Ask Not What Time It Is, Ask Instead...
January 4, 2015 12:13 PM   Subscribe

The most colorful clock/time-waster that'll brighten up your day, albeit slowly: What Colour Is It?
posted by BlahLaLa (37 comments total) 41 users marked this as a favorite
 
/sits and waits for seconds to turn over to 00

Worth it.
posted by aaronetc at 12:22 PM on January 4, 2015


Oh man I'd love to have this tick away on the wall of my futuristic pod room.
posted by The Whelk at 12:27 PM on January 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


If you like this there's an analog clock you can buy that's a similar idea. Been meaning to order one for ages.
posted by grahamparks at 12:29 PM on January 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


Perfect for the graphic design enthusiast in your life.
posted by gemutlichkeit at 12:34 PM on January 4, 2015


How do I get this as an Android app?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:40 PM on January 4, 2015


How do I get this as an Android app?

I would think this would be pretty easy to make yourself.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 12:57 PM on January 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


Oh man I'd love to have this tick away on the wall of my futuristic pod room.

Click the Menu button on the colorclock site, there are downloadable screen savers. Run the signal to your Phillips Ambilight TV.
posted by charlie don't surf at 1:04 PM on January 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yet another reason the ISO needs to ratify hexadecimal time.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 1:07 PM on January 4, 2015


It's weird because the biggest leap is between 9 and 0 within a sequence (i.e. 09 to 10) when it jumps 6 hexadecimal units (1016 is 6 units higher than 916). But it's not much more perceptible than the second-by-second ticks. Huh.
posted by graymouser at 1:10 PM on January 4, 2015


I'm discovering so many nice new colours.
posted by Flashman at 1:11 PM on January 4, 2015


How do I get this as an Android app?

here
posted by Foosnark at 1:16 PM on January 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is so fascinating. And I know how long I have been staring at it.
posted by louche mustachio at 1:26 PM on January 4, 2015


Previously, other colour clocks.

It looks like "hex clock" is using the same mapping as this one, while the "color clock" converts to fill in the gaps.

As graymouser points out, simply treating a decimal number as a hex number results in small gaps, though maybe not perceptible. There are a lot of colours left out at the higher end where it's only going up to 59 or 23 instead of FF, though that also helps keep the white text legible against that background.
posted by RobotHero at 1:35 PM on January 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


It must not be working for me. It's just hovering around an olive green and shifting a tad to the blue, and around a navy blue.
posted by Trochanter at 1:36 PM on January 4, 2015


Mine just shows pale teal. Must be time for #bed
posted by oulipian at 1:38 PM on January 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


Trochanter: "It must not be working for me. It's just hovering around an olive green and shifting a tad to the blue, and around a navy blue."

Well partly it's because those are the colours for this time of day, right? Come back in a few hours see what's changed.

But also partly it's shifted towards blue and green because of how they mapped the colours, hours to red, minutes to green, seconds to blue, treating the decimal digits as hex digits. But hours only go up to 23, while the other two go up to 59, so on average you're going to get more green and blue than red. At 23:00:00 you should get the most red that is possible.
posted by RobotHero at 1:44 PM on January 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, you see the biggest change when you go away from it for an hour and then look again.
posted by BlahLaLa at 1:54 PM on January 4, 2015


I'd like to have it on my phone if I could have it as a small widget.
posted by BlueHorse at 2:17 PM on January 4, 2015


Sorry, I thought it was just one big number working it's way through a table.
posted by Trochanter at 2:53 PM on January 4, 2015


It would be interesting to see this done as Hue/Saturation/Value instead of boring old RGB.
posted by monotreme at 4:25 PM on January 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'd like to have it on my phone if I could have it as a small widget.

i want this as a cydget/lockscreen for a jailbroken iphone. and an android daydream/screensaver for my firetv.

looks like it's time to get to hax0ring.
posted by emptythought at 4:37 PM on January 4, 2015


Are graymouser & RobotHero and I the only ones disappointed that it misses most of the color wheel?

For example, without converting the number systems, 1-23 from decimal to hex unconverted includes 00-09, skips 10-15 (i.e. A-F) and then comes back in for 16-25, skips 26-31 (i.e. 1A-1F), comes back in for a paltry run of 32-35 (i.e. 20-23) and the back to 00 - even the range of 0-60 maxes at hex 96, which isn't even 50% of the range from 0-255.

So this implementation of a color clock is on the ridiculously lazy side, in my opinion.

With 86,400 seconds per day, coming up with a class/function that derives an even banded selection of colors for the range of seconds sounds like less than a day of work for even a beginner (and why not just store it as a flat json file? It would probably be less data than bootstrap).

...and moreover, why use RGB? As monotreme suggests, if one is converting a cyclical number structure to colors (more precisely to a color wheel), HSL would be a harder choice to fuck up - then it could be really worth talking about, assuming they made some actual conceptual decisions, like shifting the wheel so that the red primary was mapped to daytime (i.e. 0% Hue could be shifted to time of daybreak), etc.

Seriously.

And if the wish is to impress, time the lightness and saturation to the position of the sun in the sky or something.

Is it just me? Am I being too harsh?
posted by illovich at 7:18 PM on January 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also, imma let you finish your post but HSL and HSV is the greatest wikipedia page of all time.
posted by illovich at 7:20 PM on January 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


illovich: "Am I being too harsh?"

It depends on the goal. Your goal is to spread the colour spectrum over the course of the day. I'm thinking the programmer's goal was to represent the 1:1 match even if it ends up not displaying the full spectrum. Both goals are nifty.
posted by Mitheral at 7:24 PM on January 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


monotreme: "It would be interesting to see this done as Hue/Saturation/Value instead of boring old RGB."

Here

Without putting a max and/or min on the saturation and value, you end up with the situation that shortly after the hour changes, it's almost impossible to tell what hour it is without reading numbers like a chump.

And I suppose you only get 24 possible hue values right now. Maybe it would make sense to use the minutes in the hue calculation? Or maybe a different mapping than hours? It does depend what is your goal here.
posted by RobotHero at 7:32 PM on January 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


RobotHero: "Without putting a max and/or min on the saturation and value, you end up with the situation that shortly after the hour changes, it's almost impossible to tell what hour it is without reading numbers like a chump."

Well, there's clearly some problems that need to be solved, but that's why I find the OP solution to be so trivial.

My gut says that the place to start would be to use a 60% middle band for Lightness, and maybe the same sort of band for saturation.

I don't know that I'd do a color per second though.


Mitheral: "Your goal is to spread the colour spectrum over the course of the day."

My goals are far loftier than that, but one strategy I could pursue in their service might be to spread the color spectrum over the course of a day.
posted by illovich at 7:42 PM on January 4, 2015


"What time is it?"

" It's eggplant."
posted by Zangal at 8:10 PM on January 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


That's cool, illovich, and you should definitely try out your ideas yourself. I mean, this sort of thing - just a little HTML, CSS, and JavaScript - has one of the lowest barriers to entry of any software project I can think of. Go for it!

I'm pretty sure the goal of the linked site, though, is just "Hey, if you smush the numbers of the current time together it sort of looks like a valid hex colour value. ... Let's do it!"
posted by narain at 8:35 PM on January 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's annoyingly early in the morning here, and the color was a nice dark blue when I clicked on the link, so I actually thought the page somehow represented the current sky color.
posted by that girl at 5:27 AM on January 5, 2015


narain: "you should definitely try out your ideas yourself."

Oh sure, narain - hit me where it hurts the most. ;-)
posted by illovich at 5:49 AM on January 5, 2015


I'd watch this all day if I didn't have a #0D3000 meeting today.
posted by tallmiddleagedgeek at 6:36 AM on January 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Gives new meaning to the phrase "black as midnight."
posted by hydrophonic at 12:51 PM on January 5, 2015


So I modified the clock to work with HSV, thanks to all the suggestions here which made me think about this too much.

Hue is set by the hour. Using a rough quartic equation so that it will be red at 0600, a nice orange around 0930, a light blue by around noon, green all afternoon to remind you of all the lawns you could be rolling around if you didn't have to work, light blue around 1700, and a dark blue around midnight.

Value (or brightness level) darkens over the course of an hour. The color gradually desaturates over the course of a minute.

So if you see a bright color, you know it's the top of the hour. Dark color means the hour is almost over. Desaturated color means your minute is almost up.

This won't show the full color palette. But you'll know reds / oranges are morning, light blues for midday, greens afternoon, and blue-dark blue evening. I think that works.

Set the clock text to automatically change color / contrast based on the colour of time. Almost poetic.

Used HSVtoRGB and related functions found here.
posted by honestcoyote at 2:17 PM on January 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Cool that's more fun.
posted by Trochanter at 2:43 PM on January 5, 2015


And now made a version which makes a simple circle through all the hues based on the hours + mins + secs. It's offset to start with hue 0 (primary red) at 0600. Wasn't happy with the sudden color jumps in the previous version. This should be much smoother.

The brightness / saturation adjustments based on mins / secs is still in place.
posted by honestcoyote at 3:45 PM on January 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


That's so much nicer and more humane than the RGB version in the OP. Thanks!
posted by monotreme at 3:51 PM on January 5, 2015


Here's the last version I'll post. For such a simple thing, it was fun to play with. I can think of a million more features to add so maybe this will give me an excuse to finally learn a little about Android development.

This one uses a curve to control brightness over the course of a day. Will start darkening noticeably by 1700, and will be something which looks like a colored night by 2130. Least level of brightness will be hit at 2300. It will stay at that level until 0600. Simulates a gradual dawn by slowly increasing brightness until 0900, when the normal (and more rapid) light curve takes over.

Colors are most saturated at the top of the hour and gradually de-saturate minute-by-minute. I've bounded the sat values in the 50 to 80 range, so the colors aren't too primary or too washed-out.

The hue is the same as before: going in a continuous circle based on hour+min+sec.

Nothing changes per second any more, other than the displayed number, so should be the smoothest ride yet.
posted by honestcoyote at 2:38 AM on January 7, 2015


« Older Does Climate Change Mean the End of Killer Whales?...   |   What is your interest: Politics, NFL, Soccer... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments