Recovering Ma.gnolia bookmarks with Flock

So as you may have heard the online bookmarking service, Ma.gnolia, suffered a catastrophic data loss recently. It’s been my service of choice for sometime and this came as a blow as now I am without my bookmarks.

Larry Halff, and the team, have done (I think) a sterling job communicating this to their users.  Putting up a message on the homepage, using their Twitter and Get Satisfaction accounts to keep people up-to-date as well as putting up recovery solutions as they emerge on

Now I said that I was without my bookmarks but that wasn’t entirely true.  On my work laptop I couldn’t access them through the web, but at home I use Flock and I noticed that they were still showing up in the URL bar when I started typing a URL and I could search through them in the favorites sidebar.  What gives?

I emailed Even at Flock and he suggested exporting the bookmarks – no dice. That just brough back the local bookmarks.  So I did a search locally for a URL which I knew was stored online.  After looking through the Users directory I found it sitting in a .JSON file.  It seems Flock makes back-ups of all of its bookmarks including the ones online.  This is how they were still present.

So as long as you are using Flock and have not told it to “forget” your Ma.gnolia account you should be able to do the following:

  1. Open Flock
  2. Click Favorites on the top bar
  3. Click Organize Favorites
  4. Choose Import & Backup
  5. Choose Backup

This should then prompt you were to save a .JSON file.  Name it accordingly and there you have it.  When opening it to check I got over 300 pages worth of this:

{“index”:18,”title”:”index.php”,”id”:730,”parent”:53,”dateAdded”:1226967686921600,”type”:”text/x-moz-place”,”uri”:”″},{“index”:19,”title”:”FireworksGuru Forum”,”id”:735,”parent”:53,”dateAdded”:1226967697832600,”type”:”text/x-moz-place”,”uri”:””}

So, you could use the online recovery tools, but I would have a go at this too. I can’t check if its everything, but at least you will have something locally just in case.

Technorati tags: magnolia, flock, bookmarks, recovery, export, JSON, favorites

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2 Responses to “Recovering Ma.gnolia bookmarks with Flock”

  1. Chris Campbell February 5th, 2009 at 11:13 am
  2. Great tip, David. Thanks for posting this!

    And I’d like to echo your sentiment about Larry Halff and the Ma.gnolia team’s efforts. This is a nightmare scenario for them, but they have been very upfront about the ordeal and are obviously working hard to help users recover what data they can.


  3. Cibeles February 9th, 2009 at 1:48 am
  4. That’s such a terrific tip, and I hope more people had Flock and were using Flock as bookmarking tool for Magnolia so they can recovered what they lost.  I hope you have recovered if not all at least a significant part of them.
    Best of luck and best wishes.

Some shorcuts for working in Visio…

I spend a lot of my 9-5 working in Visio.  I found it a bit of a bugger to start with, but the more I became familiar with it the easier it became (like most things I suppose).
I wanted to share some of the keyboard shortcuts and tips that I’ve found help me push shapes around all-day-long.

Keyboard shortcuts

I am one for using a keyboard shortcut when I can, as long it doesn’t involve more than three fingers (Photoshop).  Here’s some I use all the time:

  • Ctrl+g = centers and displays the whole page
  • Ctrl+PgDn = move through your tabs
  • Ctrl+PgUp = move the opposite way through your tabs
  • Ctrl+Left mouse button = will create a duplicate of the selected shape
  • Shift+Left mouse button = will move the selected shape inline with its starting point
  • Ctrl+Shift+a = select all
  • Ctrl+g = group all selected shapes
  • Ctrl+Shift+u = ungroup selected
  • Ctrl+Mouse wheel = zoom in or out depending direction
  • Ctrl+Shft+v = paste in place (see macros)


Visio lets people (more able than I) to write macros and speed up a lot of stuff.  Here’s some that I use:


I personally think the best templates I’ve seen are the ones created by Garrett Dimon.  These Visio templates and stencils are great and I have used them as a basis for the ones I use today.  They are also a good reference for pulling apart to see the stuff you can do with Visio.


  • Use annotations for marking up your drawings.  Dan Brown’s annotations article on Boxes & Arrows is great and Garrett created a shape based on this for his stencils.
  • Edit Garrett’s annotation shape in Visio and put it all on a layer called “annotations”.  This way when you drag it on to your drawing it will create a layer on that drawing called “annotations” which you can turn on or off.
  • Use background pages for the basics and build foreground pages off of them.  This makes it nice and easy to update elements without going through all your pages.

Blogs etc.

Here are some blogs that I reference when I have Visio or wireframing questions.

Hope you find some of these as useful in your day-to-day as I do.  As I don’t have a copy of Visio on my home laptop I tend to use Fireworks to create wireframes which is good too.

Technorati tags: visio, shorcuts, tips, macros, keyboard, templates

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Observations for those new to Twitter…

I just want to say up-front that this isn’t a “score big” on Twitter list.  Following these observations won’t get you automatically in the same league as Robert Scoble or Guy Kawasaki.  I just wanted to capture these and share.
Take them as you will.


If own or work for a business think and plan about going on to Twitter.  It can be a big win for you in regards to customer reach and transparency, but, it can also big a huge headache internally.  Depending how big a company you are, various departments including legal, sales, and customer service may all be touch points.

  • Secure a Twitter profile for your company name
  • Think about how employees are going to use it (@FirstnameCompany perhaps?)
  • Answer, in public. Even if it’s just to say someone will contact them – Then follow through, because if you don’t they’ll be twice as vocal
  • Listen. Listen. Then listen some more. Get a feeling of which of your customers are on Twitter and what they are saying.  Then start joining in
  • If you’ve set up an account just for customer service make sure the link in the profile points to your customer service page.
  • You did fill in your profile didn’t you?
  • Check your replies and direct messages as often as possible
  • Use the company logo as your profile picture
  • Set up an auto follow


If you are taking those tentative first steps don’t feel you have to follow everyone who follows you.  Some are people are just automated MLM’s, some, some are just boring.

  • It’s okay to un-follow someone
  • It’s okay to block someone (especially if they are automated marketing bots)
  • Post whenever and whatever – its not a blog, its a thought
  • Use the reply and direct message links more often
  • Check your replies tab. Someone may be there you aren’t following or is in a different time zone
  • Have fun
  • Set up your mobile phone on Twitter so you text message



  • tweet = a post to Twitter
  • RT = re-tweet, passing along someone else’s tweet
  • FTW = For The Win (very good)

I’m sure there’s other stuff but it’s late (early).  One last thing I’ve noticed is people adding a background graphic with their photo and a lot of URLs, such as blogs, email addresses etc. to their Twitter pages and I’m wondering why?  Its a serious question.  I just don’t get it.

  • No one can click on any of those links
  • You can’t copy & paste any of it
  • The background slides under the main timeline and obscures it
  • It won’t be indexed by Google, or anything else for that matter
  • Anyone using a desktop app or third-party aggregator to read tweets will never see it

See you on Twitter

Technorati tags: twitter, tips

Blogged with the Flock Browser

The simple things in life – A bus ride…

Like most parents we have a reward chart for our son.  Do well in school or during the week and he gets a reward.  Most of the time we let Josh pick his own and when we asked him last week what he wanted, he replied…a bus ride.
Josh on the busSo Saturday morning, after checking the Laketran timetables online, Julie took us up to the stop (its snowing and very cold) and we got on board.

It’s funny because, I used to travel everywhere on the bus in England (I only learned to drive a few years before moving to the USA), and haven’t done much of that over here.

For Josh it was a BIG adventure! Having the bus all to ourselves, hearing the stops announced, and riding to the Mall in another town.  He took a couple of photos himself and thanked the bus driver a lot when we disembarked.

Adding to the excitement of the day he got to pick what he wanted for lunch (Subway).

He’s already said he wants to take another trip and I’m looking forward to Summer, when we can ride to The Captains for some baseball fun together.

Technorati tags: josh, joshuamead, bus, reward, trip

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2 Responses to “The simple things in life – A bus ride…”

  1. jessie baginski January 20th, 2009 at 6:11 am

    Thanks for sharing your adventure! I hope others follow your lead and give transit a try to explore Lake County! Classic Park (on Rt 6) is a great destination, as is Lake Metroparks Fairport Harbor Beach (Rt 5). Rt 2 can take you to downtown Willoughby for a stop at Scooters ice cream or onto Mentor Ave for Putt-Putt Games and Golf! If you need more ideas, contact Julia or Jessie- we’ll help you plan your recreational outings on Laketran!

  2. David January 20th, 2009 at 7:22 am

    Thanks for the comments Jessie.

    I’ll be sure to let my son, Josh, know we can take the bus to some other places – especially for ice-cream

Finally listening to my iPod in the car…

Julie really out did herself on the gifts front this Xmas. One of the great ones she got me was the iTrip FM transmitter from Griffin.
She later told me she had phoned Apple and walked through what kind of iPod I have and what I wanted out of the connector, and they were very helpful.

This lead is a lot better than some of the others we’d borrowed as it connects straight to the docking port as opposed to the headphone socket.  This means that my iPod is charging whilst I’m driving.  Also, whatever I am listening to is paused as soon as I turn off the engine, and I’ve found it pushes out at a set volume so I can use the controls on the car stereo to adjust the levels, rather than fumbling for the iPod.

Although I now have a relatively short commute, I can get through some podcasts in the car and finish them in the office later on.

I’ve had no problems with interference using the preset FM frequency either.

All in all a fantastic gift and great product.

Technorati tags: ipod, accessories, griffin, charger, transmitter

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Moved to a new blog…

I’ve now moved the domain over to a new WordPress blog. This is the last post over here at Blogger.

Though I imported all these posts into the new blog, I plan on leaving them here too, just for reference.

Please update you feed readers and bookmarks accordingly.

Be seeing you.