Regarding Ma.gnolia

February 4, 2009 / On Ma.gnolia’s failure, and how you can try to recover your stuff.

I’ve been waiting to see if Ma.gnolia is going to pull through. This is a bummer:

So far, my efforts to recover Ma.gnolia’s data store have been unsuccessful. While I’m continuing to work at it, both from the data store and other sources on the web, I don’t want to raise expectations about our prospects. While certainly unanticipated, I do take responsibility and apologize for this widespread loss of data.

Update: Larry Halff again, about what happened:

Ma.gnolia’s database server suffered from file system corruption, which also corrupted it’s database backup, even though it was on a separate system. This much was bad luck. I was relying on a single backup; the database was fast approaching half a terrabyte and I had been unable to implement an practical, economical solution to version that quantity of data.

And here’s a comment from Chris Messina, responding to upset users, about the team behind Ma.gnolia:

Larry will provide an explanation for what has happened, once he has run out of options. For now his top priority is recovering the data—a time-intensive process given the experiences I’ve had with data loss. Hopefully he will be able to satisfy your desire for more information shortly, but realize that Ma.gnolia is not a faceless corporation with hundreds of employees. It is largely the work of one man. And while that doesn’t excuse what happened, I think it’s important to consider proportionality when lobbing your criticism.

Several recovery tools are available. Unfortunately I couldn’t retrieve much data from these. I’ve had more success with a script written by Waylan Limberg that searches Google’s cache. A friend helped me modify this to scrape tag URLs as well (thanks Mike).

Now, time to run a few backups…

Update 2: If you’re scraping your bookmarks from Google cache it looks like you’ll need to restrict it to below ~100 URLs at a time. Above that and Google was serving me 403s and a piss off spammer message. Also, Ma.gnolia now provides a similar tool on the recovery page.

Drop me a line if you’d like the source.

Comments are closed.

Zero to One-Eighty contains writing on design, opinion, stories and technology.