Monday, June 30, 2008

Howto: Argentinean BBQ == Asado

One of the things I miss the most from home is the food. Being from Argentina, that means beef in particular. Argentina is known for their meat, not only because of its quality, but because of the quantity. We eat almost every other weekend an average of 1.1 lb of meat per person in a feast called Asado.

Asado is nothing more than glorified BBQ that you share with friends and family, where multiple different types of 'cuts' are served. The most famous cuts are asado de tira (or costilas), bife de chorizo, vacio, matambre, entraña. The food is prepared using coal (or preferably wood coal) to give the meat a better taste. We also marinate the food with an assortment of things and serve it together with empanadas and salads, but the main event is the meat.

While trying to make an Asado I was faced with the problem of getting those cuts (and the price of course). After almost 2 years here, I have found the way to get them and just wanted to share the knowledge. Like in Argentina, the secret is to know a butcher. Any butcher can do, even those you find in your local convenience store. I'm in Seattle, so I go to my local Safeway ask specifically for the following:

  • Asado de tira: ask for ribs, flaken style, 2 inch wide and as much meat on top as possible.
  • Entraña: ask for skirt, and tell him to leave the fat that comes on top.
  • Matambre: rolled flank stake. This is very easy to get at any grocery store, although in the US they remove most of the fat. You can ask them to keep it.
  • Vacio: flank stake, although not quite. This is hard to get right as well. It is flank stake together with sirloin, so it is hard to ask.
  • Bife de Chorizo: I found this hard to get. You should ask for New York style Strip steak.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Friendfeed vs. Facebook

Today I read an interesting entry from Dare about his prediction of how much time it would take F/B to mimic Friendfeed. I actually always thought about it, because after all, FF is just a fancier feed aggregator that people have to configure while everyone else is already using F/B.

I'm really starting to hate the fragmentation so I welcome F/B additions. Although I think it is really irrelevant as FF is becoming the hub for Twitter frustrutaed users.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Active Sharing vs. Passive Sharing

Came home and was reading about Supernova Conference down in the Valley. Something resonated with me was a talk by Joe Kraus (a Google PM). Although he was talking about Google's Open Social, I was more interested in his framing of Active Sharing vs. Passive Sharing (the thinking revolves around something our group is working, but I like the Active/Passive term more).

The difference is kind of obvious. Active sharing, you are using email or other direct communication to 'share' some information with someone. You consciously decide the receivers. During this process you may miss people, may not be sure if they are interested or simply don't consider the information that important (people can become arrogant or spammers for sharing certain things, right?) In the presentation, Joe calls it high social activation energy. I think he misses the point that this is not only social, but that is because I believe he sees things through the Open Social lens.

The passive sharing is when I don't necessary send people direct communication, but relay on he connections to the people I have to get notified for me. There is a certain contract with this form of communication (that is represented most prominently in the form of feeds) that the recipient can access the information if they choose to and if they find it interesting. From there, they can even navigate and discover more information I left open to other people.

F/B personifies this example as it enables, through the social connections, the ability to notify my friends and let them filter out what they want. However, F/B lacks a compelling active sharing mechanism, or at least one as solid as email. They have direct messaging and even chat now, but they are not tightly integrated into each other as well as the feed. Before F/B, people relied on RSS as the feed. Blogs, flickr and youtube allowed to passively sharing news, photos and video while attracting eye balls to a site. But RSS is not as friendly as F/B connections which I'm sure make uploading pics in flickrs less popular these days (F/B statistics here and here). Nonetheless, because of their demographics and branding, they appeal more for the "social" interactions, and not the IW one, which is where I believe we should focus on.

The most critical discussion though remains how to move users from one model to the other, without alienating them of their current habits. I have some ideas (that may not work), but was more interested in yours.