The Microsoft “User” Experience

May 15, 2014

Do You Enjoy The Microsoft User Experience?

I don’t.

Today, I turn on my computer to see this:

Microsoft User Experience Updates

Fifteen “important” updates, 94.7MB’s worth.


My reaction: something’s terribly wrong.

But what? How bad is it? Was my computer already hurt?

It’s just not a comforting “welcome-to-a-new-day” moment.

Part two of the experience is hardly warm and fuzzy, either.

You have to restart your computer.

Not knowing what, if any, impact, these “important” updates may have on other software.

Only after you restarting will you learn.

But, please, restart your computer. Trust us:

Microsoft User Experience Important Updates

On this day, after restarting, I “experienced” trouble connecting to the internet.

Due to one of Microsoft’s 15 important updates?

I don’t know.

But it happened.

Nothing about the experience is enjoyable.

The text, process, multiple steps, time required, the operational uncertainty.

All uncomfortable, at best.

Why does Microsoft continue this experience?

Is this the best the U.S.-based business can do?

Does anyone enjoy it?

Do you?

It’s almost as if we have to put up with Microsoft.

Because that’s the way, “It’s always been.”



Twitter: @schwartznow

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I Almost Choked to Death. Alone

May 6, 2014

What to do if you’re by yourself and choking


  • My throat still hurts.
  • I’m still scared.
  • And I don’t know whether or not to tell my family.
  • But I came within seconds of choking to death last night.
  • Alone. That’s the lede. I can’t bury it.
  • I used the word “bury” on purpose.
  • Lede is journalism jargon for, “The bottom line.”
  • If you want the first-aid, bottom line, choking tips from experts, scroll down.


  • I made spaghetti. Thought: “Add cucumber. Make it more healthy.”
  • Diced a cucumber.
  • Added diced cukes to the noodles.
  • Sat down to eat.
  • And type on my computer in between chomps.
  • Did that slurp-the-spaghetti-noodle thing.
  • You know, suck-slurp in a mouthful of noodles.


  • Suddenly I couldn’t breathe.
  • Unknowingly, a cucumber slice hiding in the noodles slurped into the back of my mouth like a cork on a bottle.
  • A shock wave of total fear overcame me.


  • When I was a teen, a dried apricot once flew into the back of my throat, as I walked down some stairs.
  • The apricot blocked my air path completely.
  • Somehow, in seconds of desperate clawing, I got my whole hand into my mouth and ripped the apricot out.
  • My parents were there, then, watching.
  • It’s taken me many decades to eat a dried apricot, again.
  • Only this year in fact.


  • So, last night, I knew instantly I was in serious trouble.
  • Something lodged in my throat.
  • This time, I was alone.
  • No help around.

In the next six seconds, all this happened:

  • I tried to hold still, choking, though.
  • Walked three steps to the kitchen sink, choking.
  • Debated dialing 9-1-1, choking.
  • Started to blackout, choking.
  • I mean, I saw stars, and blackness.
  • Experienced more fear than I’ve ever known.
  • Felt regret at being unable to say goodbye to my Wingman, and tell him I love him.
  • Realized I was about 4 seconds from being found on the kitchen floor…days later? By whom?
  • Decided I had one chance to use my fingers to rip out whatever blocked my windpipe.
  • Or die.
  • Before I could dial 9-1-1.
  • I gave one, huge push-cough-attempt as I frantically used my fingers to rip away at the food in my throat.
  • My stomach pressed against the ledge of the kitchen counter.


A large piece of cucumber flew out:

Choking First Aid Alone

Choked on this. About 2-inches across.

It’s gross to look at, now.

This cucumber piece was hiding in the noodles I slurp-sucked in.

My hands are large.

They provide scale.

That’s about 2-inches across of “healthy.”


  • Spent the next hour shaken by a mixture of fear, adrenaline, relief, shame, guilt.
  • Should’ve been more careful. Done this instead of that, etc.
  • Sipped some warm soup.
  • Because my throat hurt.
  • And I wanted to see if I could still swallow.
  • I’ve not eaten since.
  • And, when I do, it will be only soup for a while.
  • I probably came within a few seconds of dying.
  • Like 3-to-4 seconds, not 10 or 20.
  • Alone.
  • In fear.
  • There was no white light.
  • There were stars you see like when you’re light-headed.
  • And blackness.
  • My vision going out.

Here is what Dr. Oz says you should do if you’re choking, and alone:


Here is what the Mayo Clinic says:



  • If choking, and you have enough air in your lungs, do an immediate, violent cough.
  • The hardest push-out cough you can do.
  • If that doesn’t work, try the Heimlich maneuver selfie above. Fast!
  • Have a 9-1-1 one-button option on speed dial.
  • But you probably will not have time to press it.
  • You likely face a choice: try to save yourself or die trying.


  • Watch the tips above, now.
  • Practice them. As a family.
  • Because if it happens, you only have seconds.

If you ever, ever see someone jump up, holding their throat, it’s the real deal.

Call 9-1-1 and know how to dislodge whatever’s stuck in their craw.

I saved someone’s life at work once like this.

Last night, someone saved mine.

I’m not sure it was me.

Perhaps my past experience?

Fear (or shame) of dying like that?

Something guided me to the kitchen sink vs. taking time to dial 9-1-1.

It was either/or…not both.

I’m alive to blog about it.

I don’t know why.

Update – Mayo Clinic tips say dial 9-1-1, first:

“To perform abdominal thrusts (Heimlich maneuver) on yourself:

“First, if you’re alone and choking and you have a landline phone, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.

“Place a fist slightly above your navel.

“Grasp your fist with the other hand and bend over a hard surface — a countertop or chair will do.

“Shove your fist inward and upward.”

I have one more thought.

Unlock your door, if possible, before passing out.



Twitter: @schwartznow

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Chipotle Needs Beano

May 6, 2014

What’s Wrong With Chipotle?

James Covert writing for The New York Post:

“Proxy advisory firm ISS … blasted lavish pay packages for the Mexican-food chain’s two CEOs, who together earned $58 million last year, capping a a three-year run in which they’ve pocketed a combined $300 million.”

Two CEOs.

$58 million in a year.

On top of that, Chipotle is raising your prices.


“Getting a steak burrito bowl? That’ll be 8.3 percent more in New York City. While you’re at it, be prepared to fork over 11.1 percent more for guacamole.”

So, the bosses get more.

And get to charge you more.

What do investors think?


Chipotle Stock Pain

That “blue box”? Pain. Investors waiting to break even.


Unless you sold Chipotle in February, you’re in pain.

Its stock is broken technically.

Bearish below its 50MA on a daily chart.

Any “long” investor in that “blue box” holds Chipotle stock at a loss.

CEO pay, aside.

Price hikes, aside.

I’m talking business.

And reputation management.

Chipotle’s chart is broken.

$110 off its high.

Chipotle, a Colorado business, needs Beano.

Eat that.

But want to invest?

Consult your advisor.



Twitter: @schwartznow

Digital Hubs:  Here or Here


#AmazonCart – Listening Wall Street?

May 6, 2014

Twitter, Amazon team to boost ‘now commerce’

Teaming up: Amazon and Twitter.

Benny Evangelista writing for The Chronicle:

“The two tech giants said … Amazon members can automatically save items to their online shopping carts by replying to any tweet containing an Amazon product link and writing the hashtag #AmazonCart.”

And if you use that hashtag?

The ultimate word-of-mouth. Why?

Because the world can see:

“…on its website, Amazon also notes that ‘most content is public on Twitter,’ so any replies with #AmazonCart ‘will be visible to whomever you replied, to those viewing the conversation, and on your own Timeline (unless your Twitter account is set to private).'”

So, using the #AmazonCart hashtag is public.

Intended or not, becomes a public endorsement.

Not bad, if you’re a celebrity.

Perhaps one paid to tweet your purchases?

Me? If buying something, I want to do so quickly.

Two clicks, maximum.


Because an order of Omaha Steaks for clients is not viral.

Same with California wine or Oregon fruit for family.

Or Legal Sea Foods crab cakes for myself.


They reacted “meh” to the Amazon-Twitter partnership:

Amazon Twitter #AmazonCart

Amazon daily chart bearish technically: below 50, 200MAs


Twitter Amazon Partnership #AmazonCart

Twitter stock remains below its IPO low


One thought.

Amazon, behind Jeff Bezos, has sweet CIA business.

In short, people in the know, trust Amazon to be in the know.

Secure, too.

What happens when one can buy stocks with a hashtag?

Who needs TD Ameritrade, Fidelity, E-Trade?

Ten shares of Apple, please, hashtag #AmazonCart.

Just musing aloud.



Twitter: @schwartznow

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How is Google Fiber Doing?

May 1, 2014

Cities Meet Google Fiber Deadline, but ‘Loose Ends’ Remain

Thirty-four cities meet a key Google Fiber deadline.

That according to Alistair Barr writing for The WSJ.D:


Google Fiber Status Alistair Barr WSJ

Credit: Google and The WSJ.D


Barr says Fiber is complicated:

“Among other things, Google needs to buy or lease land for its Fiber huts, which are larger than 1,000 square feet, and finalize those license agreements with several cities. It’s seeking to streamline permitting processes for thousands of permit applications. And it needs video-franchise agreements with the city or state, giving it permission to build a local network.”

Investors watch closely:

“The complicated process has sparked concern on Wall Street that Google may spend too much on Fiber and generate small returns on the investment.”


GOOGL Class A stock

GOOGL Class A shares bounce after fall to $511


Google’s stock has drifted lower since an unusual stock split in April.

Proof that Google Fiber is not a good investment?

The market will weigh in over time.

Google’s got time … and capital.

Twitter: @schwartznow

Digital Hubs:  Here or Here


Google’s Fountain of Youth?

April 20, 2014

Geneticist Cynthia Kenyon is heading to Google

Kenyon will join Calico – Google’s mysterious health venture.

Stephanie M. Lee writing in The Chronicle:

“Google has revealed little about Calico since the search giant formed the independent company in September, except that it wants to slow aging and fight age-related diseases. As Google CEO Larry Page once put it, Calico is truly a ‘moon shot.'”

Cynthia Kenyon Geneticist Google Calico

Cynthia Kenyon, Ph.D. Credit: UCSF

Kenyon is a pioneer in the genetics of aging.

Her role at Google’s Calico? Not detailed.

Her background may provide some clues, quoting:

“‘Age is the single largest risk factor for an enormous number of diseases,’ she explained to The Chronicle in 2005. ‘So if you can essentially postpone aging, then you can have beneficial effects on a whole wide range of disease.'”

Calico is collecting scientific heavyweights.

Its CEO is Arthur Levinson – the board chair of Genentech and Apple.

Sounds like a health “Skunk Works.”

Fountain of Youth-like stuff.

One more thought from reporter Lee about Kenyon:

“So deep is her dedication that she avoids bread and sugar – except dark chocolate – because studies show they speed up aging.”




Twitter: @schwartznow

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Heartbleed Suspect Nabbed

April 17, 2014

Heartbleed Bug Hacker Charged by RCMP

Suspected Heartbleed hacker, Stephen Arthuro Solis-Reyes, 19, arrested.

Press release from The Royal Canadian Mounted Police:

“The RCMP treated this breach of security as a high priority case and mobilized the necessary resources to resolve the matter as quickly as possible. Investigators from National Division, along with our counterparts in ‘O’ Division have been working tirelessly over the last four days analyzing data, following leads, conducting interviews, obtaining and executing legal authorizations and liaising with our partners,” said Assistant Commissioner Gilles Michaud.”

According to The Washington Post:

“Earlier this week, the Canada Revenue Agency said an attacker using Heartbleed stole 900 Social Security numbers. It was the first known case of a hacker taking advantage of the security flaw for malicious purposes.”

Okay, I’ve been changing passwords left and right.

But now a 19-year-old is in custody.

Jailed by The Royal Gendarmerie of Canada:

Heartbleed Suspected Arrested RCMP

Credit: Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Wikipedia.

Mounted Police.

Helped by “O” Division.

Not a double-O, as in a “Bond” movie.

Single-O. Still cool enough.

And a teen.

In Canada.

Knew it all along.

This means the Heartbleed scare is over.

That my privacy is assured.




Twitter: @schwartznow

Digital Hubs:  Here or Here


How to View the Lunar Eclipse

April 14, 2014

A Lunar Eclipse Viewing Guide

Lunar Eclipse Blood Moon

Source: NASA

No binoculars or telescope needed.

Only clear skies.




Twitter: @schwartznow

Digital Hubs:  Here or Here


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