F.lux or exit F.lux and your color temperature will return to its’ normal settings. The night setting is the setting where you will initially notice that the display gives off a fleshy tone and you may not like it at first; BUT, with continued use it may make a difference in both your vision and health. I plan to give this app a try to see what differences, if any, it will make.

Flux

Flux

F.lux is available for XP/Vista and Mac OS X.
You can read more about F.lux and download it [ HERE ] .

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Tracking Outbreaks of the Swine Flu with Mapping Technology

April 27, 2009

Who would have ever thought the day would arrive where we could track outbreaks of disease or sickness and make that information visually and publicly available using mapping technology? This past week the Swine Flu has been the topic that has everyone concerned.

From December 2005 through February 2009, a total of 12 human infections with swine influenza were reported from 10 states in the United States. Since March 2009, a number of confirmed human cases of a new strain of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection in the U.S. and internationally have been identified. An investigation into these cases is ongoing. For more information see Human Swine Flu Investigation.
[ Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention ]

I found several tracking sources, that use mapping technology, but the one that I consider the most credible is the:

“HealthMap – Global Disease Alert Map”

HealthMap

About HealthMap

HealthMap brings together disparate data sources to achieve a unified and comprehensive view of the current global state of infectious diseases and their effect on human and animal health. This freely available Web site integrates outbreak data of varying reliability, ranging from news sources (such as Google News) to curated personal accounts (such as ProMED) to validated official alerts (such as World Health Organization). Through an automated text processing system, the data is aggregated by disease and displayed by location for user-friendly access to the original alert. HealthMap provides a jumping-off point for real-time information on emerging infectious diseases and has particular interest for public health officials and international travelers.

HealthMap

A second source, is a Google map posted by a Google user, who is identified as a person of biomedical research [ CLICK HERE ]. The map depicts locations where the H1N1 Swine flu is suspect, confirmed or where death has occurred.

Swine Flu - Google Maps

Questions about the Swine Flu?
Check out “Health Blog Q&A: Swine Flu in the U.S. and Mexico”
[ Wall Street Journal ]

Addendum (April 28, 2009): The Wall Street Journal has posted a “Swine Flu Case Map” [ Click Here ] that depicts cases of the Swine Flu according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization and government officials.

Swine Flu Case Map

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Exercise routine for computer geeks…

March 17, 2009

If you spend a great deal of time at the computer, I do not have to tell you the shape for which your body will eventually mold into…

LifeHackerLike all geeks, we look for the quick fix, the reboot, the format, the hack…  Today on LifeHacker I ventured across this (5 minute) exercise routine (called a “burpee”) that reportedly a prison inmate performed on a daily basis, in confined quarters, to remain in shape.  Not to take anything from the LifeHacker story, I encourage that you visit LifeHacker [ CLICK HERE ] to preview a video they have posted where Mike Rowe, from the Discovery Channel, demonstrates how to do the “burpee” routine.

Now my disclaimer, so that I do not kill off any Geeks out there; “always consult with your physician prior to performing any exercise routines; especially burpees!”

The Five-Minute Prison Workout Keeps You Fit in Any Space [ via LifeHacker ]


Mike Rowe from Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs demonstrates how to get a great workout in any space by performing several sets of descending repetitions of the classic “burpee.”


The burpee is by no means a new exercise routine, but if you’re looking for a little variety in your fitness routine or you don’t have space for a treadmill or other exercise equipment, burpees are a great option for staying fit. [via Kyle Pott]

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Get your FREE eBooks at BookFundas.com

February 11, 2009

BookFundas.com is a FREE eBooks website with a comprehensive collection of popular ebooks written by famous authors from the world’s leading publishers. Most of the books I reviewed were in the Adobe PDF format. I found a very good selection of computer and technical books at this site, as well as, publications on subjects ranging from accounting to weightlifting. It appears that titles are added to the site on a regular consistent basis.  BookFundas.com will be added to the “Freebies” section of this blog for future reference. You can click on any of the categories listed below and you will be redirected to the BookFundas.com web site.

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