Bob Martinez's Profile

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Is a hot dog a sandwich?

Right. They were disguised as hot dogs.

Is a hot dog a sandwich?

The US government also told us Iraq had WMDs.

Read threads vs. unread threads

You know what's really funny?

You could say the same thing about the blue hearts and the Q&A thread format.

2 days ago
Bob Martinez in Site Talk

Read threads vs. unread threads

Yep. The grey background morphs to near white white when I tilt my screen back.

You wouldn't see this in the screenshots since, by definition, they reflect a viewing straight on viewing angle.

I'm giving up now and will let some other people weigh in.

Aug 20, 2014
Bob Martinez in Site Talk

Read threads vs. unread threads

On my laptop screen I find the amount of contrast changes depending on the viewing angle. From straight on the previously viewed threads are greyed out and easy to identify. But if I view the screen from a higher angle (think sitting up straighter in a chair) the background changes from gray to white like the unread threads. The thread title, however, still isn't in bold print like the unread threads which is a good thing.

In the past there were two things that identified previously read threads - the gray background and the un-bolded title. Now one of them has been compromised.

This isn't the biggest issue in the world but the previous settings worked fine - no one ever complained about them. The new design works less well.

Aug 20, 2014
Bob Martinez in Site Talk

Long Gone But Not Forgotten! Outer Borough Memories

Acadia Parish on Atlantic. Great cajun.

Aug 19, 2014
Bob Martinez in Outer Boroughs

Is it right for restaurants to stop seating people before closing time?

You presume too much. Sooner or later it will bite you in the ass. That "hospitality business" catchall doesn't mean that people in restaurants are your servants.

Sure, some places serve food late, but not all of them. When dealing with a new place you may want to call ahead of time and clarify their actual hours.

The best (store bought) hot dog buns

Another vote for Martins. They taste like bread, not air. I've eaten my share of hot dogs and sausages over the year. Before I started using Martins I would often leave portions the of the buns uneaten when I finished the hot dog. They had virtually no flavor. Not so with the Martins - those rolls taste good on their own.

I also highly recommend their Big Marty's rolls for burgers and sandwiches.

Aug 18, 2014
Bob Martinez in General Topics

The font is huge here

I access the site from a laptop, a Nexus 4 phone, and a Nexus 7 tablet with a 7 inch screen. Like others, I've noticed that the default font on mobile devices has become larger. For me this isn't a problem. I'm no longer forced to expand the screen just to read a post. I like that.

Aug 18, 2014
Bob Martinez in Site Talk

A Personal Announcement

Best of luck. You've done a fine job here under trying circumstances.

Aug 18, 2014
Bob Martinez in Site Talk

Read threads vs. unread threads

In other words, "Who are you going to believe? Me or your lying eyes?" :-)

I know you folks have a lot of stuff on your plate but when you get a change please restore the old color scheme to distinguish read from unread threads. It worked fine - no one ever complained about it.

Aug 18, 2014
Bob Martinez in Site Talk

Read threads vs. unread threads

Agreed. It would make a big difference.

Aug 18, 2014
Bob Martinez in Site Talk

Is it right for restaurants to stop seating people before closing time?

That would work. The primary objective is to make things absolutely clear.

Aug 17, 2014
Bob Martinez in Not About Food

Crazy Janes Mixed up Salt.

I've been using it for 30 years. It's terrific on lots of things.

Crazy Janes Mixed up Salt.

Please. If you don't like it, don't use it. Skip the lecture.

Is it right for restaurants to stop seating people before closing time?

"Last orders - 9:30" might not be a perfect solution but it would probably work 95% of the time. By posting a sign like that a restaurant would be communicating its policy clearly. The customer then has the choice of either accepting it or going elsewhere.

Inviting Professional Voices to the Community

Agreed. With full disclosure we can make up our own minds.

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9851...

Aug 14, 2014
Bob Martinez in Site Talk
1

Inviting Professional Voices to the Community

I'm not just guessing on this one. I saw the info posted on Site Talk a few years ago but I'll be damned if I can find it.

Aug 13, 2014
Bob Martinez in Site Talk

Inviting Professional Voices to the Community

Some are paid staff, some are volunteers.

Aug 13, 2014
Bob Martinez in Site Talk
1

Restaurant Tracker

I create Internet bookmarks for restaurants I visit regularly which link directly to their websites. I've got separate folders for particular locations. I also have folders for restaurants which seem appealing but which I haven't visited yet, also organized by location.

I use Xmarks on my laptop which automatically backs up my bookmarks to the cloud. I've also got Xmarks installed on my phone and tablet - Xmarks automatically synchronizes all the bookmarks - anything I've added to my laptop is automatically added to my other devices. Once Xmarks is installed you don't have to do anything special to synchronize them - it happens automatically.

It's free - http://www.xmarks.com/

Feature request for old threads

All the posts Ttrockwood linked to had time and date stamps. The newbie posters just don't notice them. The larger problem is that as newbies they don't know which topics are evergreens and which are time sensitive.

Aug 11, 2014
Bob Martinez in Site Talk

The Q/A format is odious

I think this is a good a place as any to point out that there's membership churn in ALL online communities. Chowhound is by no means unique. People's lives and interests change and they move on. Some devote their time to a blog. Others move to other food sites. Some just get bored writing about food.

I've seen it happen on 3 other food boards that I've posted on over the years. The explanation for the departures are by no means always sinister.

Yes, people sometimes do leave as a matter of principle although the introduction of the Q&A thread format or blue hearts would seem to be an overreaction. The potential for management sanctioned shilling, however, is another matter entirely. I'll be watching that closely.

What worked and didn't work about Chowhound

I'm the former governor of Florida and George H W Bush's drug czar.

Chowhoundish Use of Food Sites

CH doesn't award stars, for better or worse. Yelp does but I don't find them particularly useful. When you read the accompanying posts you get a feel for how random they can be. Sometimes the reviewer is a ninny. ("They put little umbrellas in our drinks. How cool is that!!!") Sometimes they have a massive sense of entitlement and mark a place down when it's not met. ("Our waiter was sooooo rude! He didn't ask us about our day or how many ice cubes we wanted in our cokes!!!)

But if you find long threads on Yelp about individual restaurants and scan down the list of comments you can get a rough idea as to the overall quality of the kitchen, service, and ambiance. The wildly enthusiastic posts and the overly negative ones cancel each other out. What's left is a general consensus that tends to be somewhat accurate. You can also click on individual posters and scan through their other reviews to get an idea of their overall credibility.

Yelpers usually get mainstream restaurants right. Their accuracy declines when the write about higher end restaurants (their lack of expertise shows) and cult foods (burgers and pizza.)

I also agree with Jim re Yelp and ethnic places, especially Chinese restaurants. The accuracy rating is higher than for regular places.

What worked and didn't work about Chowhound

Actually, it does. Back in the early days of CH people regularly posted with their real names. I know two female posters who came to regret it. Their names were distinctive and it was easy to track them down via a search engine. Both of them were harassed by cranks. When they moved on to other food boards they used aliases and had no further problems.

Since the CNET purchase CH has registered users - our identities are locked into a particular handle and we build a reputation, for good or ill, based on our posting history. The mods can hold us accountable if we step over the line too frequently.

I've got no problem with anonymity as long as it's paired with accountability.

Aug 09, 2014
Bob Martinez in Site Talk
1

What worked and didn't work about Chowhound

If you're going to start the perfect "pure" food website be sure you're Bill Gates or Warren Buffet because it's not going to be self supporting.

Jim Leff sold Chowhound because of money issues*. CBS is making the recent changes for the same reason.

*Jim had no choice. He was personally on the hook for exorbitant monthly bandwidth charges that were bleeding him white. I've had my issues with Jim over the years but he deserves our everlasting thanks for founding the site and keeping it afloat.

What worked and didn't work about Chowhound

If you're starting a new food board make sure you're Bill Gates or Warren Buffet. That way the site can remain "pure," uncompromised by the need to be self sustaining.

Jim Leff sold CH because of money*. CBS is making these changes because of money.

* Leff went to heroic measures to keep CH afloat. The site was bleeding him white - he had no choice.

Aug 08, 2014
Bob Martinez in Site Talk

Jim Leff's Slog: Chowhound's Coup de Grace

Indeed. All was not sunshine and light pre CNET.

Aug 08, 2014
Bob Martinez in Site Talk

Jim Leff's Slog: Chowhound's Coup de Grace

I suppose I'll have to say something nice about the Yankees now, right?

Aug 08, 2014
Bob Martinez in Site Talk

Jim Leff's Slog: Chowhound's Coup de Grace

Jason had some issues but the real damage was done by Steven Shaw, who finally kicked Jason off the site he co-founded.

Aug 08, 2014
Bob Martinez in Site Talk