Nocturne for Night Vision Mode
One of my favorite apps, Nocturne, is one of those cute little utilities that I, until recently, didn’t have a good reason for owning. (Thank goodness it’s free; I didn’t have to do that dance where I rationalized why I might need it someday and should therefore buy it anyway.)
It came in handy the other day when they dimmed the lights during the Hack And Tell Meetup presentations. I had cut my MacBook’s brightness down to the lowest level and still felt like that jerk in the movie theatre who checks their cell phone during the movie. I wish I could say that I thought up the bright idea of using Nocturne all by myself; I didn’t. (…Although I’m sure I would have, eventually). I saw someone else computing with a black screen and that’s when I remembered Nocturne.
Nocturne turns on Night Vision Mode, and adds a few options. What is Night Vision Mode? Night Vision Mode inverts the colors of your screen (making your Mac look even more cool). You don’t need the app to turn on Night Vision Mode. Night Vision Mode functionality is accessible in the Display section of your Universal Access or Accessibility preference pane, which you’ll find in System Preferences. (Universal Access is the name of the preference pane in Lion/10.7 and earlier; the name changed to Accessibility in Mountain Lion/10.8). Screenshots of the prefpanes are below.
However, Nocturne offers some options not available in the preference panes. Launching Nocturne adds an icon to your menu bar, making it easy to switch modes on the fly, as well as set preferences. I wanted to include some cool screenshots of a screen in Night Vision Mode, but the screenshots I took came out normal, so descriptions will have to suffice. In the screenshot below is the Nocturne preferences window. Not only can you invert the screen, but you can hide the desktop so that the inverted desktop picture isn’t distracting. It’s possible to disable shadows, but I find it disconcerting trying to manuever the many layers of windows and dialogs without shadows. You can also adjust the screen brightness.
The options in the Colors section seem self-explanatory: Monochrome gives you a monochromatic effect, and Tint Colors allows you to change the colors used for text (“White”) and for the background (“Black”). Checking both gives a monochromatic effect for the color you’ve chosen for “White”; for instance, if you loved those old green-text system terminals, check both Monochrome and Tint Color and select a color like Flora or Sea Foam for “White”. And if you get really experimental, note the saving grace of the Reset button to the right of the “Black” color well.
Invert hue inverts the hue of your screen colors, making them look less like strange monsters in a surreal land. This is incredibly helpful for keeping your computing on a don’t-make-me-think level as you navigate your screen in Night Vision Mode.
In the Menu Bar section, you have two options. Invert menu bar is only available when you “Switch to Day”. Dim when inactive is available in both Day and Night Modes, and you can set the dim level of the menu bar using the slider. With the slider all the way to the left, an inactive menu bar pretty much disappears. Hovering the mouse over it activates it.