iPad Mini vs. Kindle Fire HD

I noticed that Amazon.com is taking advantage of a direct product comparison with the iPad Mini. Smart move on their part and good advertising tactic. Go for that swing group!

Amazon Kindle Fire HD - Much More for Much Less

Apparently it’s not iPad Mini vs. Android tablet, but iPad Mini vs. Kindle Fire HD.

Amazon highlights the key characteristics that standout against the iPad Mini: price and pixel density. It even went as far as to be redundant just to drive the point home. Notice the first two points are basically a restatement of pixel density (verbal vs. numerical) and are very similar in argumentative premise. The Kindle Fire also boasts wifi that is 41% faster than the new iPad (purportedly). The quote by Gizmodo adds a nice touch of ethos, though I’m not sure how much validity it really adds.

I stumbled upon an article comparing the new iPad Mini to the Kindle Fire HD. It had some good points. But some of the arguments were bolazo (that’s Uruguayan for nonsensical).

I like Apple products a lot. In general, I think they are well designed. I’ve had a better experience with my MacBook than any other previously owned laptop. Granted your newest product is going to be a better experience than the last (hopefully); however, there are things I just love about my MacBook that I didn’t get with my PCs. I’ve mentioned a lot of them before (trackpad, gestures, Preview, among other things). Of course this is just my preference. Some people hate gestures. I could throw money at them and they would want nothing to do with it, let alone a MacBook.

Back to my point. There are some arguments in the article that are flat out terrible. For example, the author suggests that “[Apple] has gotten away with selling what are essentially commodity products at an extremely high premiums by establishing a strong brand that has embedded in the general population the image of superiority.” The kind of technology Apple sells is not a commodity. This guy is writing like a first-world-ian. The only way in which Apple products are like commodities is that when the price goes up, fanboys and fangirls still buy them. Other than that iPods, iPads, iPhones, MacBooks, etc. are not commodities. Tablets and smart phones in general are not commodities. Ridiculous. On the flip side, Apple has managed to “get away with”, or better said, successfully been able to sell their products at high prices because of the loyal consumer base they have grown as a result of branding, marketing, design and a host of other strategies.

Later the author makes this statement: “In short, while the Apple software ecosystem is closed and very rich today, Android will reach parity and even surpass the richness of the iOS world going forward, eliminating the software ecosystem advantage that Apple can use to justify its higher prices for inferior hardware.” Wow! Google, you should really pay this guy more. …

This is taking me back to my previous rant on journalism a little bit. At this point the author’s persuasive pitch left me unconvinced and I stopped reading. And it’s not because he claims “Android will reach parity and even surpass” iOS. That may very well happen. May the best product “win.” But inferior hardware? Talk about a sweeping generalization of Apple products.

The iPad Mini may not meet the mark of the Kindle Fire HD in pixel density and screen resolution, and I personally think it would have been better to include the Retina display, but to label the rest of the Apple suite as inferior is absurd. Apple is paving the way for higher screen resolution, something that I know has pushed a number of people into the Apple product sphere. Are their products perfect? Obviously not. I think many of us, myself included, have questioned and wondered about some of their strategic decisions. Perhaps I’m focusing on the minor details of his article too much, but he really could have done better in crafting his argument.

I guess my main point is some times I’m a bit struck at the persuasive arguments people conjure up, and yet they fail or choose not to look at the bigger picture. That’s the ugly side of the Internet. We have this glorious tool where people can express themselves. Yet some people, often people who hit the front page of the Internet (Google Search, page 1, in all it’s query-able varieties) just can’t write a well-rounded argument. I suppose they don’t have to and they won’t, especially if they have an agenda (i.e. drive traffic to their site, etc.). What also bugs me is the thought of people accepting their words at face value.

This goes beyond this one insignificant post. It stretches out to articles and media productions on politics, religion, finance, and just about everything else. I hope that people research and investigate for themselves, that they read other articles from different sources, that they work the numbers and check the stats. I think part of the reason I’ve been thinking about this is because I know I’ve fallen into these traps before and I’m sure I write articles that miss important points. Furthermore, a lot of people never care to check the facts and they begin to form solid opinions on topics they know little of other than the fodder that one Internet farmer has fed them.

It’s the same with news on the TV. I can’t stand watching news on TV because of all the political bias and other garbage. And yet I know people who watch the same news station night after night (mostly people from an older generation). Diversification isn’t only an investment principle. I believe it’s enables us to seeing the bigger picture and to develop a more sound understanding of the world around us.

End rant. All in all, I both liked and disliked the way Amazon called out Apple on their front page. It was bold and daring. In a sense, it showed consumers “the truth” about the iPad Mini versus the Kindle Fire HD, albiet biased advertising.

At the same time, I thought the front page comparison was petty. It sorta reminded me of laundry detergent ads, even though in this case it’s more factual. It also reminded me of the Samsung ads. “The next big thing is already here.” This kind of advertising is amusing and can be effective (especially when focusing on the swing group), but there is a higher plane of advertising.

When you have to stoop down to try and show consumers you are better than the competitor by comparing yourself to the competitor’s product, you know you aren’t reaching for that higher plane. Your product should sell itself by showing consumers how it delivers what is most valued and how it fits who they are.

Typical Journalism & Consumerism

Typical Journalism

It doesn’t take much to be a typical journalist. Beyond the basics of good grammar and vocabulary, it seems like all you have to do is pick a topic readers want to read about and then come up with a persuasive argument. So many people are easily swayed because they are looking for validation of their own opinions. It’s not hard to persuade these kinds of people, especially when it comes to dichotomous views. So it is with bi-partsan politics.

So it is with the new Apple iPhone or the new Samsung/HTC Android phone. I found a lot of the tech news surrounding the release of the iPhone 5 intriguing. So many haters. So many people saying they are let down. “It’s basically the same phone.” “Apple is copying Samsung.” I must admit, I too found myself caught in the wave of disappointment at first, mostly due to the early leaks. When you’ve already seen the leaked videos on YouTube and then you watch the actual release, you feel like the birthday guy/gal showing up to the surprise party you already knew about. Nobody likes that. Everybody feels let down.

It’s tough to put a cap on all that when there’s so much hype about your product. IMO, few other companies have been able to pull-off what Apple has done in the past, building up significant hype about their product. Notably, this can be good or bad, depending on how people take it. In the past, it seems like it’s been mostly good. This time around, not so much maybe.

One reason why there’s so much hype is because Apple has such a cult-like following in addition to the cult-like opposition which only adds to the attention. These audiences have only become more polarized over the years. This may be my biased point of view, but I haven’t been as impressed with other companies’ product releases (e.g. Microsoft Surface). Honestly, I’m stoked to see the Surface in the hands of consumers. As an aside, I think the new Windows Phone is pretty sweet. Hopefully they can gain some traction in the marketplace and bring developers on board. To me, that means Microsoft made a worthwhile product. More power to them.

Typical Consumerism

Your average consumer is great at what they do: consume. Consumers demand the best. They demand a consistent return or better. If you deliver amazing results once, you better deliver even better the next time.

Consumers are also superficial. They don’t think about what goes into product. They only care about what the product does and what it looks like. Most consumers don’t even understand half of the technical mumbo jumbo, they just want to see bigger numbers (3.5″ –> 4.0″ or A5 –> A6 or 4 –> 5 and don’t you dare think about adding an “S” to the end of my product because that means it’s just an upgrade and it should have been there in the first place!!!). Most consumers can’t even fathom what goes into the development of a product. I’m pretty confident the designers at Apple put a lot of thought into the changes they made. It’s like doubling your processing capabilities and making the screen bigger isn’t enough anymore.

Maybe we should demand more of Apple. Maybe they can do better. Sometimes I wish they would change more myself. Everybody loves a cool, new look. But I’m not sure how realistic that is. Sounds more like being a typical consumer.

Some times I wish they would change iOS up a bit and (going back to the old PC argument) make it a bit more customizable. I feel a bit overloaded by icons and the screens. I don’t like the groups much some times either. Regardless, I don’t see Android as a way better alternative. Windows Phone just seems fresh, different, and newer; not better necessarily. There are plenty of other things I like about the iPhone anyway.

Conclusion

I think Apple could have stepped up their game in some aspects. Why didn’t they have turn-by-turn navigation 1-2 years ago? I don’t know. I’ll tell you how much I’ve missed it once I have it. Otherwise, I’m over it. Whenever I’m with people that have it, I find it annoying and obnoxious. Maybe I’ll change my mind. Why is Apple finally going bigger on the screen? There’s many answers for that depending on who you ask. Is Apple boring? Is Apple a copy cat? There’s lots of answers to those kinds of questions too. Dan Lyon says Apple Has Become BoringJohn Gruber says Apple Is Still Exciting. MG Siegler says it’s all in the Turn. You can also look at the lawsuit results or who had the bigger screen first. There’s an answer from both sides. It’s all subjective.

Overall, I’m sure the iPhone 5 will be another great success, just like the iPhone 4, which continued to sell like hot cakes despite the antenna issues. Is it better than the latest Android phone (or the new Windows Phone for that matter)? Meh, that’s subjective. Are its tech specs comparable? Yes. Am I going to buy a new iPhone 5? Probably. I’ll probably sell my iPhone 4 for $300 and get the iPhone 5 for $300. I’ll break even and get a sweet new phone? Why not!? I got nothing against Android. I’ve never owned one. You like Android? You think it’s better? So buy one. You like PCs? So buy one. I’m more of a fence sitter when it comes to technology. I mostly fall on whichever side I like and stick there until I find really compelling reasons to switch. I venture out and try out the new stuff, but if it’s not blowing my socks off, I see no need to switch right away.

One of the most amusing conversations I had surrounding the iPhone 5 went something like this:

Dude: So what do you think of the new iPhone 5?
Me: I don’t know. It seems pretty cool. I’ll probably get one.
*Momentary Silence*
Dude: You should just get an Android phone.

It was as if the disappointment surrounding the new iPhone 5 was so universal that it clearly meant it was an inferior phone, that it was a no-brainer to NOT buy one, and he was expecting me to say that I wasn’t impressed and that I wasn’t going to get one. Well truth is, I wasn’t jumping up and down when I first saw it, but that’s because I was sucked into the perspective of a typical consumer…and I wasn’t surprised. Happens.

It’s like people are looking for validation that their phone (or some other device, methodology, practice, sports team, or whatever) is better so they tell you to make the switch, or they tell you all the reasons why your _________ is terrible and theirs is better. Takes me back to the put-downs that are so profuse in grade school. Classic way to make yourself feel better. It’s a good tactic really. For those who need that kind of self-reassurance. Check yourself. I know I’ve been guilty.

Fact is haters gonna hate. Typical journalism. Typical consumerism.

Data Mining Wrap-up: Cheap Airline Tickets

I never got around to summarizing the results of my data mining team’s research project. For those of you who never read the original post (it was one of my first), you might want to read about it first.

Discussion

As we dug into our project more, we decided that we really wanted to answer three main questions:

  1. What is the best day to purchase airline tickets?
  2. How far in advance should we purchase tickets?
  3. Are we getting the best price?

We continued using the Ruby Selenium driver for web scraping. We came up with a couple different ways to avoid getting blocked by Kayak.com, but none of our techniques worked flawlessly. It was sort of hit-and-miss oddly enough. Every now and again one of our IP’s would get blocked so we’d have to come up with an alternative.

We ended up scraping roughly 500,000 rows of data. We used a couple different randomized subsets of around 10,000 to 50,000 rows to make data processing faster.

From the CSVs we downloaded, we whittled down the number of input variables for our data mining algorithms. These are the ones we ended up using:

NAME TYPE DESCRIPTION
Airline Text Example: ‘AA’ is American Airlines
Arrive Text Arrival city as a three letter code
Arrive Time Integer Flight arrival time in military hours
Class Text Class of flight (e.g. business, coach, premium, mixed & first)
Departure Day Text Day of the week a flight departs
Difference Integer Number of days between downloading the information and the departure date
Download Day Text Day of the week flight data was downloaded
Duration Integer Number of minutes in flight
Price Integer Total cost for flight
Stops Total number of stops or layovers for a flight

Our outcome variable was Price, since we were trying to predict the price relative to the other input variables and how they affect price.

As far as algorithms, we settles on Artificial Neural Networks (ANN), K Nearest Neighbor (KNN) and Linear Regression.

Results

What is the best day to purchase airline tickets? In answering our first question, we discovered that Tuesday was the best day to buy tickets, followed by Wednesday and Thursday. Sunday is the worst day to buy tickets, followed by Saturday, Friday and Monday. The caveat is that this is not true for every airline. This is the general conclusion we drew from our data.

Best Day To Buy Airline Tickets

How far in advance should you purchase tickets? Our data seemed to indicate that 60 days before your flight is the best time to buy tickets. When you start getting closer to the date of your flight, prices go up. When you buy your tickets earlier, prices tend to go up. Once again, this is not true for all airlines.

When to Buy Airline Tickets

Are you getting the best price? As far our research, this was too hard to determine. We had too many variables and it was outside of the scope for our short research project.

Recommendations

If you wanted to do something similar to this (for school, for research or for fun), I would recommend you use less data in your research. This might sound obvious and it probably is to some, but it wasn’t to us at the time. We had all the data we needed; however, we included far too many variables in our algorithms to really find them useful or draw correlations. Many variables = obfuscated results.

Isolate the variables by using fewer variables. Focus on one airline. Focus on one airport. We wanted to know about multiple airlines and airports, but to get better results we should have studied them separately.

We also considered adding a “Buy/Buy Not” categorical variable so that we could run other algorithms that would determine whether to buy a ticket or not. This was out of scope and would have taken significant extra effort.

Lastly, we thought it would be worthwhile to collect data over a longer period of time (at least a year if not more) to detect seasonal and cyclical trends in ticket prices.

For Your Perusal

You can download the slides for our presentation; however, they offer limited description since they are strictly presentation slides (virtually no text). There are a couple images of some of the graphs that were produced. I’ve extracted most of the useful images and data.

I also managed to find a version of our web scraping script, which you can download and modify to your liking as well.

Summer Internship Highlights

This summer I interned with Pariveda Solutions in their Seattle, WA office. In Seattle, the interns in my group put together a push notification framework slash solution accelerator of sorts. The idea was to create a kind of repository of starter projects that allows developers to easily create mobile apps that implement push notification functionality. Our solution accelerator consists of starter projects for five different mobile platforms including native iOS, native Android, PhoneGap, Rhodes and Unity. These starter projects already include the functionality for push notifications, in addition to a test harness app to demo the functionality (a simple chat application).

The solution accelerator also includes an application server from which to send the push notifications. This portion was coded using .Net and was hosted on a Microsoft Azure instance for demo-ing purposes. At first, we started building a custom Node.js server to handle the push notifications and forward them to the appropriate push notification servers (i.e. GCM or APNS); however, we were asked to explore third party alternatives, such as Urban Airship and PushWoosh.

I personally worked with the PhoneGap and Node.js portions. It was the first time I had really delved into JavaScript so that was exciting, and mind blowing (read loopback functions galore).

For the last 3 weeks of the internship, I worked out of Pariveda’s DC office on a client project. We started coding a middleware service in .Net that is designed to synchronize contacts, calendars, tasks and notes with a custom Java CRM. The service employed streaming notification subscriptions so that changes are accounted for the instant they occur. We also designed a queue to ensure that in the event of power loss, all the changes/updates would persist until they had been updated in the opposite system.

As for personal projects, I jumped into Obj-C and iOS. I started building a couple different apps for iPhone, most of them simple and one a bit more complex.

In addition to the internship and side projects, my wife and I did some road tripping up the Pacific Coast Highway from San Diego to Seattle. We also managed to make it to Vancouver, Canada while in Seattle. We spent the day biking around the city and through Stanley Park. While in DC we did something similar. We took the 3:00am bus to New York City, rented bikes, toured the city and then took the 10:30pm bus back to DC the same day. Needless to say, it was a long, awesome adventure.

On our way back to Provo, Utah after the internship, we drove down to Bend, OR and then east through Idaho making various stops along the way to visit friends and family. I’m still trying to come up with an effective and efficient way for posting photos of our trip on my blog or alternatively through a third-party service. Recommendations welcome. :)

As an ending note, I plan on posting a more tech-centric entry regarding what I’ve learned this summer from my internship and personal projects. It’s already in the works.

A Tribute to Ansel Adams

Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, 1932

Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, 1932

During my first few days here in Bellevue, I went to the library with Susie. I wasn’t quite sure what to get, but then I found myself perusing the photography section. Before I knew it, I was caught up in some Ansel Adams books. Since we had just finished our road-trip up the coast, of which we spent a few days in Yosemite, I still had the Ansel Adams gallery on my mind I suppose.

As I began looking through books about his work, I found one entitled Ansel Adams: Letters and Images 1916-1984 (a New York Graphic Society Book). I started reading a letter Ansel Adams wrote on the first page I flipped too. It immediately sucked me in. It reads as follows:

Yosemite National Park
June 10, 1937 

Dear Cedric,

A strange thing happened to me today. I saw a big thundercloud move down over Half Dome, and it was so big and clear and brilliant that it made me see many things that were drifting around inside of me; things that related to those who are loved and those who are real friends.

For the first time I know what love is; what friends are; and what are should be.

Love is seeking for a way of life; the way that cannot be followed alone; the resonance of all spiritual and physical things. children are not only of flesh and blood–children may be ideas, thoughts, emotions. The person of the one who is loved is a form composed of a myriad mirrors reflecting and illuminating the powers and the thoughts and the emotions that are within you, and flashing another kind of light from within. No words or deeds may encompass it.

Friendship is another form of love–more passive perhaps, but full of transmitting and acceptances of things like thunderclouds and grass and the clean reality of granite.

Art is both love and friendship, and understanding; the desire to give. It is not charity, which is the giving of Things, it is more than kindness which is the giving of self. It is both the taking and giving of beauty, the turning out to the light the inner folds of awareness of the spirit. It is the recreation on another plane of the realities of the world; the tragic and wonderful realities of earth and meen, and of all the inter-relations of these.

I wish the thundercloud had moved up over Tahoe and let loose on you; I could wish you nothing finer.

Ansel

Cedric Wright was a photographer and violinist. He was also a very close friend to Ansel.

I’ve been meaning to blog about the letter and the book since I stumbled on them. Now that the book is finally due to be returned, I’ve gotten to blogging about it.

As I read more of Ansel’s letters I began to realize how poetic he was. The letters to his wife before and after marriage were deeply romantic. He wrote many letters to friends, family and mentors. It became clear to me why he was such a great photographer: He had perspective, love, passion, an eye for beauty. He was meditative, patient, a true mountaineer, friend and lover in all regards.

While I don’t think the words of Ansel’s letter (and letters) are the greatest ever written, they are very insightful and have helped me gain greater appreciation for who Ansel Adams was, as more than just a photographer.

Monolith, The Face of Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, April 17, 1927

Monolith, The Face of Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, April 17, 1927

UPDATE: You might be wondering why I selected these two images of his many great works. The first was the image that followed the letter I cited in the book. It seems to represent what Adams saw when he talked about the thundercloud moving over Half Dome.

The second picture was one that he took from the “diving board” I believe he called it, which is a point on the mountain just below half dome that over looks the river and Mirror Lake (I think?) below. In one of his romantic, poetic letters to Virginia (Adams’ wife), Adams mentioned how he longed to bask in the sun with her at the diving board. It was a place of some significance to both of them. Later he captured the image referenced and it has since become quite famous. At first the image seemed insignificant to me, but given the story behind the place it was captured and its significance to Adams and his wife, it is has since become a favorite of mine.

I often look at photographs that seem so simple and wonder “why this picture?” I’ve found with Adams, there is often a beautiful story that answers that question.

Benford’s Law

In the first year of the Information Systems program at in the Marriott School of Management (BYU), students work on a programming project in the Enterprise Programming class titled “Benford’s Law.” It’s a really practical application of Benford’s Law and specific programming concepts all wrapped into one project.

For those of you unfamiliar with Benford’s Law, the basic premise is this: the first digit in a list or dataset of numbers has a specific probability of occurring depending on what that digit is (1-9…since 0 adds no value as a leading digit). This leading digit probability follows a logarithmic distribution. Thus, the number 1 has about a 30% chance of being the leading digit, the number 2 approximately 17.6%, the number 3 roughly 12.5%, and so on. This doesn’t seem to make sense initially since you’d think any given number would have an 11% chance of being the leading digit. However, history has proven otherwise.

Benford’s Law Logarithmic Distribution


I ran across a sweet website in my Internet travels: Testing Benford’s Law. It takes a couple real world examples of numbers from datasets and applies Benford’s Law. Some examples include Stackoverflow user reputation, most common iPhone passcodes and file sizes in the Linux 2.6.39.2 source tree. Other articles across the web give more examples: Volcanic eruptions follow Benford’s Law & Fraudsters obey Benford’s Law.

Another example worth checking out is an application called Picalo (GNU). Picalo is an application designed for fraud detection developed in Python by Dr. Albrecht, a professor of the Marriott School of Management and the professor that assigns the Benford’s Law project. Dr. Albrecht has included a module for Picalo that specifically uses Benford’s Law to analyze data and aid in fraud detection. You can read more about Picalo and check out the picalo.Benfords module.

You can read a more detailed description of Benford’s Law on Wikipedia.

Can’t Sleep? Blame Your LED Backlit Screen

Blue Lightwaves Disrupt Sleep But Improve CognitionA lot of studies have explored the potential negative effects of light pollution and overexposure to light. Some studies suggest excess exposure is related to insomnia (this might come as a shock…not) and diseases like Alzheimer’s or Breast Cancer. With regard to light wavelengths, the blue wavelength is one of particular interest, especially for those of us who use mobile electronics on a daily basis.

Melatonin & Blue Light

The New York Times published an article that quotes researchers who discuss some of the effects blue light has on our eyes and the chemical imbalance of melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that responds directly to any kind of light. As night approaches and the amount of light decreases, the body releases melatonin, which “promotes sleep and alerts a variety of biological processes to the approximate hour of the day.” However, when light strikes the retina, or back of the eye, melatonin is suppressed.

…there lies the rub. In this modern world, our eyes are flooded with light well after dusk, contrary to our evolutionary programming. Scientists are just beginning to understand the potential health consequences. The disruption of circadian cycles may not just be shortchanging our sleep, they have found, but also contributing to a host of diseases.

Scientists like George Brainard, a neurologist at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, have observed that blue light is especially effective at suppressing melatonin. Why is this relevant? Many backlit electronic screens implement LED technology that uses blue wavelength emitting diodes.

The Experiments

A group of researchers at the University of Basel in Switzerland conducted a study using 13 men that were asked to sit in front of different types of computer screens before retiring to bed. During one week, they spent five hours in front a fluorescent, red-based screen that emitted little blue light. During another week, they spent five hours in front of a LED, blue-based screen that emitted twice as much blue light. Notice the first screen emitted barely any blue, so twice as much blue light is significantly more, but it doesn’t mean the screen was screaming blue. This is significant to me because it seems to indicate that the study was more realistic and not taken out of context from the kinds screens people actually look at. So what were the results?

Melatonin levels in volunteers watching the LED screens took longer to rise at night, compared with when the participants were watching the fluorescent screens, and the deficit persisted throughout the evening.

And this is the most intriguing part:

The subjects also scored higher on tests of memory and cognition after exposure to blue light, Dr. Cajochen and his team reported in the May issue of The Journal of Applied Physiology. While men were able to recall pairs of words flashed across the fluorescent screen about half the time, some scores rose to almost 70 percent when they stared at the LED monitors.

My first impression after reading that was that I’ll continue to study for tests using my computer. Maybe that explains higher tests scores when I do use my computer? I haven’t looked into it but it’s an interesting thought.

Takeaways

Again, why is this relevant? Because we are readily replacing old red light technology like incandescent bulbs with new energy-efficient blue light technology like LEDs. Most of our new electronic screens use LED technology (TVs, laptops, flat screen monitors, mobile phones, etc.).

Research isn’t absolutely conclusive since this is a relatively immature field of study, but the findings are starting to lead scientists to more concrete conclusions. Health agencies are starting to make statements. The World Health Organization concluded that irregularities in biological clock patterns “can alter sleep-activity patterns, suppress melatonin production and disregulate genes involved in tumor development.” The Journal of the American Medical Directors Association made conclusions regarding the boost in cognitive processes made by subjects exposed to blue light as opposed to red light.

Technological Solutions

If you’re a little paranoid about your health, or maybe you want to ensure you’re sleeping your best, there are some technological solutions. f.lux (Mac, iPhone/iPad, Windows & Linux) is a free program that automatically adjusts the amount of blue light emitted by your screen depending on the time of day. So in the evening the screen changes to redder tones. During morning hours, screen color is designed to emulate natural sunlight. Don’t worry, your whole screen won’t turn red; you’ll just notice a it feels a bit warmer with regard to color temperature. You can also customize it for the best experience by adjusting how fast it transitions, how much the color changes and what kind of lighting you are surrounded with.

I suggest you give f.lux a try as today’s mini-app of the day. I’ve found it rests my eyes a bit more in the evening if nothing else.

Another Mac only alternative is a prefpane app called Shades.

f.lux Screenshot

Examples of Other Light Related Studies

If you’re interested in learning a bit more you can check out the articles listed on Stereopsis’s research link (the group that developed f.lux) or read some of the studies listed below.