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Apr 21, 2010 12:59 PM

Release Today April 21st!

Hi Chowhounds-
We pushed a release today and wanted to let you know of a couple new features that are available.

Updates and Fixes to Photo Uploading on the Boards-
The thumbnails are bigger! No more undecipherable images. And when you click one of the images, you’ll see a gallery of photos from that post. Clicking through to the user’s photos shows them all tiled. We’ve also made it easier to upload.

Facebook 'Like' Feature on Restaurants and Recipes-
Facebook asked that CHOW be one of the beta partners for their new “Like” feature. On all videos, stories, recipes, and restaurant pages there’s now a Like button at the top. If you like something — and we hope you do -- in the general sense and the Facebook sense — you can click the button and it will post to your Facebook wall with a comment if you’ve made one. We are very excited about how Facebook users will now be able to share CHOW content so easily.

Facebook Activity Widget –
On the home page we will be showcasing Facebook users’ activity across the site. If you are a registered Facebook user, and logged in, you will be able to see your activity as well as your friends activities.

Restaurant Photos in Photo Galleries-
On restaurant pages, you can click a photo to see it in a big gallery format. Just click “back to restaurant” to get back to the main page.

Photo Gallery End Page-
When users get to the end of a recipe photo gallery we now offer suggestions of other galleries that you might like.

The Chow Team

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Thanks! That photo improvement is especially welcome.

    7 Replies
    1. re: squid kun

      Ditto, love the larger photos in posts. Also notice that photo file size maximum is now 10 megs instead of 2.


      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

        Wow! What an improvement. Nice tart, too!


        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

          Looks like we can post way more photos per post, too. I just read some reports on the SF board with 16 photos in each!

          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

            I think that was me, and boy howdy was posting pix ever nice compared to before. Thanks CH team!

            1. re: grayelf

              It was you! So nice to view all those nice, big photos while seeing the context in the post.

        2. re: squid kun

          Ditto, noticed it yesterday, a great improvement over the original thumbnail, thanks, guys!

          1. re: squid kun

            Well, color me Unimpressed so far. Grumble, grumble ....
            The previous menu pics I loaded before the change didn't look better,
            and I can't load and view most Places in Gallery mode.

            For instance, see this Place:
            Perhaps the page serving hamsters are just too busy on a Saturday afternoon.

            EDIT: newly scanned a menu 520 pixels wide and uploaded it for this Place:
            Unfortunately, the gallery page layout limits the vertical dimension and squeezes the whole picture.

            Chowhound Web Designer FAIL!!
            You're so close. Please move the navigation icons to Above the picture and compress or relocate the elements in the right hand column to increase picture space. The bottom copyright banner should float like most web pages.

          2. Interesting! Really cool new functionality--nice going!

            I have a question re what you've stated about the Facebook Activity Widget –how does this work? I ask because I am not kattyeyes on Facebook and use a different e-mail addy there, so how would my activities link? Wait, I think I can partially answer my own question--this is specific to Chow content, not Chowhound, right?

            I also really LIKE the idea of a LIKE feature. Will that eventually expand to include ability to LIKE people's posts? There are times someone writes something so perfect, there is absolutely nothing I can add except a post to say how much I agree...and after a handful of others post their agreement, I feel goofy to add yet another "right on" kinda sentiment, as much as it applies.

            6 Replies
            1. re: kattyeyes

              I hope not. I think anything that marks one poster's posts as somehow better than another's would be against the ethos of this site.

              1. re: Chris VR

                Another vote for against adding a voting or "liking" feature.


                1. re: Chris VR

                  I wasn't thinking of LIKE as marking anyone's posts as somehow better than another's. I was thinking along the lines of "+1" or "I agree."

                  In fact, I was specifically thinking of moh's response on the Sam Fujisaka tribute thread. What she wrote was so lovely, rather than add on to the thread to say so, it would have been perfect to click LIKE or +1 just to say, "I wholeheartedly think so, too." Instead, I'll just let that be known here even though she will probably not "hear" me.

                  1. re: Chris VR

                    I'm against that idea also. And I'm trying (really) to not just say "me too" quite as often :)

                  2. The facebook plugin on the home page is showing me people who I do not know and am not friends with on facebook. This concerns me, as I don't want my own activity to be public and I suspect it is.

                    20 Replies
                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      A friend posted the following yesterday on Facebook which should help you:
                      <<There is a new privacy setting called "Instant Personalization" that shares data with non-facebook websites and it is automatically set to "Allow." It will also share your friends' information with those sites. Go to Account > Privacy Settings > Applications and Websites and uncheck "Allow".">>

                      1. re: kattyeyes

                        On top of that, be sure to log out of Facebook before coming to Chowhound or other sites that are now tied to Facebook.

                        1. re: kattyeyes

                          Nope, I had already blocked the Instant Personalization sites in my privacy settings.

                          Looking further, it seems that social plugins are viewable by everyone, even non FB members.
                 needs to have an unlike button fir backing out.

                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                            Understood. I didn't see a "block application" option on the page.

                        2. re: Melanie Wong

                          I think it's a fair bet to assume anything you do via Facebook, on any site, including their own, isn't going to have protection of your privacy as a primary goal. If that bothers you (and there are plenty of reasons why it should), then it's probably best to eschew any Facebook features on any site... and they seem to be rolling this sort of thing out everywhere. Changing those setting as kattyeyes suggests helps, but Facebook's business model is not geared towards restricting these types of interactions and information sharing. I think Facebook's benefits outweigh its flaws, but if I was really concerned about privacy, I'd delete my account

                          1. re: Chris VR

                            I'm not privacy phobic but when you combine that with the fact that I don't particularly care for FB (I'm SICK of all those people who want to be "friends") I think I will opt out. Thanks for the info.

                            1. re: Chris VR

                              It would be helpful if someone who is not one of my FB friends could confirm that the activity widget on the home page shows my name. Maybe I'm seeing other people just because they haven't selected the same privacy settings I have and allow more of their info to be public. I suspect that's not the case but I'd still like to know, and then Chow should change its description of what the widget does.

                              1. re: Melanie Wong

                                Melanie, not sure if this helps, but here's a screenshot of what I see. I'm not logged into Facebook. It seems to show a random selection of FB users' activity - even to folks not logged into a Facebook account.

                                1. re: kpzoo

                                  Thanks for taking the screenshot.

                                  Looking at the activity widget on the homepage, I now see that there is a vertical line. Above the line is my own name and my friends' names, and below are the people I don't know. That's explained here.
                                  Sharing a link to hits the activity widget as well, not just "like".

                                  I clicked on the names of the people that I don't know, and all their walls and info were public to me. If Scott Canfield, Dani Rodriguez or Ray Claridge are reading this, do you intend for your FB pages to be public? Each of these people "shared" and didn't hit the activity widget using the "like" feature.

                                  I'd like to figure out what part of my activity is displayed, as I have often "shared" content from this site on FB, meaning that I post links on my FB wall. I can avoid the "like" button feature going forward. But it would be a change for me to not share my chowhound posts with my FB friends.

                                  If any of my non-FB friends see my name cross the activity widget, please speak up.

                                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                                    Just remembered that the FB feature only applies to pages and not, so I should be fine linking chowhound posts.

                                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                                      I am not a facebook friend of Melanie Wong and I have never seen any of your activity on the site. Hope that helps.

                                      1. re: lainiecosgrove

                                        Thanks for checking in on the weekend, lainie.

                                        Looking at the widget again now, Chow editor, Lessley Anderson's name just came up, and her FB wall and info are open to me when I click on the links. We do have some friends in common, which might be one explanation, but please check with her if she intends for her FB pages to be open to the public.

                                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                                          all of her info is public to me - I'm on facebook, but i'm not her friend.

                                          ZERO privacy.

                                          1. re: escargot3

                                            But that would be a result of her Facebook privacy settings -- it doesn't have anything to do with the CHOW / FB connection. I can go to her profile from an account with no connections to anybody, strictly by navigating via FB, and still see a great deal of information about her.

                                            1. re: Jacquilynne

                                              Jacquilynne is correct that the profile privacy settings would need to be adjusted on the Facebook side, Chow does not have control over privacy settings for Facebook users.

                                              1. re: Jacquilynne

                                                I may be misunderstanding the whole thing, but it looks to me like that only works if you know the person's name or FB-registered email address to begin with - you can't find random people you notice elsewhere on the web unless they provide that information themselves. I don't use my full name on Chowhound, but I do on FB. Purely apart from my FB activity being made more obviously-accessible, I don't want my name showing up on Chow/Chowhound, preferably at all, let alone on the home page, unless I am clearly aware beforehand that it will happen. Do I assume correctly that that info is not stored and somehow used by site software? I don't care if the Chowhound PTB know my full name, I just don't want it showing up randomly on the site forever just because I was foolish enough to click on a FB "like button" once as an experiment!

                                            2. re: Melanie Wong

                                              Hi guys,
                                              Thanks for using my Fbook page as the guinea pig! Seems like a little less TMI might be in order, so I'll check my privacy settings. :)

                                              1. re: lessleyellen

                                                I just listened to a podcast that quipped that Facebook settings are the VCR programming of our times, namely that most people don't bother or don't know how to work it!

                                                P.S. Your FB wall is still public.

                                    2. re: Chris VR

                                      I just deleted myself from FB and thank you. I wouldn't have known how to do that. I do enough socializing without that intrusion.

                                    3. re: Melanie Wong

                                      The more I am exposed to Facebook's insidious practices of automatically opting participants in to "features", the more I learn to hate Mark Zukerberg and his minions. Facebook can be a great way to stay in touch with friends and family, but I would caution everyone to be very circumspect before blindly accepting all of it's enticements.

                                      I am not going to be using the "Like" button on Chow, I prefer to remain in control of when and what personal information or values I share with the whole world.

                                    4. As noted upthread by kattyeyes, for more enhanced privacy with Facebook, go to Account on your FB home page, click on Account, > Applications and Websites, > edit setting at the Instant Personalization Pilot Program (bottom of page) > uncheck Allow (Allow select partners to instantly personalize... ) at bottom of page.

                                      Under Profile information, change your privacy settings to "only me" "only friends" or "friends of friends," however you wish for that particular catagory, for more privacy.

                                      Log out of FB first when logging into other sites, like Chow.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: bushwickgirl

                                        I don't think it's relevant whether one is or is not logged into Facebook, is it? Whether you're logged in to FB would only affect what you yourself see - on your computer with the appropriate FB cookie in place - it wouldn't have any bearing on whatever other people see, would it?

                                        1. re: bushwickgirl

                                          Just to clear up a couple points regarding Facebook privacy as it relates to CHOW and Chowhound:

                                          - We are NOT part of the Instant Personalization Pilot Program. Any changes you make to that setting will not affect CHOW or Chowhound.

                                          - Facebook defines "like" as public action, and there is currently no way to change that setting. (This currently only applies to CHOW as the "like" button has not been added to Chowhound.)

                                          - We have made a change to the widget on the homepage so it will only show your friends' names. Also, this widget only shows activity on CHOW.

                                          1. re: Engineering

                                            Thanks for making that change. Showing only one's friends and the aggregated info (n people shared this) is more useful info than the previous listings of unknown names.

                                            1. re: Engineering

                                              I hate the widget. Is there a way to opt out? Yes, I fully understand that only my facebook friends are technically able to see my activity there. I don't care. Frankly, I don't trust the facebook privacy settings, which are constantly changing with no notice. I am not comfortable with all this overlap between sites I use. I prefer the compartmentalization...and keeping my privacy.

                                              The widget is a very annoying addition and a cheap way to get more site traffic. I don't want to be constantly reminded of links I've posted to facebook, and I don't care what my facebook friends are posting from Chow. I already see all that crap on facebook as it is. It is redundant and unnecessary.

                                              The plugin is just another reminder that basic info on my facebook page, including my name and profile photo, are now part of the public domain whether I like it or not. I hate that I have no control over whether or how (or any other website) pulls info from my profile.

                                              At least allows site visitors to opt out if the facebook feed. Please consider doing the same.

                                              1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                Even CNN allows for an opt-out:

                                                PLEASE institute one ASAP and provide clear directions on how to opt out.

                                          2. Haven't had a chance yet to take the new photo-loading fix on a test drive, but really looking forward to doing so. Could you tell us, please, what the new optimal pixel dimensions are?

                                            7 Replies
                                            1. re: JoanN

                                              Okay. Just posted my first photo with the new specs:


                                              Just because I could, I posted a photo that was 8.44 MBs. Took for-ev-er to load; takes for-ev-er to open from the post. Clearly, in retrospect, not a good idea.

                                              Looked to me as though all posted photos are now cropped (or squeezed or stretched or whatever) into a square shape. Is that true? My way-too-large photo was 4800 X 4800 pixels. Okay, I know; overkill. But at least the proportions seemed to be right. I wasn’t aware of distortions from the (admittedly, not very good) original.

                                              But I would really appreciate it if someone from tech could just give us a flat-out statement of what the ideal dimensions of a posted photo ought to be. I know there are professional photographers on this board who have jumped through hoops to try to help us amateurs in the past, but it would just be so much easier if the people who set it up in the first place could say, make the photo this many MBs, this many pixels X pixels, this many inches X inches at X resolution for optimum loading and display.

                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                Well, I'm not "someone from tech" but hopefully I can help shed a bit of light.

                                                Ideal resolution: no more than 72 dpi (96 dpi at the most) Monitors cannot display any higher res than this, so uploading giant 600 dpi files is a waste.

                                                Ideal file size/weight: this is subjective, but I'd aim for no bigger than 100-500 K at the most. With the small dimensions we're talking about here, there should be no reason or need for it to be any heavier than that, except perhaps in rare circumstances.

                                                Dimensions: I looked at one of my uploads and the dimensions it's been cropped to are 520 pixels wide by 390 high. So I'd say go for 520 px wide max, and keep the height proportional to that. (note: there is no such thing as "inches" in web dimensions. We deal in pixels only.)

                                                Height/width Proportions: the photos seem to be cropped to a square in their thumbnail forms only (i.e. small versions embedded into the post), but the larger size that you see if you click on a thumbnail retain their original proportions.

                                                I would love for the official tech folks to chime in and confirm or deny all this, when they have a chance. :-)

                                                1. re: kpzoo

                                                  Of course you're right about the 72 dpi, and I do know that even if for this test I chose to ignore it.

                                                  I used to crop my photos to 520 X 390. In fact, that was always the easiest way for me to make sure my photos were posting as best they could. But I'm no longer sure that that's the ideal. Should it be 520 X 520? Could it be something else?

                                                  I appreciate your input. Really. But I do wish someone with inside info would chime in with a definitive answer.

                                                  1. re: kpzoo

                                                    Hi JoanN and kpzoo,
                                                    The optimal resolution for photos on chowhound is 72 dpi. Kpzoo is correct that most monitors don't display higher rez than 96dpi. Try to save your photos no bigger than 400K and choose 520 w by 390h as the max dimension for optimal results. Hope that helps.

                                                    1. re: CHOW HQ

                                                      Thank you.

                                                      Posting a test here. I cropped the above photo to 520 X 390 with a 96 dpi rez. File size is 231 K. Just curious to see how this compares to the one linked to above.

                                                      ETA: Guess I'm still not understanding something. Why is it optimal to crop to a landscape dimension (520 X 390) if photo posts as square (105 X 105)?

                                                      ETA, yet again: Okay. I think I get it now. Photos embedded in posts are square, but the same photo in the gallery is landscape. Right?

                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                        The "photo" you see in a post is a thumbnail, or a resized version of your photo. Click on the photo and you will see the full sized version.
                                                        For whatever reason the thumbnail view is cropped on the left and right (your pic above) and displayed as a square image instead of a proportional reduction of the original.

                                                        1. re: hannaone

                                                          I see that now. It just took me a helluva lot longer to figure that out than it probably took most other people. I had been thinking that there was a change in how the full-sized photos were displayed and not just that there was an increase in the size of the thumbnails. Not that I'm complaining about the larger thumbnail, just thought there was more to this than there seems to be.