Monday, September 11, 2006

msb-0069 Bier, bier, Ich liebe mein bier

msb-0069 Bier, bier, Ich liebe mein bier.

Feedback come first so...

My download stats are showing me a couple of things.

First is that I've got over 3,000 thousand downloads.

Not bad for a 'cast I'm only getting around to promoting.

I started this thing nine months ago.

I fumbled around trying to see what it could do and how it could do it.

Apart from the nacent business model, there has been the therapeutic, almost cathartic, effect of just not shuting up about having this disease and, keeping a stiff upper lip, soldiering bravely on.

(Screw that. There are some days I just want to hiss at the facing throng, like Marullus in Julius Caesar: You blocks. You stones. You worse than senseless things!)

Now I think I've found a stable enough format that would allow me to continue for an indefinite amount of time while giving advertisers the space and time they need.

They almost stay out of my content and I stay out of their ads.

That's the kind of sponsorship I can tolerate.

And if the advertising budget can be reduced by the cost of the old content delivery, from over four dollars a patient down to 5 cents a patient, maybe the cost of the treatments could go down too. (Who am I kidding? ... Never happen!)

Second is that more of you are coming at my show from the web than from iTunes and that that portion is growing slightly faster.

So be it.

So then, who the heck are you?

I thought my audience was going primarily composed of one segment of the iTunes+iPod listening public but I'm being sort of proved wrong; not that that's necessarily a bad thing.

The audience pool is much larger that I'd originally estimated ... maybe.

Over 60 million iPods have been sold.

I figured that half of those are "repeats', people who own more than one. Say 30 million of 'em.

I also calculated that with the reliability of Apple products, over half of the replacements are due to new styles or capacities and not due to devices crapping out. Say 15 million of 'em.

I also figured that half of the kids would buy the new ones and and give the older working ones for their 'rents to find. Say 7.5 million of 'em.

Statistically, if one person in twelve hundred, or 0.0833% of the population gets MS, (a figure I'm using that's given out by the National MS Society,) the odds were that 6,250 of you would have MS.

Given the multiplier effect that people with MS have care-takers and relatives, that might double the potential audience and make for a final audience of about 12,000.

But about half of you now aren't listening with an iPod or even downloading through iTunes; you're picking the shows up directly from the web.

So my assumptions were wrong, but in a good way. (We all know that when you assume anything, you make an ass out of u and me.)

So who the heck are you?

Drop me an email to charles at and just tell me how you're picking up the show.


Like Simple Simon, I went to the fair, the church art fair.

I stumbled and shambled about, met people, handed out my card, ate the food, drank the seltzer (when I'm on, I eschew all forms of alcohol,) and checked out the art.

It was interesting; some of the pieces were choice; several of them were arrestingly beautiful; it was not at all run of the mill, (the black and gleaming chrome Harley Davidson with the saber toothed tiger skull headlight was definitly not what one expects to encounter in a church apse.)

A few of the pieces were quite interesting, as were a few of the people who were more decked out for Carnaval that for church.

Hats off for the pastor.

But the building was still a church and churches give me hives.

Like all churches built in that era (the thirties,) the building was ramshakle and remarkably unfriendly to people with disabilities.

There were a few people with canes. We confined ourselves after one trip through the art to scattering ourselves about the ample available seating, not confortable but ample.

The stairs between the nave above and the hall below were definitely not ADA.

Heck, with the pipes that passed for handrails, it wasn't even safe for healthy people.

Women in heels slowed to teetering precariously while we disabled were slowed to less than that.


I'm still reading the book "Who's in Control of your Multiple Sclerosis?" by the Codes.

Man there's a lot in there. (And he's got plans to podcast it too.)


I'm still communicating with One Crazy Chick.

The beauty of RSS is that you can set a podcatcher, such as iTunes, loose and it can download all day long or all night long and it can tell you what new episodes are ready for you to play when they're finally all caught.

You don't have to sit there and wait, which what you have to do if you don't have a rock steady reliable broadband connection.

Podcatchers are great at taking the need for synchrony out of communicating.


I posted a comment on a what turned out to be an almost brand new blog, "Hello life, now lets get cracking." (, by Justin Eggar, which seems to have been up and runnning since September 4th, 2006.

I discovered that yet another techy from North Carolina, has another relative (his aunt) with MS.

Like me he's into project management. Unlike me, he's much younger and less dissolusioned by the whole process.

Following links around I managed to discover that were both subscribed to "The Project Management Podcast". (iTMS podcasts ) Kewl.

Project management is the art of both leading a parade with a baton, in front of a circus elephant, and following behind it with a shovel...

Actually, that's why you need proofs-of-concept trials, object and behavior models, prototypes, standards and checklists and, most importantly, PIRs (Post Implementation Reviews).

Its tough to convince upper management that, just like doctors and architects, we don't really know what we're doing when ever were confronted with something new.

Unlike doctors, who can always bury their mistakes and achitects who can sometimes advise their clients to plant vines, if you're doing software project management, you have to fight a short history of blood-minded denial.

Its not like trying out a new surgical procedure which will cure or kill (cemetaries are filled with those,) or erecting a building which will let gravity inform you of your success of failure by standing or falling down. (Many a cathedral did exactly that.)

Because software project aren't dealing with reality, we often get stupid and ignore the glaring errors and omissions in our projects by "shrinking the project box," and jettisoning everything that sticks out over the edge of "the project box".

That's why things don't ever seem to change. The interesting parts of the project, the parts that should have been worked on first, the APIs (Application Progam Interfaces) to the other things we will have to co-exist with, have all been jettisoned when the schedule got tight.

(Why is Microsoft once again stuck with yet another kludge to its file system instead of starting clean? Why else? Because instead of having an operating system capable of supporting several file systems, they think monolithically and that part of the OS keeps getting jettisoned.)

Project management, no matter how good it is, no matter how good the techniques and tools are, won't change a corporate culture which inevatibly leads to project stagnation.

Sorry to have gone off on a bit of a rant here but this is something I actually care deeply about.


I know I'm supposed to be loooking forward to Chefs for MS and all the wine I'd bought, but, lets face it, I'm staying sober that evening; walking the straight and narrow (always an iffy proposition with MS,) and putting my best foot forward. (An expression which never made much sense to me. I mean: "best foot." I only got two! And they don't exactly do what I want or go where I thought I was sending them all the time.)

In fact, I'm a beer lover.

I've had beers from every continent except Antartica, 'cause there's no brewries there, and from almost every country around the globe.

Some of which tasted bloody awful, like the beer from the Horse People in Outest Mongolia, who lived on horseback, ate horse flesh, wore horse hides, fashioned twine, or gutta percha from horse sinews and drank a weak, thin beer, who'se origins don't bear thinking about. (Apologies and thanks to Terry Pratchett, Rincewind the wizzard [that's what it said on his hat,] and the entire Disk World series. :-)

Some of which, like Belgian Abbey beer, tasted like the am-freakin'-brosia.

My favorite is Chimay. On those occasions when I can find it, I like to sit back with a liter of it and just savor it.

Beer has quite a history.

Its a legacy from the Sumerians.

About 6,000 years ago life was tough.

Specially if you're somebody's slave.

It could be that a piece of bread or grain became wet and a short time later, began to ferment; and a inebriating pulp resulted.

Nobody but a slave would ever have known that it was alcohol laden because nobody but a slave would be so hungry and so desperate not to throw it out but to actually eat it, mold and all.

Anybody else would have tossed it to the dogs.

This feat of ingesting a familiar substance, an improperly stored grain, it having strange side effects, getting whacked out and stoned, and surviving to tell the tale, was not to be repeated in recorded history until 1692 when the a couple of kids in Salem Mass. ate grain that was infected with ergot. (This halucinogen made for all the fun at the witch trials in that town. [Better living through chemistry. {At least when people were dropping acid in the sixties, they knew what to expect.})]

Luckily alcohol is a much more, uh, benign substance; and beer, while an acquired taste, is definitely an acquirable taste.

Like wine, which is the bi-product of rotten, moldy grapes, beer is the bi-product of rotten, moldy grains. (Actually, you can make an intoxicant from almost plant product. Not fungus and not flesh, but plant.)

But beer holds a special place near my heart (my stomach.)


mdmhvonpa said...

Gotta wonder, which came first. Beer or wine.

Charles-A. Rovira said...

Wine came first by at least 2,500 years.

It may even have led to the development of agriculture!

Since fruits and berries were part of every diet since hunter/gatherer stages of human development (not evolution but development :-), it stands to reason that it came first.

Heck, you don't even have to be human to enjoy a tipple.

I've heard of bears getting absolutely sloshed on berries at the end of the growing season. (The thought of facing a bear with a hang-over is something I don't want to experience. :-)

Beer didn't come into its own until the development of agriculture and the cultivation and processing of grains.

Miss Chris said...

Tons of great info you left on my blog. It's appreciated!
Have you given much credibility to Vitamin D ? I'm considering taking 6,ooo units (however much that is) per day as I've read tons of stuff about how great it can be for M.S. A naturopathic doctor that my dad has been seeing for cancer treatments has recommended this. Any thoughts?

Charles-A. Rovira said...

Hello Chris,

IANAD (I Am Not A Doctor) and I don't even play one on TV, so my medical knowledge is to be taken for what its worth, nothing.

However, Linus Pauling, who was a doctor, was a believer in vitamins.

As long as the dosage is not going to be toxic, (and ask your doctor, and then confirm what he tells you by doing your own research [Google knows all, and it tells all; but like any Idiot Savant it has no discretion whatsoever.])

Vitamin D might well be good for helping regulate the auto-immune system.

I take some every day too but only 1,000 units. Or is that vitamin C? Gotta ask Lee (She who must be obeyed. :-)

After a certain dosage, your body just doesn't absortb any more than that and all you end up doing is just making your urine yellower and yellower.

Stop before it gets too yellow because that can lead to a buildup in your organs and that's never a good thing.