Changing resolutions (actually on-topic)

I'm a little confused about how to change screen resolutions
in X. I generally do it by running Configuration as root
and only picking one resolution as ctrl/alt/+- doesn't ever seem
to work. However I know that changing resolutions on the fly
is possible.

Architecturally this is not a gnome issue but the user
perspective it is. Would it be possible to write an
applet that changed the resolution? Would it have to
be suid? How hard would this be?

In addition to picking from the configured modes like 
using ctrl/alt/+- it would great if it could also be a mini
Xconfigurator to add modes to the XF86Config file. At a minimum
it could have help info to point the user to XConfigurator so they 
aren't constantly frustrated and force to post to a list somewhere.

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