Bob Martinez's Profile

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Not So Pioneer Woman?

Sandra Lee was Satan.

about 8 hours ago
Bob Martinez in Food Media & News

Grassfed beef taste test

"Tell that to Julia Child."

Actually, Julia's burger recipe calls for a meat mixture of 15% to 20% fat.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ju...

about 8 hours ago
Bob Martinez in General Topics

Grassfed beef taste test

Burgers with low fat content are drier too. I figure if I'm only going to eat one burger a month a little fat isn't going to kill me.

Grassfed beef taste test

" "Only use the leanest ground beef you can find to make hamburgers". Who said this? "

Someone who's wrong.

I've seen chef after chef talk about making burgers and they always recommend at least a 20% fat content in their burgers.

Occasionally you'll find a chef that uses a leaner blend but then they wind up putting a pat of butter of the finished burger.

Fat = flavor.

Being "put to work" at a Christmas Party

I think you need to get to know Roz better.

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9985...

A Faster Chowhound: Pagination for Longer Threads

One of my favorite quotes is from Winston Churchill - "However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results."

The recent "show all" decision was made to speed up thread loading times. I decided to test that out. I took two long threads - one had 310 posts and the other 150. I timed how long it took to load them under both options - view all vs. collapse previously read posts.

I'll post the numbers in a minute but first a little bit of clarification.

The new option *is* significantly quicker but it comes with the major disadvantage that a user wastes a lot of time trying to figure out what they've already read.

There's another complication in doing a comparison - collapsed threads load in two stages. When you click to open the thread the screen freezes for a few seconds. Then, BEFORE THE THREAD HAS FULLY LOADED, it's possible to scroll down while other posts continue to load. You don't have to wait until the thread is fully loaded to begin viewing multiple screens full of replies.

I did my tests using a laptop with a wired Internet connection and a tablet using wi-fi. The numbers were almost identical so I'm only going to quote a single set of timings.

------------------------------------------------
310 Post Thread

Pagination (Show All Posts) - 5 seconds

Collapse read posts:
partial load, scrolling possible - 10 seconds

Fully loaded - 22 seconds

151 Post Thread

Pagination (Show All Posts) - 5 seconds

Collapse read posts:
partial load, scrolling possible - 8 seconds

Fully loaded - 15 seconds
------------------------------------------------

While ignoring the read status of posts does improve the loading time the differences from the "collapse read" method are only significant if a user waits until a thread is fully loaded to begin scrolling. Otherwise if the user starts scrolling while the thread continues to load in the background the difference is only 3 or 4 seconds.

Dec 18, 2014
Bob Martinez in Site Talk

A Faster Chowhound: Pagination for Longer Threads

Pat, who do you think writes all those posts on the long threads? The magic Food Faeries?

Those long threads are conversations between a group of real people. They write multiple posts over the period of time that the thread is active. Some of those threads say alive for weeks.

In order for the participants to keep on top of those threads and respond meaningfully they need an easy way to identify what has changed since the last time they checked in. Highlighting threads with new activity and collapsing previously read posts makes those long threads possible.

This functionality isn't a luxury - it's a necessity. I'm very concerned that this wasn't immediately apparent to the people who made this unfortunate decision.

BTW, if the idea behind this was to make things more convenient to drive by viewers - the type of people who show up on the site occasionally to read a bit, it makes even less sense. Those people aren't members. Every reply is always loaded whenever they click on a thread because read status isn't saved for non members.

You've managed to piss off your content producers with only marginal benefits for the drive by viewers.

A Faster Chowhound: Pagination for Longer Threads

HBO has announced that starting immediately all movies on their network are going to be shown at double speed.

Programming chief Ed Cigar explained -

"Nowadays people lead busy lives. They don't have time to dedicate 2 hours to watching a movie. Our patented Video Express system will allow people to watch a whole film in only 60 minutes. We know our viewers will be thrilled with this improvement."

A Faster Chowhound: Pagination for Longer Threads

Pat, was it your intention for pagination to show all threads and posts as unread?

Dec 18, 2014
Bob Martinez in Site Talk

A Faster Chowhound: Pagination for Longer Threads

Easily fixed. They could swallow their pride and make "collapse previously read comments" the default. Problem solved.

While they're at it they could fix the pagination feature to indicate which posts and threads have already been read. Right now, it doesn't work at all.

A Faster Chowhound: Pagination for Longer Threads

"So LindaWhit's concern below that Mr Big almost abandoned the site -- and others like him likely are -- does not seem to be a concern of TPTB."

I wouldn't conclude that this is part of some evil master plan by the site owners to drive up page views.

Never underestimate the power of pure stupidity. Even if you accept their explanations at face value, the change doesn't work. Even on smartphones threads that have been read completely show as unread. Posts on those threads that have been previously read show as fully expanded, not condensed.

The didn't test the change. Stupid.

They didn't announce it ahead of time. Stupid.

They buried the announcement on site talk instead of pinning it on every board. Stupid.

They made pagination the default for all users forcing thousands of people to reset their preferences. Stupid.

If I was a CBS manager I'd ask the engineering team for a count of how many active* users have switched their settings to turn off pagination. I'd track that for 3 or 4 weeks to get a real clear picture of how happy users have been with the change.

Then I'd call in the person who made the change into my office for a little talk.

-------------------------------------------

* It's important to see how many *active* users (people who sign in and read and post at least once or twice a week) turn off pagination. Someone who wanted to play with the stats could say "only 1,000 users turned off pagination and we have 20,000 registered users. See! People like it!"

The problem with that is if those 19,000 users haven't used the site in years. Counting them as "positive" for the change would be deceptive.

A Faster Chowhound: Pagination for Longer Threads

Pat, I am going to cut you *lots* of slack here because I have a feeling that reading these posts has been exquisitely painful for you and I want you to hear this.

Lets accept for the moment that it would be a benefit for some users on mobile devices to have long threads broken into pages. That still leaves a major question -

What would be the benefit for NOT showing which posts and threads have previously been read?

Because that's the way it's set now. I just reset my default to "pagination" and all my previously read threads now show as unread. Within those threads all the previously read posts are fully expanded, not condensed. I checked it on my laptop and on my tablet - same thing. (WinXP, Firefox / Android Kitkat, Chrome)

Pat, I'm being as kind as I can here when I say that is, being as gentle as possible, counter-intuitive. Nobody would see that and say "Perfect. When I'm on my smartphone I love to read the same posts over and over again."

No one tested this. If you handed this to a student intern for 5 minutes they would have uncovered the problem.

site forgetting "read" posts

Dec 17, 2014
Bob Martinez in Site Talk

site forgetting "read" posts

Thanks! That worked. I see that the other thread explained the change.

A suggestion to the engineers - if you're going to make a fundamental change to the site you may want to think about pinning a notification post to the top of every board explaining what's going on.

site forgetting "read" posts

I started having this problem a couple of hours ago. I logged out and then logged back in. The site still doesn't remember threads and posts that I've read.

Dec 17, 2014
Bob Martinez in Site Talk

Servers who pick up dishes but not flatware between courses: was I rude to bring this up?

"Just got back from a modestly priced restaurant where the service was observant but unobtrusive, tables spaced well, servers who didn't reach in front of diners, etc."

I'm confused. Earlier you said this -

"Even in high priced restaurant, American servers are incompetent."

Where did you have this meal?

Dec 16, 2014
Bob Martinez in Not About Food

Being "put to work" at a Christmas Party

Look at it this way. So many threads on the Not About Food board turn contentious but the Roz threads are filled with funny comments. She brings people together.

Being "put to work" at a Christmas Party

Best of Blog Voting Page

Works for me.

Windows XP / Firefox 34.0.5.

Dec 16, 2014
Bob Martinez in Site Talk

Great Italian in Dyker Heights

I'll chime in on the New Corner recommendation.

You may also want to try La Sorrentina. Robert Sietsemsa recently mentioned it in a roundup of the 10 best old fashioned restaurants in Brooklyn.

http://ny.eater.com/2014/12/1/7315673...

Dec 16, 2014
Bob Martinez in Outer Boroughs

Carnegie Deli or Katz's?

I don't think we disagree. I was confused when you said this -

"So one day, maybe Katz's will be sold for an offer they can't refuse like $50 million for land and business."

As long as the restaurant will continue to remain in business I think things will be fine.

Dec 15, 2014
Bob Martinez in Manhattan

Servers who pick up dishes but not flatware between courses: was I rude to bring this up?

That works too. It's really not hard to figure out ways to do this type of thing.

Dec 15, 2014
Bob Martinez in Not About Food

Servers who pick up dishes but not flatware between courses: was I rude to bring this up?

At least in the NYC area, which has 650,000 Chinese, the largest Chinese population outside Asia, chopstick holders are a rarity. A simple and effective workaround is to remove the chopsticks from the paper holder at the start of the meal and fold it into a V.

Presto. A chopsticks holder.

Dec 15, 2014
Bob Martinez in Not About Food

Being "put to work" at a Christmas Party

In the spirit of Christmas and Santa Claus, I want to believe in "Roz."

Servers who pick up dishes but not flatware between courses: was I rude to bring this up?

Common in Australia too.

Dec 15, 2014
Bob Martinez in Not About Food

Carnegie Deli or Katz's?

You know about David's Brisket House in Brooklyn, right? They have 2 locations and don't own their buildings. Their pastrami sandwiches are comparable to Katz's but bigger and cheaper.

Dec 14, 2014
Bob Martinez in Manhattan

Servers who pick up dishes but not flatware between courses: was I rude to bring this up?

You made a very broad statement -

"Even in high priced restaurant, American servers are incompetent."

I asked you to clarify it. It's not a trick question.

Dec 14, 2014
Bob Martinez in Not About Food

Servers who pick up dishes but not flatware between courses: was I rude to bring this up?

You disparaged ALL American servers so I was wondering where you're getting this superlative service.

You either overstated your original point or you were speaking about service in another country.

Which is it?

Dec 14, 2014
Bob Martinez in Not About Food

Ground Beef: Are my taste buds getting too old, or does Ground Beef have little taste compared to apprx 20 years ago?

Why?

Dec 14, 2014
Bob Martinez in General Topics

Burgeoning food safety questions

I know a number of women who also posted under their real names during the early days of CH. Unfortunately they had distinctive names and were easy to Google. They attracted stalkers. It was all kind of creepy. Later on they moved on to other food boards and used aliases.

For the most part men don't have to worry about stalkers although there's a couple of people on the NY board that I would prefer to avoid. OTOH the vast majority are fine and a number of them are terrific.

Dec 14, 2014
Bob Martinez in Site Talk