My attempt at making my background as informative as it is pretty. I haven't had good experiences with Superkaramba (it's ridiculously slow on my box), so the entire background is generated every 15 minutes by a script that wakes up, nices itself to 19, and does the following:
* downloads the latest global cloud-cover image;
* uses xplanet to render what the globe presumably looks like at the moment from somewhere above the Bermuda Triangle;
* downloads the latest weather forecast and regional satellite image;
* uses ImageMagick (via PerlMagick) to composite all of this data into a sexy translucent heads-up-display gizmo;
* invokes xplanet again to render the moon in its current phase;
* uses some wonderful Astro:: perl modules to generate sun and moon data, and composites that on the image as well
* uses dcop to reset the background image
That was the main piece of work. The rest is pretty standard -- the gkrellm theme is (very slightly) modified Glass, and the taskbar is v2. The weather icons are from LiquidWeather++ [http://www.kde-look.org/content/show.php?content=6384] (gotta love Northern California weather), the color scheme is based on Next, the font is called Blackjack, the icon theme is FlatSVG [http://www.kde-look.org/content/show.php?content=17158], the window theme is Web, and the Style is the modified Reinhardt [http://www.kde-look.org/content/show.php?content=18417]. All of the stuff I modified is included in the archive below.
As you've probably noticed, my idea was for the background to be like a viewport in a spaceship, with its associated informative heads-up displays and gadgets. However, seeing as I have no artistic talent and very little design skill, I was rather hoping that someone would take all my code and transform it into something that looks way cooler.
Ideas (but not code) were freely borrowed from this screenshot: