Openbox doesn't come with a taskbar. Installing PyPanel gives us a clock and system tray and allows us to see what programs are running. Several programs provide similar functionality -- see the sidebar for some of them.
PyPanel uses few resources and is easy to configure, making it a good starting place. Its only down side is that it doesn't provide notification. If someone IMs you while another window has focus, PyPanel won't notify you by flashing the window's icon like other panels do.
Configure PyPanel by opening ~/.pypanelrc in a text editor. Change colors by adjusting the hex values if you like, then set the width and height. Try the following:
P_LOCATION = 1 P_WIDTH = 0 P_START = 0 P_SPACER = 6 P_HEIGHT = 14 I_HEIGHT = 10 I_WIDTH = 10 APPL_I_HEIGHT = 14 APPL_I_WIDTH = 14 TRAY_I_HEIGHT = 14 TRAY_I_WIDTH = 0
Reducing the font size to 6 points helps, but pushes the limits of readability:
FONT = "bitstream vera sans-6"
Other options are easily configurable. Read the comments, back up the default, and experiment. Restart PyPanel to see your changes. When you're finished, restart Pidgin and nm-applet, the network manager; PyPanel takes applications in the tray down with it when it closes.