My one-man coup against excessive photons (or: inverting your screen colours for fun and profit)

Being a Unix admin, I am naturally opposed to the visible region of the almighty electromagnetic spectrum. One place I have always had trouble avoiding this is on my desktop, or on the web. The majority of applications and websites feature dark text on a light background. This results in my retinas being invaded with light which has no other purpose than to contrast the lack of light of the important bits. Even the theme of this blog follows this ubiquitous tone schema.

For these reasons, I run my desktop systems with inverted colour nearly full-time. On the average website, this results in a major drop of the amount of light coming from my screen. The “important bits”, being mostly text, have maintained their contrast and are even more easily distinguishable.

I accomplish this using the Compiz “Invert” plugin. This plugin allows me to invert my whole screen, invert or uninvert a single window, and setup rules on which windows are automatically set to inverted or uninverted. This behaviour can be configured using the Compiz Settings Manager (compizconfig-settings-manager package in Debian/Ubuntu.) Here is what my config looks like for this plugin:

There are two cases where inverted colour doesn’t quite work out: photographs, and terminal emulators. I specified photographs rather than images as a whole on purpose. I actually do want most images to be inverted so that I don’t run into contrast issues with site elements using images. So, at this time, if I need to view a photograph, I’ll briefly (and reluctantly) switch the application to standard colours. My terminal emulator already has a light text on dark background colour scheme, and I’d rather not mess with all of the other ANSI colour settings with an invert.

I encourage you to try this out for a few days and see how you like it. I find myself getting much less eye-strain when viewing the web inverted.

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My one-man coup against excessive photons (or: inverting your screen colours for fun and profit)

One thought on “My one-man coup against excessive photons (or: inverting your screen colours for fun and profit)

  1. john johnson says:

    that seems a bit drastic – i found that for the times of day when there is no natural light flux [http://www.stereopsis.com/flux/] works better. it adjusts the color temperature of the screen according the current time and latitude/longitude.

    there is also redshift [http://jonls.dk/redshift/] which has somewhat better linux integration, but functionally both are equally good.

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