I have a cool little OS X app I use that I've never talked about. It's called Nocturne, and it is freeware from BlackTree, makers of QuickSilver A.K.A. the best OS X application EVER. Nocturne is nowhere near that useful, but it is quite nifty. I think I originally saw it at 43folders, but in a nutshell what it does is make your screen monochrome and white text on black backgrounds. That doesn't sound that exciting, but I use it when I take my laptop outside. Today was a day where it didn't quite get hot enough to turn on the air conditioning but it was close. Come say 5, 6 PM it was hot enough in my office to be uncomfortable, but it's ridiculous to turn on the air then. So I grabbed the Powerbook and headed for the back yard. In the evening we get a consistent breeze/wind that falls somewhere between "pleasant" and "uncomfortably strong" depending on your mood and temperature. But it's still too bright for my screen to hold its own at 5 PM in the summer. (As I write this at 8:23 PM I've shut off Nocturne but I used it for a couple of hours before turning it off.) Nocturne cranks up the contrast just enough to make the Powerbook usable in direct sunlight.

If you've ever tried to use a Mac laptop in bright sunlight and found it difficult to see, definitely give Nocturne a try. There is a magic keystroke you can hit to do something similar (see the 43folders link for it), but it's not something I'd ever memorize. Nocturne is an app I can run, and then just quit when I want the effect to go away.

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