Barbs Connected World

tomorrow's connected future is here today

Did the SP3 Simplo battery fix negatively impact LGC?

If you have a Surface Pro 3, you probably received a firmware update on or around 8/292016. This firmware update is a fix for Simplo batteries only. Most people have reported their SP3’s with Simplo batteries now show reasonable capacity (but there are customers reporting bricks).

A trend is appearing in the Microsoft Community Forums (Answers) that suggests that something in the firmware to fix Simplo has had a bad impact on Surface Pro 3’s equipped with LGC batteries. This thread has some folks posting about this (and there are a couple of others).

If you have a Surface Pro 3, you should open an administrative cmd prompt and type


  powercfg /battery report


Save the file and if it looks like the samples below, post in the above thread. As you can see, these folks are stuck on a fixed, less than 100% capacity. This condition was not present prior to the 8/29 firmware update. You can also let me know on Twitter, @barbbowman if you are impacted.



Heroes of 9/11


Aaron Burrows is the son of a lifelong friend, John Burrows. I am humbled and proud each time I read Aaron’s story. I know that there are countless stories like this one, but wanted to share the extraordinary courage of a real 9/11 hero that I have a connection to. Please pass this on and share.

My Story (Written Saturday, September 15th, 2001)

My name is Aaron Burrows. I am a Doctor, a medical resident at Saint Vincent’s Hospital, now one of the most famous hospitals in the world. But I am not a hero. My mother calls me and tells me that I am. My father calls me and says the same. My colleagues echo the sentiment. Even my old college friends email me and tell me that I am a hero. But I am not sure. I don’t know how to take this. I have been there and I have come back again. I have seen the morgues and I have helped the saved. I have heard thousands of stories of survival and of death. There are thousands of stories out there from survivors and rescue personnel and we have all heard many. But for every story we hear, there are a thousand more we haven’t heard and still thousands more we will never hear. This is my story, as a doctor, as a human, as a witness to atrocities and more importantly, as witness to the greatest outpouring of love and support perhaps ever seen by the world.

These stories you are unlikely to hear, simply because I am not a reporter. I ask different questions than they do and get different answers. The reporters ask, “How many are alive down there?” while we plan on ways to keep the living alive. The reporters ask, “Have you seen the morgue?” while I ask, “How do I help a rescuer forget what he has seen?” The reporters question me “Can you get me down to ground zero?” as I ask a firefighter how I can help him get back home. These are the stories that the press doesn’t tell, but that I want you to hear. These are stories about medical personnel that came together in the nation’s tragedy, not in a hospital where we are trained to work together but in the “Hot Zone” and “The Hole,” where we were all estranged and somehow still worked together.

Tuesday September 11, 2001: Frenzy at Saint Vincent’s Hospital Manhattan:
I am a senior resident in internal medicine and as such, I am lucky enough to find much free time throughout the year. September found me in a Gastroenterology elective at my home hospital, Saint Vincent’s in Greenwich Village. I remember sitting in rounds that morning discussing the day’s cases and planned colonoscopies and when I heared a low flying plane over the hospital. Immediately, I had the joking gut reaction I always have when I hear a low plane, “I hope it doesn’t hit our building!” I remember laughing in my head. Five minutes later, I heard “Code 3” over the PA system at Saint Vincent’s Hospital. Could it be? Another drill? This time I knew what Code 3 meant. Less than 4 months ago, I had heard the same “Code 3” yelled through the intercom system. Back then, I had to look at the back of my ID badge. “Code 1=Bomb Threat, Code 7= Psychiatry, Code 13=Security, Code 99=Cardiac Arrest, Code 4= Fire, Code 3=Disaster plan?” How ironic that we had had a practice Code 3 four months ago. A mock subway fire with 50 actor/patients filing into the ER in waves of ten or more. They were dressed in the appropriate clothing and made up by skilled makeup artists. My fellow residents and I later laughed that it was sometimes difficult to distinguish the real from the fake patients adding a whole different level of confusion to the surreal drill. But why another drill 4 months later? Hadn’t we done well the last time? I couldn’t understand. A minute later a nurse came into our small GI room and told us of the first plane crash. I began to tremble uncontrollably at the thought. The next hour was a blur of movement as the hospital was transformed into the Level I trauma center it had pledged to be. Internists grabbed for text books on the appropriate treatment of burn victims. Surgeons flooded the ER and Seventh Avenue. The rehabilitation gymnasium, usually full of patients building up their strength from recent illness, was immediately converted into “ER #2” designed to handle the less critically ill. The original ER exploded into a massive frenzy of workers. At times appearing chaotic but possessing an innate organization. Beds were placed on 7th avenue; wheel chairs, IV fluids and a washing station seemed to magically appear to line the street. Police guarded the street corners as the media lined the sidewalk. Inside the hospital, lounges were turned into NYPD command posts. The medical resident lounge was emptied and converted into an overflow morgue, covered with black plastic tarps and large air conditioners to cool it down. It was never needed. Critical care teams and surgeons treated the few burn victims and crushed bones. Some died, most lived and were transferred to the Cornell burn unit. One man, who had escaped from the top floors of tower one, had burnt more than half his body including his face. His face was swollen and he could barely see through his burnt eyelids. He opened his eyes in the intensive care unit and looked up at a young intern and joked, “You are very pretty. I guess I will have trouble getting a date from now on.” Humor from the rubble? I guess it is how some deal with their anguish. In the end, hundreds of Doctors and Nurses from all over the country came and signed in at Saint Vincent’s Hospital that day. They traveled by police escort across closed bridges, in EMS trucks through tunnels all to help out in the devastation. Podiatrists, chiropractors, oral surgeons, and dentists filed in with the traditional medical personnel. Hundreds came, but none were needed. The ER remained eerily quiet most of the day. On any other day, we hope the ER remains quiet so perhaps we can catch up on some email or call a friend and talk about dinner plans. I have often walked into the ER and commented on how quiet it was only to be quickly “shhhhhed” by a doctor or nurse for “jinxing the peace.” I made the same comment sadly on Tuesday and almost instinctively, a nurse snapped back “shhhh!” I turned to her and said, “ This isn’t like any day. You want it busy today. You want it really busy.” But it wasn’t.

A colleague of mine went down to ground zero early in the day. With his return came one of the few survivors from the initial collapse. My friend was covered head to toe in asbestos and had turned an ashen gray from his natural african-american skin tone. “Two hours to get him out! And I brought him to Saint Vincent’s” he said, with a stunned face. He described to me my first image of what ground zero looked like. In the end, my friend took a leave of absence a couple of days later. Was it the sight of ground zero that pushed him out? I can only speculate. Having seen it myself, I wouldn’t doubt it. And so we continued to wait. We had nothing else to do but watch in disbelief as the only patients to come to us were from the secondary rescue squads. As I sat there eyeing the media, I watched as a co-resident of mine, a friend for the past 2 years stand at his post near the ER for part of the day. He kept an ugly secret. Strong and silent he remained, doing what he could to help out, refusing to leave. He did this for a few hours before he left to be with his family. His father had been on the 102nd floor of tower 2 and would never be seen from again.
Wednesday September 12, 2001 8 AM “Ground Zero” becomes “Ground Hero”

At first I went to see “it” out of curiosity, to see a level of destruction and horror never seen in the U.S. before and rarely seen in other countries. Then I returned for fascination; how would they remove all the debris? Could anyone still be alive? I had already heard rumors about doctors amputating limbs of survivors in order to remove them. How they did this stuff outside the O.R.? Finally I returned for good. For 50+ straight hours…to help. You have seen the horrific pictures so I won’t describe it any further. All I will say is that the pictures do not do it justice. It is as close to hell as one would ever want to be. I arrived at the morgue where there was a forensics teams examining the bodies as they were brought in. A small triage area was located in the lobby of the Amex building (Three World Financial Center), limited supplies for treating the most common injuries such as eye irritation and inhalation injuries. In Amex, I met the “head” of this triage area. A man in his early 60’s whose name I cannot recall. A family practitioner from NY, with experience in family practice and probably none in disaster management, now thrust into the role of “Front Triage Leader”. I sat down next to him and I could see his eyes red with dust and tears and his body exhausted from the nights’ work. He didn’t speak, but simply put his arm around my shoulder. He had been there from the first moments and had stayed for almost 24 hours. Our first conversation was not even medical. He asked where I was from. Not which hospital, but from what town. Then he asked me if I was married. He rubbed my back for a few seconds as if he were to give some fatherly advice but he was unable to speak and so we began to plan for acquiring supplies. Coming from Saint Vincent’s I had many connections to the hospital’s supplies. My cell phone number, originally known to only my closest friends and family quickly became the major link between our medical triage areas downtown and the various rescue and organizational departments elsewhere. “ I need saline, dressings, gauze, syringes, oxygen tanks and I need them soon!” I yelled through my phone to whomever was on the other end of the line. I also realized we were not treating the people in the towers at that point. We were realistic enough to realize that massive numbers of survivors would not be pulled from the rubble. The hospitals had been so empty during the first 24 hours that it was quite clear that anyone pulled from the rubble at this point would be wisked immediately to area hospitals. We were preparing for the rescue worker’s hour-to-hour treatment and readying them to return to “The Hole.” From time to time, we would step outside and watch the rescue efforts. Welders cut through two foot I-beams, surgery teams joined together in case they were needed to be called in for an amputation. Police guarded a parking lot filled with cars that had been towed from the wreckage. They had been instantly vaporized by the collapse. You have seen the pictures. An hour later a head of the FDNY came in and ordered a mandatory evacuation of all civilians (MDs, RNs) from Amex. They were going to enforce a no civilian zone immediately around ground zero. “This is a crime scene and it is unsafe for civilians,” they yelled out to the 20 doctors loitering around. And so we walked north up West Street through the dust and debris to look for open arms at Stuyvesant High School; the only triage that we knew to still exist.
Wednesday September 12, 2001 9AM A team is formed and Triage grows

I had visited the Stuyvesant triage area the previous night and it was quiet. Triage is the art of sorting patient injuries and is broken down into four zones by color. Green is minor injuries, Yellow is moderate injuries, Red is critical/surgical and Black is deceased. In a mass casualty situation, tags of these colors are placed on patients at the scene according to the seriousness of their injuries. September 11th had all four zones, but when I returned early Wednesday morning, only yellow remained. Near the West street entrance to the lobby, a rapidly growing cafeteria-like area had replaced the “Green Zone.” Food shipments donated from some of the best restaurants in Manhattan arrived regularly as did truck loads of bottled water. Scientology volunteers passed out Gatorade and fed the rescue workers endlessly. The “Red Zone”, located near the bike path in the back part of lobby had been slowly changed into a small supply area. The “Yellow Zone” maintained its place in the center of the lobby. Five small cots remained empty and some volunteers sat beside them waiting. Farther in the back of the building was the theater, now the K-9 staging area and NYPD area. Upstairs on the second floor were some cots randomly arranged as a rest area. There were several generators supplying power to halogen lights that had been brought into the lobby of the school. No electrical outlets or switches worked and there was no running water in the bathrooms. Surrounding Stuyvesant High School were trailers and buses containing the heads of rescue and recovery operations: Office of Emergency Management (OEM was formerly located in the world trade centers), FDNY, NYPD, ATF, American Red Cross, Union County NJ command center and the like. Across Chambers Street, P.S. 40-something had been turned into the staging area for OEM, FDNY, ConEd, Verizon and several other organizations. Cafeteria tables were lined up for the various departments. A Verizon portable phone cart provided landline communications in the electricity and phone-deprived downtown. A large map of downtown lay taped to a support pillar in the middle.

This is where I met Joe Nuccio, a fomer firefighter turned paramedic turned nurse turned disc-jockey from Holbrook, NY, a father of 3 kids who wielded a pad of paper and seemed to stand alone in organizing the triage area. His features were friendly and warm. I asked how I could help and he told me I could help reorganize the area with him and Eric, an ER doctor from Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. Joe had already been working 12 hours and looked tired but refused to rest. I can only guess that it was my 6 foot 4 inch frame that landed me in the role of co-coordinator. Maybe he felt people would listen to me because of my size. Whatever it was, our core group had been formed for that day. Joe with his bullhorn dealing with the masses of volunteers and Eric and I reorganizing the “Yellow >Zone” for injuries we expected to get. When I first met Joe, I asked, “How did you get this job?”. He told me he had shown up the previous night to help and someone handed him a pad of paper and said, “ I am leaving now, you are in charge.” Joe turned to this man and replied “In charge of what?” “This triage center” came the reply.

Thus began Joe’s reign. A nurse/disc-jockey from NY, who 12 hours prior had been sitting home with his children, now in charge of the major triage center south of Canal street. Each time I approached him about going to take a break, he spoke about continuity of care and leadership. He felt he was our rock to stand on and did not want to pull it out from under us. Continuity of care is something that spoken of in hospitals all the time, but it had new meaning down here. When would this end and would Joe be there until then? In the end, Joe worked for 48 straight hours, refusing to give up his post as lead organizer. Later, just before he finally left to go back to home, I asked him why he had come to help. He explained that as he was watching the evolving news at home in Holbrook, he thought to himself, “What am I going to tell my 3 young kids? What will I tell them I did on those tragic days, when they are older” There was only one answer in his mind. He immediately drove to the nearest tunnel and caught a ride with a patrol car. This is where he stayed day in and day out, keeping order, directing volunteers, and recruiting assistance in medical care.
Supplies were paramount at this point as much of the initial supplies had been taken to other areas or used. Lists were drawn up of absolute essentials and then a “wish list” of things we would like to have just in case, such as morphine, Demerol, and sedatives. Calls were made and supplies arrived from every conceivable source, including truck, van, car, boat, police, and EMS. Drugstores and supermarkets were raided and cleared of medical supplies and they all came to us. Volunteers in droves came to line up downtown. They came in waves of 20 or more, every 15 minutes. We took who we needed and sent the rest to the second floor as relief. Hundreds came to volunteer, sacrificing their paying office hours for their donated volunteerism. Some brought medical supplies with them and when turned away, donated hundreds of dollars of supplies to us.

Over the next 2 days we estimated that we treated almost a thousand firefighters, police, medics and volunteers in total. We have lists somewhere that names most of them. Most injuries were minor. Eye washes, respiratory problems, a few broken ankles from people jumping off the rubble. Occasionally, people had lacerations that needed suturing and dermatologist and plastic surgeons were available. Despite a national shortage of tetanus booster, our area was not in short supply. Many people received their tetanus shots on those days. We also handled the routine stuff too. We had one police officer, a diabetic who had not brought any of his medications to ground zero. He needed his Glucophage in order to keep working so we arranged for a round trip transfer to Saint Vincent’s hospital. I called my friend in the ER who ordered the medication from the pharmacy. The policeman arrived at the ER unloading ramp for the quick handoff of his pills and back he went. The entire round trip from ground zero and back took only 25 minutes! Many rescue workers refused treatment out of fear of being sent to area hospitals. One tearful firefighter satcrying on a wall. She had just heaard that a colleague had died in the collapse of the buildings and was being consoled by a fellow firefighter. I approached her and offered rest, water and counselling. She turned to me, eyes swollen with tears and said, "Thank you, but I can’t. I need to go back down with my squadron to work."

I worked with hundreds of volunteers during those 3 days but a few stand out. Two ER residents drove 4 hours from John Hopkins Medical Center, worked 24 hours and drove 4 hours back to make it back to their clinic. A fellow medical school graduate from the University of Massachusetts drove down from Rochester, NY. I had not seen him since graduation over two years earlier. Two high school teachers from Brooklyn came and became security guards for 18 hours, keeping order. Richard Hatchett and Adam Klotz, 2 ER attendings from Memorial Sloan-Kettering came down to repalce Eric and joined our core group of organizers for 48 straight hours despite rumors that they were in trouble for being there. An anesthesiologist brought narcotics down, breaking every hospital regulation in the book. Paramedics gave us their cardiac monitors and defibrillators from their trucks. One volunteer who could not "donate" her defibrillator stayed for 12 hours so that we could use hers until a replacement arrived. Countless ophthalmologists from Saint Vincent’s Hospital and other area medical centers came down and worked for hours irrigating eyes and checking for scratched corneas from the blowing cement dust. Down in the “Hot Zone” there were definite leaders but for the most part, everyone was equal. Chairmen of cardiothoracic units lugged boxes of supplies side by side with medical students. Senior doctors would take orders from people typically below them in the hospital. A physician’s assistant became the head-nursing supervisor and nobody cared that she wasn’t nurse. There were no arguments between people. If we told them to leave they left without protest, often coming back a few hours later to see if they were needed again. If we asked them to walk a mile to get a bottle of saline, they did that too. People pulled together to support the rescuers and each other. A pair of paramedics arrived early one morning and a supply van back and forth through the city for the entire day. Everytime they returned to Stuyvesant they woul hunt me down in the busy building and ask what else was needed and, somehow, they would find it and bring it to us. I asked for clean sheets a half hour later they returned with three bags of nicely pressed pima cotten sheets from the Embassy Suites Hotel. In another instance, I remember going up to the second floor to get a couple of volunteers to stand guard and direct traffic. I found 50 doctors and nurses, and paramedics waiting up stairs. I said to them “Guys, I need some help directing traffic downstairs. I need two of you to keep people in order. None of this is medical care. You will simply be giving directions to the bathrooms, food and the triage desk for the next 12 hours." All 50 stepped forward to help. I took 4 instead of 2 just to appease them. Incredible.

As a resident in medicine, we are used to working long hours but eventually we get cranky and need to sleep. This was different. People who had worked for 24 or 48 hours remained to help. Sleep was unimportant. They remained mentally sharp and compassionate even without rest. As the hours went buy, people would have to leave to go back to their jobs. They would come up to me and hug me before they left. “Thank you for letting us help. You’re doing a great job” they would say. Some would leave with tears in their eyes. Most of us would never see each other again. Although we had only known each other for a short time, the bonding process was quick and powerful. Instead of hand shakes, hugs and kisses on cheeks were exchanged with people we had known for less than half a day. They all gave everything they had and when they left, were replaced with someone as good. Just as compassionate. I learned and forgot hundreds of names that day. I assigned hundreds of responsibilities and every one was performed flawlessly. Again, we have lists somewhere down there of every volunteer who signed in. Hundreds were used, hundreds more waited for hours never to be needed. My hope someday is that the list is published just so that the volunteers are recognized for their dedication. Most people on that list could care less if it ever comes out of the “Hot Zone.” They never wanted to be famous.
Wednesday September 12, 2001 4:45 PM The Red Cross calls, Everyone answers
When they turned downtown Manhattan into a war zone, they turned off the power and phones instantly. No electricity, no water, no communication, no elevators to escape and no lights in the emergency stairwells. A little before 5 PM, a Red Cross volunteer came into the triage area and explained that she and other Red Cross personnel had done a sweep of the surrounding residential buildings. What they found was alarming. A large building had been without power and water for over 24 hours. The structure, 310 Greenwich Street, housed largely elderly men and women. The Red Cross news became chilling as they explained that they had climbed only 5 flights and had already found many elderly alone and without care. Many had run out of important cardiac and respiratory medicines. Some complained of chest pain and many were short of breath. Indeed, the winds had switched and the dust and asbestos were blowing right onto their balconies and through their open windows. One woman in the building was delirious. The Red Cross needed medical staff to evaluate the entire building. I volunteered to lead a rescue and evacuation team. People began to sign on to assist us. We organized rescue teams of one doctor and 2 nurses to check each floor. Upon leaving the confines of Stuyvesant High School we were confronted by a daunting task. The building was enormous, forty stories high, and we would have to climb to every floor in the dark. I motioned for an Army national guardsman and explained our situation and that we would need assistance. He left for a moment and returned with a group of 20 national guardsman ready to help. We headed to the building and finding no way in from our location, ordered the men to take down a barbed wire fence. Within seconds, they charged the fence with wire cutters, crowbars and it was down. We added three national guardsmen each to our medical team and each group chose a group of floors. Over at OEM, the Red Cross had organized a 15 man construction worker team with flashlights. We arranged for the workers to stand every few floors and light the stairwell for the evacuees. I took my team to the top and began to bang on doors ordering a mandatory evacuation. Those apartments that could not make it down the stairs on their own were jotted down on a list. The groups reconvened in the lobby where a dozen FDNY and volunteers waited to help. There began a massive effort to empty the building. A dozen elderly tenants had to be carried on chairs to the lobby, 6 from the top 4 floors. Jokes of not needing to go to the gym for a week flowed from people’s mouths. As rescue doctors, nurses, and firemen trudged up the building, the Red Cross organized buses and shelters for the tenants of 310 Greenwich. Other doctors ran back and forth a half-mile each way to get more dust masks, oxygen tanks and bottled water. As darkness fell, two elderly women were transferred to hospitals via ambulance for chest pain. One family refused to leave their pets behind and therefore had stayed in the building. Upon hearing this, we went back to their 10th floor apartment and explained the seriousness of the evacuation. “Only if you can help us bring down our pets!” the tenant protested. So, four tenants, two doctors and two volunteer firemen carried 6 dogs, one parrot and one “$3000” Cockatoo down 10 dark flights to the evacuation bus. When we could finally reflect on what we had done, I met up with one of the volunteers, a neurologist. He looked exhausted. “Three times!” he said to me. “I climbed to the top three times to carry 3 people down 40 stories, and they weren’t so slim either!” A few moments later we walked over to evacuate another identical 40-story building directly behind the first, the same tired neurologist was at the front of the group. He wouldn’t take a break.

A quick comment on a chance meeting. As a resident, I am looking for a job for next year. I have been interested in a fellowship in a local hospital and have been in communication with a Dr. Barrera in the fellowship program. Although I had spoken to him on many occasions during the previous 6 months and even visited the hospital once when he was on vacation, I had yet to actually meet him. As I stood in the craziness of Stuyvesant triage, grabbing volunteers to help with the building evacuation, I was introduced to doctors who wanted to help with the rescue. “Aaron, these doctors want to assist you.” As I turned, a man put out his hand and said, “Hi, I’m Dr. Barrera. I want to help you.” My jaw almost fell off.

Thursday September 13, 2001 “Amex may fall!!!” A cry to prepare and a new medical center emerges in Manhattan
Early Thursday morning, rumors from “The Hole” emerged that two buildings including Three World Financial Center, originally thought safe, had been inspected by building engineers and deemed in danger of falling. Amex held the morgue and a small eye irrigation center manned by paramedics. They were also next to ground zero where thousands of people continued to work digging from the rubble despite the danger of unstable surroundings. My first thought was that we could be looking at a third disaster on our hands. There would be no time to evacuate and thousands more people would be killed or injured by falling buildings. Conceivably, there could have been a wave of patients similar to what had been expected with the initial collapse. Too many to send uptown to the hospitals and many needing care immediately. Our triage center, though extremely well stocked for simple injuries, was sparse in critical care equipment and surgeons. We needed more, and fast.

Chelsea Piers, a large and popular athletic facility located between 15th and 23rd street on the Hudson river, had been turned into a massive “Red Zone” on Tuesday. Now we needed some of their equipment in the “Hot Zone.” Traffic and travel up the West Side was difficult and a near military barrier between Chelsea Piers and us had halted some of our supply links. I wasn’t sure how to get the cardiac monitors and critical care equipment down to Stuyvesant until a colleague said, half-serious and half-joking, “Let’s commandeer a police boat!” It worked. We flagged down a patrolling police boat from Nassau county and explained our situation. They pulled up to the sea wall next to Stuyvesant High School. In less than 10 minutes we were at Chelsea Piers, arriving twice as fast as colleagues in a van. We grabbed some vital equipment, borrowed extra cell >phones and batteries and loaded a few more doctors and nurses onto the police boat and sped back down. “How’s that for American Ingenuity?” my new friend said as we headed south on the Hudson. I couldn’t disagree.

In preparation for the worst, I was given the responsibility of “renovating” Stuyvesant High for increased patient flow. The entire lobby had to be reorganized, but to move hundreds of people to other floors and areas, I felt, was not in my authority. I traveled to OEM command and explained to the Captain of the fire department that should more buildings fall unexpectedly, we felt the high school would be ill prepared to deal with the wave of patients. We were already stretched to capacity as it was. He agreed and within a couple of hours the lobby of Stuyvesant High School had changed dramatically. The entire food station and supplies, food and beverage for over 500 people, were relocated to the second floor. We intentionally located it next to cots and our psychiatry staff so that all rescue personnel could be evaluated for signs of emotional trauma. Counselors were placed up stairs to assist. On the mezzanine between the first and second floors, massage therapists and chiropractors worked endlessly on anyone who needed a break. Few psychiatrist volunteers were needed on day one. In fact, we had only one psychiatrist and one nurse psychiatrist on day 2. By day three, it was apparent that rescuers were suffering. Many had worked non-stop for 48 hours or more and they were no longer to fight off their emotions. Several psychiatrists formed a large therapy room on the second floor and at times they were very busy.

I broke the triage area into divisions we as hospital workers were more familiar with and could better manage. The space was divided into an ophthalmology unit, a respiratory unit, to handle our rapid turnover patients and a separate general medical unit to handle cuts and the more chronic dehydration patients. We changed the flow of traffic dramatically. Eye wash stations and respiratory stations were located up front. General medicine was in the back. The “Red Zone” was strategically located near the ambulance exit. Volunteers washed floors several times to clean up the dust to make room for a new “Surgical Suite.” Critical care nurses, orthopedic/trauma surgeons, anesthesiologists worked feverishly to create a trauma/critical care area that many established hospitals would envy. Several doctors and nurses manned a central supply area in the back of the lobby near a door where shipments could easily be dropped off. We even had a volunteer pharmacist for the entire day. A school locker was used to hold our narcotics and opiates and a NY licensed physician held the only key. More cots were found to handle the extra volume of patients we hoped would never come. By the time it was all set up, we had changed the lobby of Stuyvesant High School into a true medical center, manned by surgeons, ophthalmologists, critical care, anesthesiologists, nurses, internists, emergency room personnel, pharmacists, pulmonologists, security and secretaries, and containing enough medical supplies and equipment to handle a thousand patients. Fortunately, the buildings never fell and we never needed to use our “Red Zone.”

Friday September 14, 2001 Psychiatry and Sleep
I returned to my own hospital Friday morning still exhausted from working 21 of 24 hours for several days. There was nothing to do up at the hospital, so I cried. When I watched TV, I cried. I saw a volunteer, I cried. I saw a patient, I cried. I walked the hospital halls and I cried. I was losing it. I met with a psychiatry colleague that morning who recommended I sleep for a day or two. She gave me some sleeping pills and I went home to sleep for 18 hours. Then I went back to work again. I realize now that I did not cry for the destruction or for the death, that I dealt with internally. I cried for the incredible miracle of how people could come together in a time of need. I cried for all the people who were putting other lives ahead of their own. I cried for what might lie ahead.

Saturday September 15, 2001 Epilogue
A day after I had left the “Hot Zone” to get some sleep, I ran into one of the critical care nurses who had helped set up the “Red Zone” at Stuyvesant. The military medical teams and State run teams had finally arrived at the site to continue operations and relieve the volunteers. I asked her, “What did they think of our little medical facility?” She replied, “They loved it. It had everything they needed.” I smiled. Rumor up here had it that they didn’t need to open any of their own supply boxes.

The hospital has tried to return to a resemblance of normal operations, but it is difficult. Everyone looks different now. They are sadder; they walk at a slower pace. Even my friend whose father died on the 102nd floor has picked a return date to work. There are fewer jokes. Colleagues try to plan poker nights and get togethers, but it isn’t the same. How can it ever be?

In addition to being a doctor, I am a bicycler. On any other afternoon, I would have been out biking. I live on 15th street and 6th avenue and have biked down the West Side Highway bike path time and time again. Even now I can see myself heading downtown with the sun on the Hudson to my right and Stuyvesant High school approaching far ahead. I turn right at the high school and follow the curving path south past green playgrounds, basketball courts, a pool table, a fountain, and hundreds of New Yorkers lying out in the sun. Innocent. I continue south past the ferries that shuttle people from downtown to NJ. I take a left and look up quickly. Those two towers obviously stand out. I have been there. I have been on top; a couple of times in fact. An image briefly flashes in my head of my two visits to the top, once with my family and again with my friends from Israel. Those were great days and you could see forever. The image instantly fades as I fly by the American Express building where I once met my best friend for lunch when he worked there. I know that building too. I turn right and pass the atrium, filled with palm trees, shops and people. I continue pass more buildings. Which ones are they? Which is the Marriott and which is the Millenium Hotel? I don’t know and don’t care. They are just part of the financial center. I don’t know their addresses, only what they look like from this angle. I have never been inside. I turn right and pass the volleyball court on the water. People are playing laughing and admiring the magnificent yachts that line the inlet, some over a hundred feet in length. I continue on toward Battery Park, dodging people and strollers, roller bladers and park enforcement police. On any day, those park enforcement officers were the villains. “Slow Down!”, “Walk your bike” “Upper walkway is for pedestrians only!” Today, many are hospitalized, some perhaps dead. I continue south and cross a wooden bridge to a pier and stop to look around. “Lot of big buildings” I think to myself. “Should I call my friend in the southern World Trade Tower and meet him for lunch?”. “Nah, this ride is too beautiful to stop now” and I continue on past, ironically, the Holocaust memorial to another green park and take a right toward Battery Park, past the Korean War memorial and other memorials. I then see thousands of people waiting to board the ferries to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Merchants sell fake Oakley’s and T-shirts that say “NY Yankees” or I “heart” NY. They sell plastic American flags. How cheesy I think to myself everytime I bike past them. “Who would still buy that antiquated T-shirt?” I think. I reach the end of the trail and stop and look at the WWII memorial, fenced off for Battery Park renovations. I turn around and pass each site again in reverse order. “What is that building to the right of the palm tree atrium again, and the ones behind them?” I think to myself again. Don’t know, don’t care. I just want to get home to make dinner for my wife. I get home 45 minutes later finishing the 9-mile loop in the usual time. Stuyvesant High School, Amex, #7, #5, #4, #6, North Bridge, One Financial center, the Marriott Hotel. Some are gone forever, some probably to be demolished later. I sit in the intensive care unit tonight and all I can think of is a bike ride.

I long to hop on my bike and do it all again. But I would do it differently. I would stop and look. I would find out the names of the buildings and their addresses. I would admire the powerful and awe inspiring architecture. I would stop and smell the flowers for longer. Talk to people. I would visit the Marriott. I would admire the people who sit and eat lunch outside, the same ones who witnessed the 1993 bombing, escaped and went right back in to build it back to its premier status in business and finance. I should have spent hours there then, not hours there now. I can never go back and see what was. I want to, but it is impossible. Nowadays, things are different. Stuyvesant High School has a medical center many hospitals would envy, more security personnel than most small countries could ever afford, and enough fireman to put out fires across the entire east coast. I know those buildings now, Amex, #7, #5, #4 #6, North Bridge, the Hotels but I know them by different names. Amex is “The morgue”, #1-7 is “The Hole”. They have been grouped into the eerie term “Ground Zero” and the rest of downtown, “The Hot Zone” That’s what we now call them. Oh how I wish I could see them as they were one last time.
There are thousands who are still down there risking their lives with every step on the rubble, risking their health with every breath taken. They are heroes. I was there for 3 days and did my part. I thank god that I can be home with my friends and family now and know in my heart that everyone still down there will be well taken care of because of what hundreds of medical volunteers contributed. In the end, I guess my mother, father and friends were right. I just always thought being a hero would feel different, maybe even feel good.

Verizon’s Unrelenting Hard Sell for iPhone 7 Device Plan

hammerLet me first state that I’m getting an iPhone 7. I’m going to buy it from Apple. My prior “contract” which I signed when I traded an iPhone 5 for an iPhone 6 expired when I paid this month’s bill and I am off contract.

It isn’t that I plan to switch carriers, as Verizon is the only real choice where I’m located. AT&T doesn’t even give one bar inside my home. I want the freedom to decide my own destiny so to speak. Verizon, on the other hand, seems to be using training that requires their store agents to use a sledgehammer approach when customers ask about their options and want to make changes.

I can’t remember ever having such a hard time getting what I wanted and getting a sales person to stop hammering me with details of something I indicated up front I had no interest in. (And getting my intelligence questioned to boot.)


On Thursday, I went to one of the corporate Verizon Stores to discuss what plans were available. I brought a print out with me so that it was crystal clear what I was interested in:


After waiting for a store rep (busy, longish wait, others were there with the same questions) on Thursday, a rep came over and asked what I wanted. I said, “ I’m going to be buying an iPhone 7 from Apple, not Verizon. I’m checking to see if there are any hidden charges if I sign up for the “new Verizon Plan” and keep my tablet (already activated) on it and get the iPhone 7 for the Apple Store at the Mall and activate it there and I don’t want a contract with Verizon”. He checked my account and confirmed I was “off contract’’” and launched into a sales pitch for trading my phone (iPhone 6) and getting a free iPhone 7. I said (nicely) “I already told you I wasn’t interested in this trade up two year contract. I want to talk about any hidden charges on the New Verizon Plan”.

The rep checks some stuff on his tablet and then says “You can buy the iPhone 7 from us on a device plan for $27.04 a month. It’s not the same as the old contract”. I stood up and said “You aren’t listening to me. I’m not buying a phone from Verizon”. He then decides to tell me “You can trade in your iPhone 6 for a $200 credit that you can apply to accessories”. I tell him that this is just another ‘shell’ for a 24 month contract. He confirms this is true. I want to smack this guy upside the head. I restrain myself. I decide to leave the store and come back the next day.

So yesterday (Friday), I return the the Verizon store and a different rep waits on me. I still have my piece of paper (the above print out) and I tell her I don’t want to buy an iPhone 7 from VZW, lease one, trade in anything and all I want to do is switch to the new Verizon Plan with MY CURRENT DEVICES, as I am off contract and eligible. She launches into a sales speech about how I can trade in my iPhone 6. I tell her bluntly to STFU as I already stated I was not interested. Then she starts with the device payment plan. I ask her if she has actually listened to what I told her. (Apparently not.)

I stand my ground, I tell her I want to switch to the new Verizon Plan. She taps some stuff into her tablet and tells me she can make it effective with my next billing period. She gives me figures. I tell her I’m off contract and it would save me $35 to switch today. She then tells me that THAT would involved a pro-rated bill and that I would have trouble understanding it. I stand up again, and restrain from physical violence and tell her that it is uncalled for to question anyone’s intelligence or math skills and to make the switch or get a manager over that will do it. She tries one more time to sign me up for device payment or a contract. She asks me why I won’t take a contract or buy a phone from VZW or select device payment. And I tell her it is none of her business.

She finally sets up the plan I want and pushes the buttons to make it happen. She tells me she is making a note in my account that I probably will be complaining about a pro-rated bill that I don’t understand. Unbelievable. Exhausting.

Surface Pro 3 Batterygate Continues

While Microsoft’s response to the SIMPLO issue has been restricted to “working on a possible software fix”, customers are starting to report that even when plugged in, their SP3 tablets shut down. In essence, they can’t use their Surface Pro 3’s at all. This seems to happen when the amount of usable battery fully charged falls below a certain point, and as the days continue without a fix, more and more customers will have unusable devices. I don’t see that they will be able to keep their devices running long enough to even apply a software fix, should one actually become available. These customers are trapped. Microsoft won’t swap them out, and some are paying the usurious $450 out of warranty exchange fee. Note that Microsoft committed to a $200 battery replacement program on a Reddit AMA but has refused to honor this or even comment on it. (And as an aside, Apple charges $129 to replace an out of warranty battery.)


Microsoft told customers in the same Reddit AMA that “the battery can get charged daily (5 days a week) for over 4.5 years and still maintain 80% capacity”. Again, customers are responding in the thread that they can’t even use their devices while connected or docked.


I checked my sent email and note that as a Community Forum Moderator that I brought it to the attention of Microsoft on March 3, 2016. And a couple of times thereafter. I saw the trending that early.

And as of Saturday, March 6, afflicted Microsoft customers have not had a single update on the situation since the initial “we think we can fix in software and are working on a fix”.

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