I’m a Solarized fan. In Vim, I used to manually switch between the
dark and the light modes depending on the lighting conditions. Two
weeks ago, while browsing usevim‘s feed, I found Holy Light —
“a plugin for Macs that changes the
background variable based on the
amount of ambient light recorded by Mac’s light sensor.”
To use Holy Light, you have to set a threshold for the ambient light
level. When measured value is above that threshold, the light
background is used; when it’s below the threshold, the background
is dark. Access to the light sensor data is provided by the
holylight-checker binary bundled with the plugin.
What caught my attention is that the measured values are in the range of millions1 (of unknown units). This suggests an incredible fidelity! I decided to investigate. I recorded the light level every five seconds during a day at the office. Here are my results2.
As expected, measurements aren’t precise. You can safely discard last five digits of that million. Or even six:
Measured values might be hardware related. I got them on a late 2011 13-inch MacBook Air.
Data and code are on GitHub.
By the way, I will probably be looking for a job soon (I’m taking a break right now), so if you have a good product (an app, a service, a game, an ecosystem… I’m up for a challenge), email me at