i was thinking about time yesterday and came to the conclusion that i really don't care what the time is even though i look at a clock often. that is, i don't care if it's 11:41 or 14:36, i only care if it's near lunch time or almost time to leave work.
combined with the fact that i don't have a lot of spare screen real estate to show a clock all the time, i came up with the idea of showing a small line of tick marks on the side of the screen, highlighting certain points in the day that are important (when i should be at work, when i should go to lunch, and when i should leave work). a small rectangle would slide down the side of the screen throughout the day. when the slider is near one of the highlighted points, i know something's coming up (lunch!).
and with that, pixelclock was born.
this first venture into x11 programming (aside from some high-level gtk-perl stuff) was made easier by this tutorial and looking at the source of some stuff in the XF4 tree (and fgsch's forthcoming xidle).
i played around with the colors and settled on blue for the hours, green for the highlighted hours, and yellow for the current time. i only need to see 2 pixels wide but i made the program support an arbitrary width. it would be nice to make everything configurable like the colors and the times to highlight, but it works for me as-is so i'm not too motivated to do it.
perhaps drawing directly on the screen would be better so as to provide a transparent background, but i have a solid black background anyway.