Ma.gnolia Suffers Major Data Loss, Site Taken Offline | WIRED

Source: Ma.gnolia Suffers Major Data Loss, Site Taken Offline | WIRED

There was a meltdown at bookmark sharing website Ma.gnolia Friday morning. The service lost both its primary store of user data, as well as its backup. The site has been taken offline while the team tries to reconstruct its databases, though some users may never see their stored bookmarks again.

The failure appears to be catastrophic. The company can’t say to what extent it will be able to restore any of its users’ data. It also says the data failure was so extensive, repairing the loss will take “days, not hours.”

In light of today’s outage, many are questioning the reliability of web apps and web-based storage in general. Twitter in particular is full of users venting their suspicions.

Cloud computing becomes fog when it goes down,” says Todd Spragins in a Twitter post.

Another common thread: People are talking about bailing on Ma.gnolia in favor of competitor Delicious.

Ma.gnolia posted a short note on its website shortly after 9 a.m. Pacific time, saying it was down temporarily due to a database failure. Later Friday morning, company founder Larry Halff issued an apology on the homepage along with the following note:

Ma.gnolia experienced every web service’s worst nightmare: data corruption and loss. For Ma.gnolia, this means that the service is offline and members’ bookmarks are unavailable, both through the website itself and the API. As I evaluate recovery options, I can’t provide a certain timeline or prognosis as to to when or to what degree
Ma.gnolia or your bookmarks will return; only that this process will take days, not hours. also contacted Halff shortly after the outage was first reported, but he declined to give a comment beyond what he posted on the homepage. You can get status updates from Ma.gnolia’s Twitter account.

Ma.gnolia is a free, public service for saving links to websites. Most users rely on it as a bookmarking storage service, or a place to save links that they may want to revisit later. Links can be saved privately or shared publicly, so that they can be browsed by other users looking for new destinations. Many people prefer to use bookmark sharing services like Ma.gnolia rather than saving bookmarks locally — the main advantage being that while your browser’s bookmarks are stored on your machine, you can access bookmarks you share on the web from any computer with an internet connection.

Ma.gnolia’s main competitor is, which is owned by Yahoo. Ma.gnolia is preferred by many of the web’s tech elite for two reasons: The site has a robust and easy-to-use API for accessing stored data, and it takes a snapshot when you create a bookmark, so even if the linked site disappears, Ma.gnolia enables you to access a cached version.

Last year, Ma.gnolia mirrored its API with that of Delicious, so any web tools written for Delicious could also be used for Ma.gnolia. The API also makes it easy to create a regular local backup, though we suspect most people haven’t bothered to do that.

The Anatomy of Type by Stephen Coles – An online companion to the book — The Anatomy of Type: A Graphic Guide to 100…

The Anatomy of Type by Stephen Coles – An online companion to the book — The Anatomy of Type: A Graphic Guide to 100…

The Anatomy of Type: A Graphic Guide to 100 TypefacesAKA The Geometry of Type: The Anatomy of 100 Essential Typefaces Students and professionals in any creative field can benefit from a good typographic eye. The Anatomy of Type (published in the UK as The Geometry of Type) is all about looking more closely at letters. Through visual diagrams and practical descriptions, you’ll learn how to distinguish between related typefaces and see how the attributes of letterforms (such as contrast, detail, and proportion) affect the mood, readability, and use of each typeface. Nutritional value aside, the spreads full of big type make tasty eye candy, too. The typefaces featured in the book are hand-picked by the author for their functionality and stylistic relevance in today’s design landscape. Along with several familiar faces (such as Garamond, Bodoni, Gill Sans, and Helvetica), you’ll also discover contemporary fonts that are less common — and often more useful — than the overused classics. This website will be updated with news and resources related to the book’s content. Subscribe to the RSS feed or follow on Tumblr for updates.

The Curse of Storage

The Curse of Storage

Our ever-growing collections of information and objects can lead to thoroughly modern crises that echo the past. Commentary by Momus.

I’ve been thinking about the parallel between object storage and information storage — apartments and computers — ever since visiting an interesting exhibition at London’s Barbican last month.

Future City looks at experiment and utopia in architecture over the last 50 years. I was particularly impressed by a quote from Japanese metabolist architect Kiyonori Kikutake. “A Japanese room is determined by information,” Kikutake was quoted as saying, “whereas a Western room relies on objects.”

I thought immediately of Kyoichi Tsuzuki’s photographs of Tokyo apartments. These tiny places (I lived in one myself for a year) tend to consist of an empty living space — typically a tatami-covered floor — surrounded by densely packed information-storage systems.

The information “saved” to these spaces might be clothes, records, knickknacks, magazines, toys — the obsessively collected, meticulously arranged, somewhat pointless “hard copy” of countless shopping trips. The tatami-and-futon floor space, meanwhile, is where processing happens.

There, the room’s occupant does his living, eating, loving, sleeping, thinking. This is the room’s RAM, its processor, where the present moment is all. Here the timeline of human attention scans through a book, a manga, a magazine or website, one page at a time.

Never one to pass up an opportunity to think of my lifestyle as Japanese rather than Western, I decided there and then to create a “Japanese” apartment in Berlin, a place devoted to information and the storage of information. My new apartment, after all, was on the small side. I’d have to resort to Japanese tricks and a Japanese sensibility to make it work. I had in mind not just Tsuzuki’s photographs of stashed Tokyo pads, but also a lovely book I have (it’s in a box somewhere) of photographs of Japanese writers’ rooms.
Continue reading “The Curse of Storage”

Blockwriter +

Blockwriter +

Alternate title: How to turn your computer into a manual typewriter. 

As we all know, the surfeit of distractions available on a personal computer these days can make it exceedingly easy to get nothing done. There’s the constant haranguing of emails, the intrusions of instant messaging, and the endless nagging of countless other attention-hungry applications and utilities.

In looking for ways to defuse this, I noticed a few years ago that some serious writers, at least in the early drafting stages of their work, were turning to manual typewriters as a method of sidestepping all of those distractions. It’s a great solution: what better way to thwart a computer than to step away from it completely? There’s no email to check on a typewriter, no beeps and pop-up reminders from other applications, and no access whatsoever to the Internet and its tantalizing abundance of productivity-killing diversions.

What’s more, a manual typewriter is a powerful antidote to authorial dawdling, that propensity to continually re-edit a sentence or a paragraph — thereby imparting the feeling of working without really working — instead of continuing to write new sentences or paragraphs instead. Unlike word processors or even the simplest text editors, manual typewriters don’t allow you to easily re-edit, insert and revise a sentence once it’s been committed to paper. This makes for an entirely different writing experience: the ideas come first, and the act of finessing them, of word-smithing, comes after all the ideas have been set to paper.

Why Hardware When Software Will Do?

At some point, it occurred to me that it really shouldn’t be necessary to purchase another piece of hardware to accomplish the same things that writers look to manual typewriters for: the ability to focus without distractions, and the ability to work in a mode that disallows excessive editing and encourages continued writing.

Neither of those things are beyond the capability of software, so why not just write software that does those things? I almost don’t have to write any more in this blog post and most readers will get the entirety of my concept: build an application that functions almost exactly like a typewriter.

For lack of a more marketable name, I call it Blockwriter. And because I’m no programmer and I’ll never get around to learning enough Cocoa skills to build Blockwriter for myself, I figured I’d just do what I know: throw together some mock-ups of the user interface to get my ideas across.

Draft Only

Of course, Blockwriter is intended only as a drafting tool, as it’s clearly impractical for the vast majority of text editing and word processing. To quickly knock out a rough version of any piece of writing that requires concentration and complexity, from a lengthy blog post to an article or even to a full-blown book manuscript, it’s the perfect tool. It provides a very narrow feature set that keeps you on task, along with one-touch methods of shutting out the rest of the system. And it’s a lot less bulky than a typewriter.

Alas, Blockwriter itself is only a draft. As I said, I haven’t nearly enough programming talent to make it happen. But I had a good time putting together the interface — more and more Web sites are referred to as “software” these days, but designing a desktop application is an entirely different experience, even a faux one like this. So the hour or two I put into Blockwriter was an interesting foray into a different kind of design. What resulted isn’t perfect, clearly, but maybe someone will find some of these ideas interesting enough to build it for real. I can’t imagine it would be particularly hard for anyone who’s comfortable with Cocoa.

Blogging like it’s 1999

Blogging like it’s 1999

I get ideas that are paragraph length. #

I don’t want to try to save them in Facebook. #

They don’t fit in Twitter.#

But each of these systems has a certain gravity, they pull ideas into them. #

Can my ideas have an existence outside of Twitter and Facebook?#

My blog had more features, worked better for me, in 1999. #

In the last ten years I’ve had to pull features out of my blogging system, instead of making it better, it lost functionality.#

So in a way, my “better blogging system” would just be what I already had working 15 years ago.#

I keep remembering that, between Google Reader and its limits (items must have titles), and Twitter with its limits (only 140 chars, no titles, one link, no styling), same with Facebook (no links or styling) that my online writing has diminished dramatically, conforming to the contradictory limits of each of these systems. #

I keep working on this, still am. Every day. 🙂 # Get your important emails delivered to a Slack channel Get your important emails delivered to a Slack channel

Useful for someone like me: sends your important emails to a private Slack channel.

Slogan: We send your important* emails to a private Slack™ channel. So you can stop constantly checking your inbox

A Conversation With Erik Spiekermann

A Conversation With Erik Spiekermann

Erik: Learn as much about our culture as you possibly can, by reading, by traveling, by involving yourself in things that go on. But don’t become an artist. Don’t think, “I’ll do it intuitively.” You have to learn if not to code at least to appreciate code, to understand code. Because code is what nuts and bolts were a hundred years ago.

If you don’t know anything about mechanics, you can’t survive in this world. If you don’t know anything about how a computer works or code works, as a communicator, which is what a designer is — the interface between machines and man, that’s what we are. We are the interface, we interpret what the machine says into visible language. If you don’t understand how the machine works, you’re going to be laughed out of the room by the engineering guys, because you can’t communicate with them.