A Nice & Simple Binary Clock Screen Saver for Mac OS X
Minimally styled clock screen savers are fairly popular and we’ve shared a variety of them here before, but it’s hard to get more minimal than a binary clock. The aptly named BinaryClock is just that, a free and simple binary clock screen saver for OS X that has some nice color effects that change with the time. Binary clocks are also fun because the average person may look at it with utter confusion, while you’ll be able to read the time (and don’t worry, if you don’t know how to read binary clocks, we explain it simply below).
To install the quartz file as a screen saver, download the “BinaryClock.qtz” file from GitHub and save it to ~/Downloads or the desktop. Now launch System Preferences from the Apple menu and choose Desktop & Screen Saver. Locate the BinaryClock.qtz file and then drag and drop it into the preview pane of the Screen Saver preference panel to install it. Alternatively, but perhaps better for most advanced users, you can just toss the .qtz file into ~/Library/Screen Savers/ to install it manually.
BinaryClock has a few configuration options regarding the screen savers color schemes, and you can choose to hide or show the numbers on the clock itself. Speaking of showing numbers, if you’re new to reading binary clocks it’s best to keep them shown until you get the hang of reading the time.
How Do I Read a Binary Clock Anyway?
Though it may look foreign, it’s actually easier to read than you may think at first glance. This screen saver makes it even more simple because it doesn’t include the time in seconds as well, but the basic idea is just a matter of adding the highlighted numbers in the top row to get the hour, and adding the highlighted numbers in the bottom row to get the minutes. The screenshot below demonstrates this with the numbers shown, and once you remember the positions of the numbers you can hide them and the method remains the same.
You’ll find that not all binary clocks are positioned exactly the same way, but the method of telling the time is the same whether the numbers are shown in columns or rows.
Update: Right after publishing this, we discovered a minor albeit important typo in the BinaryClock screen saver, where in the minutes the 4 is duplicated twice, the 2nd of which should be the number 2. Basically, if you show the numbers but don’t correct that in your head, then the time will be off by two minutes. Presumably that bug will be fixed by the developer quickly, but anyone with knowledge of Quartz Composer can also do it themselves easily.
Update 2: The aforementioned typo has been fixed, that was quick!