Digital health on your desktop

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Life as a developer is not always easy. Admittedly, as a programmer your less likely to suffer consequences of hard daily work, but other problems such as asthenopia can arise. Asthenopia or eye-strain summarises a variety of symptoms like fatigue, pain in or around the eyes, blurred vision, headache, and occasional double vision. But starring at a computer screen for hours can also lead to insomnia as the emitted light let the brain think it is still early and not time to go to sleep yet. Luckily, several developers spotted these problems and created solutions for it. Two of these solutions, I have integrated into my setup and would like to introduce them to you.

Redshift

Redshift is an application that adjusts the computer display’s color temperature based upon the time of day. Over thousands and thousands of years our brain got tuned to the physical daily rythm of changing light properties. This daily rythm is caused by the different wavelength filtered by the atmosphere during the cycle of the day, leading to higher color temperatures during the day then during the night.

Breaktimer

Breaktimer is another very useful application available on linux to prevent eye strain. Likely everybody who worked on one screen for a longer period of time will have experienced symptoms of fatigue, pain in or around the eyes or blurred vision. These symptoms are caused by the eyes fixating to long on a short distance. To do so, the muscles controlling the lense in the eye must be in constant tension, to keep focus on the screen. This behaviour obviously results in fatigue of the muscles after a while, but sometimes it even prevents these muscles from focusing correctly afterwords resulting in blurred vision. To prevent this, it is advised to focus different points in space from time to time, but while being focused on a task, this gets often forgotten.
Therefore, Breaktimer is a useful application reminding one from time to time to focus other points or simply do a break which is also good for your concentration in general.