Linux Mint on the iOTA Flo 11.6″ laptop

This is how the laptop arrived, pre-installed with Windows 10. I soon put an end to that nonsense!

I recently installed Linux Mint on my iOTA Flo 11.6″ laptop. The process was simple and very straight forward.

The iOTA Flo is a compact 11.6″ laptop featuring 4GB RAM, 64GB eMMC drive and a two-core Intel Celeron N33350 1.1GHz CPU, and an Intel HD 500 graphics card. On the sides it has inputs for power, two USB ports, mini HDMI, headphones and a micro SD card slot. It also features a 720p (I think) webcam, full HD (1920 × 1080) screen, and Bluetooth capabilities (which I have switched off for power and security reasons). Not bad for £179.99.

Continue reading Linux Mint on the iOTA Flo 11.6″ laptop

Installing Ubuntu 20.04 LTS on an old Asus X551CA laptop from 2013

Welcome to Ubuntu screen

One of the items that I inherited after Mum died was her old laptop, an Asus X551CA that I bought her for Christmas 2013. This month I replaced the battery, upgraded the hard drive and installed Linux.

Continue reading Installing Ubuntu 20.04 LTS on an old Asus X551CA laptop from 2013

Using a 4K ultra HD TV as a PC monitor

LG 43UK6950 PLB (4K Ultra HD TV)

Over the last couple of months I’ve been considering buying a TV to also use as a PC monitor. I’ve been surprised to find relatively very little information online about it so here’s what I’ve discovered and my experiences so far.

My experience has been great, so far.

Continue reading Using a 4K ultra HD TV as a PC monitor

f.lux: stop your computer monitor keeping you awake at night!

f.lux makes the colour of your computer's display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day.
f.lux makes the colour of your computer’s display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day.

f.lux is a genius piece of software (available for Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, and Linux) that I’ve been using for a few months now, that has genuinely helped me get to sleep quicker at night.

What it does

It does one job, and it does it brilliantly: f.lux adjusts your computer display according to the time of day.

Generally monitors are set very bright with a blue-y colour temperature, that makes them look great during the day. As the f.lux website puts it:

During the day, computer screens look good—they’re designed to look like the sun. But, at 9PM, 10PM, or 3AM, you probably shouldn’t be looking at the sun.

f.lux fixes that. Once you’ve told the program where in the world you live (so that it can work out when the sun will rise and set) and what kind of lighting you have it gets to work.

For me, the application runs when Windows starts, and I quite enjoy watching my monitor at sunset slowly change as f.lux kicks in; I’ve set mine to fast transition (over 20 seconds).

Flux settings: adjust your lighting, set your location, and transition speed.
Settings in f.lux are very straight-forward.

When the sun sets f.lux adjusts your monitor to look like your indoor lights (for me that means that that whites take on a warmer hue similar to the colour of paper the Financial Times use). And then when the sun rises again, the blues return and it looks like sunlight once again.

Effect on sleep

I noticed a while ago that if I had been using my computer a lot in the evening it was taking me longer to get to sleep.

It turns out that blue light affects sleep patterns and as monitors are back-lit—effectively firing a lot of blue light straight at you—you end up with a lot of exposure to excessive light at night.

A couple of hours looking at a tablet or PC screen in the evening can knock off your sleep by about an hour, researchers have found.

The f.lux developers have taken this into account and so “f.lux adjusts colours in a way that greatly reduces the stimulating effects of blue light at night.”

I have to admit that I was very sceptical at first, and the first time I tried it I hated it. Everything went slightly peachy. But I stuck with it and within a couple of days I was a convert.

And while I used to lie awake in bed for half an hour or more, since using f.lux on my Windows 8.1 PC I now drop off to sleep within minutes.

Conclusion

If you do a lot of work on your computer or iOS device after sunset then I thoroughly recommend f.lux.

Download f.lux today. (Windows, Mac, Linux, or iOS)