GCalert will access all your Google calendars and display alarms via libnotify for whenever you have alarms set for each event. These alarm widgets do not receive focus (and thus do not take keyboard input away from other applications), yet are clearly visible even on a cluttered desktop.
Zfswatcher is ZFS storage pool monitoring and notification daemon. It periodically inspects the zpool status and sends configurable notifications on status changes such as disk failures. It also controls the disk enclosure LEDs. There is an embedded Web interface for displaying status and logs.