Awesome Tree House: The Wilkinson Residence

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by Robert Harvey Oshatz, photographed by Cameron Neilson.

You Know Too Much, Google

The Loneliest Number = 1

The Answer to Life, The Universe, and Everything

The Loneliest Number plus The Answer to Life

The Number of Horns on a Unicorn

Once in a Blue Moon

42, Unicorn Horns, Once in a blue moon

I’m not quite sure what I’d do without knowing that ((the loneliest number + the number of horns on a unicorn) / the answer to life the universe and everything) * once in a blue moon = 5.557096 × 10-10 hertz.

Thanks, Google. Really, Thanks.

While experimenting with the Google Similar Pages addon for Google Chrome, I tried it on this site: is similar to what?

I blame the addon’s “beta” label.

Speaking of, Google Chrome Extensions are out, and they are great — except for ‘Similar Pages’, of course.

Google Launches Public DNS Service

Google logoGoogle has just launched a DNS service similar to OpenDNS, which I’ve written about previously. The service, dubbed “Google Public DNS”, aims to make domain name lookups (i.e. “What does mean?”) faster, and is one of the steps in their plan to make the internet faster — or taking control of it, depending on how dramatic you want to sound.

You can test it by setting your computer or router’s DNS settings to the following DNS server IP addresses:

For instructions, see the Google Public DNS configuration instructions.

Unlike OpenDNS, which supports itself by providing advertisement-powered search pages for unresolved queries, Google promises that it will never do any form of redirection. A little strange, considering Google runs the largest advertisement service on the planet, but perhaps they genuinely just do want to make the internet faster.

In my tests, Google Public DNS had a significantly faster response time than OpenDNS from my location in Stockholm, Sweden (Europe). If you’d like to find out which DNS servers are right for you, Google also recently released a DNS server benchmark tool called namebench, which tells you just that, factoring in all of the major public DNS services as well as regional ISP DNS servers.

Note that you should never use DNS servers that you don’t trust. DNS providers have full control over what ‘’, ‘’, etc. mean to your machine, and can redirect connections to these websites to malicious websites without your knowledge.

Readability Gives You Back Your Blog Reading Sanity

Readability is a bookmarklet that sanitizes web pages not designed with readability in mind, like the vast majority of blogs. I can’t remember how many times I’ve caught myself reading eye-fraggingly small text on a site with a left-oriented, 10% width content column, and wondered why I need such a deliciously large monitor.

Readability screenshot

Go to the website, customize your design, drag the bookmarklet to your bookmarks bar, then go to a non-aesthetic web page and click the bookmark — voilà! Hopefully, you should feel no need to use the bookmarklet on this site. If you do, though, let me know why.

Check out the Arc90 Lab for more stuff from the authors of Readability; they make some pretty cool stuff. I especially like HashMask and HalfMask.