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Speaking of taskbar [system tray] clocks

All I wanted was a clock with two timezones shown… and I couldn’t find a free one. Took me months to even find out how these people were writing their great shareware.

Turns out, as I suspected, that the tray clock (at the bottom right of your screen) is not an independent program so it is not possible to replace it by “normal” means. You have to, in short, write a program that waits for messages to be sent to the clock and interpret them in a custom way.

One such free program is TClockEx, which is old and doesn’t look good on top of Windows XP themes. But that’s a minor thing—the gem of it is the help file which explains how the author accomplishes his feat by “subclassing” and “hooking”. In other words, it gives you a bunch of new words to type into Google to find out more and even possibly cool sample programs—this is also how programs that change the look (“window manager”, some may say) of Windows work.

At some point I found a program that would show you all the classes currently open and allow you to change their properties—so you could, for example, change the Start button to say “Idiot” or “I could care less about the task bar clock when I can do this”. If I find it, I will post a link.

Of course I never wrote the new clock program. But one of these days I’m going to mess with it again.

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