Please complete this sentence: Hi, my name is _________, I’m a ( designer / developer) and I stare into a lightbulb all day.
You with me so far? Staring at a bright white background while you read and work is like staring into a light bulb. It’s only a matter of time until as computer junkies we need thick black-framed glasses. I’d like to tell you about two applications I use to save my sight, and they both work great on Mac OS X.
The first app helps you remember to give your eyes a pause rather than remain fixed on a screen for hours on end. AntiRSI gently reminds you every few minutes to let yours eyes focus on things at different distances around the room. All times are adjustable, so Customize AntiRSI to your workflow: Make micro pauses from 1 to 30 seconds long, and the time between pauses from 1 to 16 minutes; let it remind you to get out of your chair for a few minutes each hour. AntiRSI has a pie-chart icon that updates as it sits in your Dock so you can recognize how long you’ve been working.
The next app is Nocturne, which helps invert screen colors to your liking. As a designer you know that light text on a dark background is not always the best for the masses — but as a developer, you can really appreciate some inverted colors when you’re staring at mountains of code all day. Nocturne sits in your Menu Bar and shows up as a little Sun. Click on the Sun to switch to Night Mode and invert the screen. Choose grayscale, inverted, or change colors to something you find more soothing. Nocturne is great when you’re working in the dark, or simply to avoid some eye strain during the day.
Keyboard Shortcut Tip: If you don’t want to download an application, check out your inverted screen right now by pressing Command-Option-Control-8. Press again to switch back.
As one last tip, simply try turning the brightness down on your monitor. While working with my 24″ iMac, I keep the brightness on the lowest possible setting and it’s still very bright. Do you have any tips that keep you from turning into the Hunchback of Notre Dame after hours on the computer?