It’s four-thirty … no, sorry, six-twenty … no, wait, it’s … uh …

Yesterday I blogged how the old-school analog clock is the ultimate example of easygoing, “ambient” information. You can tell what time it is by just barely noticing the clock out the corner of your eye.

Today I happened upon the complete opposite: A clock you have to stare at to figure out what time it is. That’s the “Tix LED Clock” above; here’s the description of how it works:

Millions of patterns are possible with the futuristic-looking Tix clock, yet the clock is extremely simple to read once you grasp the basic concept. The four seperate fields act like the four digits of a digital clock. The value of each digit is simply the number of illuminated squares in each field. So any given time of the day may have thousands of different ways of displaying the time. The clocks in the image are displaying the time 12:34. It’s that easy! Of course your friends are just going to take a look at your Tix clock and think it’s just modern LED art.

Heh. It’s almost as bad, and equally as beautiful, as the LED Binary Clock.

(Thanks to Gizmodo for this one!)

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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