Help me build a clock

So last night at about 3AM I had a stroke of brilliance exhausted delirium and I made a funny little clock. Well, I shouldn’t say “little” because it’s 1200 pixels wide, so don’t download it if you don’t have a high res screen. It simulates a 7-bar LED with hours, minutes, and seconds, but instead of turning LED lights on and off, it makes the numbers out of scrollbars, and jiggles the “on” scrollbars aggressively. It’s rather difficult to read, but sort of funny. If you’d like, click the picture to download the program.


Anyway, I’m really enjoying doing some more programming lately, and I thought it would be fun to write a nice alarm clock application with various IRL and online friends. So on that note, I’m seeking clock designs! It could be anything from a concept, to a handdrawn clock, to something like the TokyoFlash watches, or anything else, and anything from simple time-keeper to full alarm clock with any implementation that strikes your fancy. If you’re interested, email me your idea and any artwork it needs (unless you need me to draw it), and if you want me to include a credit page in the program, your picture, name, blog link, or whatever. Might be a fun project if anyone has fun ideas…


  1. scienkoptic wrote:

    that’s pretty neat. I was writing a program last night and this reminds me how ‘dumb’ I really am.

    I wish I could put ‘writing’ in italics…..

    Saturday, December 26, 2009 at 3:08 pm | Permalink
  2. Ed wrote:


    You know that when you mention clocks or timepieces, I’ll be all ears :P

    I still have the old blueprints from a book for a tower clock :) They may be the old version of prints, but they are a start :)

    I cannot wait to hear more about this :)


    Catch ya later


    Saturday, December 26, 2009 at 3:50 pm | Permalink
  3. Ed wrote:

    Here is a thought: make a virtual clock – you’d see all the gears moving on the screen, and how they affect the change of the hands of time.

    Catch ya later,

    Saturday, December 26, 2009 at 4:09 pm | Permalink
  4. Ashley wrote:

    Saw a similar one on Neatorama a month or so ago…

    Saturday, December 26, 2009 at 6:48 pm | Permalink
  5. Skoddie wrote:

    I don’t know quite how it behaves in windows, but in WINE (on ubuntu) moving your mouse over the window speeds up the scroll bars. Very interesting piece of software :)

    Sunday, December 27, 2009 at 1:46 am | Permalink
  6. MissJanet wrote:

    As a Mac user, I feel criminally left out. :)

    Sunday, December 27, 2009 at 5:00 am | Permalink
  7. nikk wrote:

    Missjanet, I can sympathize. I’m stuck on a mb pro

    Sunday, December 27, 2009 at 10:25 am | Permalink
  8. Chris B. wrote:

    Not sure how this would works a computer program, but for an IRL clock, the chronophage (time eater has to be one of the coolest clocks i’ve ever seen.

    Sunday, December 27, 2009 at 5:29 pm | Permalink
  9. Ed wrote:

    It speeds up for me too, and I’m running WinXP

    Sunday, December 27, 2009 at 6:31 pm | Permalink
  10. Shannon wrote:

    Ed, I like your idea of doing a physical simulation of a clock… Instead of actually running clock software, I could create a physical simulation of gears and so on that just happens to be a clock!

    Monday, December 28, 2009 at 9:47 am | Permalink
  11. Ed wrote:

    I do not know if it will help, but I do have a book on how to build a tower clock. It gives the information about the gears and whatnot. Either that, or I could check around my apartment and see if I still have the Asimov paper clock book.
    If I can be of help, let me know: I’ll do my best to help :)

    Monday, December 28, 2009 at 12:21 pm | Permalink
  12. dresden wrote:


    Monday, December 28, 2009 at 4:22 pm | Permalink
  13. dresden wrote:

    er 04

    Monday, December 28, 2009 at 4:22 pm | Permalink
  14. toast wrote:

    So if you’re simulating a mechanical clock, would that be a physics engine simulating a perfect balance spring/drive spring/escapement assembly, or simply an animation tuned to time? Simulations of historic clocks (Harrison, Breguet etc.) would definitely have an audience, though I’ve no idea how they may be integrated to the desktop or how much processing power they’d absorb just simulating a mainspring…

    Monday, December 28, 2009 at 4:23 pm | Permalink
  15. DETN8R wrote:

    Incorporate that Arduino of yours. That should make things interesting.

    Monday, December 28, 2009 at 11:41 pm | Permalink
Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

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