Ma.gnolia is a social bookmarking site. Those who are familiar with will know what I mean by the term.

Basically these sites are way for people to share bookmarks. Social software services such as these are causing a lot of buzz around the net. In this case the idea is to share your favourite places on the web. It means for anyone who moves from computer to computer – perhaps between work and home that because your book marks are on the web, you have access to your favorite websites from anywhere .

Although bookmarks can be kept private the idea is to share them and you can see what other people have found and see who has the same interests as you which of course means you can share bookmarks with your friends. People can rate bookmarks on Ma.gnolia so it acts as a sort of popular quality control. It also means that you are browsing through links that are thought to be worthwhile by people – not a search engine. I am sure everyone in their browsing have encountered link farms and quickly realised just how useless they are. Social bookmarking is not like that. A person has thought the link worthwhile and entered it into their favourites list. It is along the line of bookmarks by the people for the people.

Ma.gnolia allows for tagging. Anyone who is familiar flickr will have encountered tags. Tags are like categories or labels that you and others can allocate to bookmarks. It means you can search or browse by tag. It’s a great way to while away an afternoon.

You can import your bookmarks from popular browsers or other social software sites such as so you don’t have to re bookmark everything. I imported 500 odd bookmarks from del.ic.ious and it only took a few moments. Also Ma.gnolia keeps a copy of the page so if you have ever had the experience of bookmarking a site and then discovering it is no longer online you at least have a copy.

Also Ma.gnolia caters to groups which the social aspect of bookmarking is highlighted making it slightly different from People can leave messages in a similar way you can at flickr. At the moment most of the groups seem to be orientated around geeky topics which is normal with new stuff like this, but there is no reason why the textile community can not establish groups and use the service. Anyone who is a member can start one. Best of all the service is free.

Just in case anyone is interested my bookmarks are under – you guessed it – sharonb. Now if I was really good I would annotate the lot – but I am a bit busy to do that but I think a good sort out might be in order. They are a bit geeky but they are open for anyone who wants to take a peek.


The idea of sketching to describe something is not new but to use the concept to find imagery online is experimental. A new search engine based on this idea is very much in the experimental stage. Retrievr allows the user to find related Flickr images by drawing a sketch.

It is not a case of if you are looking for a picture of a rose you can find it. The application matches large shapes and colors in other words compositional elements in an image. I found it fascinating as I sketched in basic compositional divisions of a page and watched what came up. It’s one of those things that for me turned into a way to switch to neutral and just enjoy experimenting with imagery. I first just played around with black and white then I mucked about with primitive sketches.

This is what I found during my experiments. The large box on the left is a rough drawing of a general landscape just blocking in areas. The four little images on the right is what was found. It’s a long way from being a search engine as such, but boy what a lovely source of inspiration when you feel a bit dead headed.

The nuts and bolts behind the scene is run by python but it is fascinating to see the path that this is taking in combination with tagging, RSS and social software I get quite excited about this. I am not about to go all geeky on you, but it’s all interesting stuff to me. I am constantly fascinated not by the technology as such, but how people use the technology.

Absolutely mortified

If ever there was a day when I questioned keeping a site today has been it as last night my site was hacked. As soon as I found out I immediately got in contact with my hosting service. Thankfully even though it was the middle of the night in the US they were in contact with me within half an hour having traced the problem. I then set about cleaning up the mess.

For those who have current security software it should have caught the file. If not of course do not click on any file that downloaded itself from this site as this will activate and install the Trogan.

I have spent most of the day sick to my stomach mainly because I know that although people are told constantly to keep their virus protection software up to date – they do not necessarily do it. So all I can say is that I am genuinely sorry. It should be OK now but I am going to do a little extra work behind the scenes for the next few days. So I won’t be blogging.