THE RIGHT LIGHT FOR NIGHT

White light versus orange light

The latest version of Windows 10 has a “Night Light” feature. It allows you to adjust the screen color from the regular bright white on a sliding scale from a light tan to orange. It’s free and you can get it if you search for “Windows 10 Creators Update.”

Heaven only knows we need it. At least Bob needs it. He uses a tiny program called “Pango Bright,” from Pangolin Laser Systems that allows the user to scale down the screen brightness from 100 percent to 20 percent. Dealing with the fully bright screen is especially annoying at night or in darkened rooms. We owe this to Steve Jobs, who was the first to give us the bright white screen with his new Macintosh. He argued that it was just like typing on a sheet of white paper. Of course, paper doesn’t shine into your eyes, but he probably didn’t write much anyway.

Medical researchers know that the electric light we normally use at night has more blue than orange tones and this suppresses melatonin production. A melatonin deficiency upsets your circadian rhythms, disrupting the sleep-wake cycle. This has been well known since World War II, when the RAF in Britain took to using red light bulbs for pilots’ quarters at night in case they were called out for an emergency; the eyes adjusted more easily to the dark and to reading instrument lights.

If you try the Windows 10 Creators Update and find it buggy, which it has been for some users, you can roll it back. Go to “start,” click “settings,” and then “update & security.” There’s a “recovery” option there.

Stuffed Androids

Right after writing about stuffed iPads, we heard from readers with stuffed Androids. What to do when your storage is full?

“My 15 gigs of internal memory is close to max, but I can’t figure out why,” a reader wrote. We don’t know why either but the answer is usually too many photos. Fortunately, she has a Samsung Galaxy phone that can take an external SD card. Our Google Nexus 6P has no such thing. You can look up “phones with expandable memory” to see the list.

The “SD” designation stands for “Secure Digital,” so called because it is non-volatile, meaning it won’t fade away and is not likely to be disrupted by stray currents and magnetic fields. They come in all sizes and one for 16 gigabytes — which would double her phone’s storage capacity — is only $10. For $30 you can get a tiny plug-in card that holds 64 gigabytes. Bob remembers when SanDisk’s first one gigabyte card sold for $1,000.

We also like the free app “Astro File Manager.” Get it from the Google Play Store. From it, we learned that even apps we’d uninstalled left bits of programming behind, sort of the flotsam and jetsam of the digital seas. Having uninstalled “WebMD,” for example, we had only to press on its folder for several seconds to see a trashcan appear. Tapping the trashcan got rid of the folder. We also found trash left behind by “30 Day Fit,” Epson printers and “What’s App,” three apps we had already uninstalled.

Internuts

  • USAfacts.org was developed by former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to figure out how the U.S. government spends taxpayer money, around $5.4 trillion in 2014. It has facts like the number of arrests per year (11.3 million) and number of children in foster care (427,910).
  • You can also get this kind of information from a publication called “The Statistical Abstract of the United States,” published every year since 1878 by the U.S. Census Bureau (Census.gov.). It is free, extremely comprehensive and fascinating to read. Covers everything: population divisions, elections, divorce rates, police and fire departments, even nutrition.
  • By Colin Woodward and Brian Stauffer

    11 Separate Nations.” Google those words (or click here) to find a redrawn map of the U.S. based on a book by Colin Woodard. He says two regions: “Yankeedom” and the “Deep South” have the most influence over America.

  • “UDF Skywalker.” Search on that phrase to find a moveable magnifier showing you what the Hubble Space Telescope sees at its farthest reach. It’s the deepest view ever into the sky and we still find new galaxies. There are more galaxies than there are stars in our own “Milky Way,” which has a little more than 100 billion of them.

 

Free Online Programs

  • WeVideo” is a free program for editing video. A reader said he likes it better than “Final Cut Pro” for the Mac because it’s easier to figure out. Also, since all your editing takes place on the Internet, you can edit your videos from any machine that’s handy, no matter where in the world you happen to be. Hats off to this savvy reader. We had to watch the tutorial a few times to get the hang of it, but then it was easy.
  •  “Clips” is Apple’s newest video editing program and a free download from the app store for your phone or tablet. It doesn’t do as much as WeVideo, but it’s the easiest one we’ve tried since the old “iFlip” camera went out of business. Add cartoon captions, music, voiceover, or images to your video. Use the scissors to edit parts out. Tap the question mark to get instructions. (You’ll find that elusive question mark if you first tap an arrow in the upper left.)

 

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