Battlestar Galactica: The Passage Screws Up (Jupiter vs. Zeus)


I really like Battlestar Galactica. It has been one of my favorite shows for the past couple of years.

I don’t want to criticize it. I don’t want to be annoyed by it.

But long before I liked Battlestar Galactica, I loved Greek & Roman mythology. And they are making really stupid mistakes.

In this last episode, the writers have clearly gotten confused as to whether the religion of the humans is based on Greek or Roman mythology.

Baltar, in this episode, is decoding some pseudo-prophecy from one of the Baseship hybrids. He decodes a reference to cow eyes as Hera, as she is sometimes referred to as “cow-eyed” in Greek mythology. So far, so good.

He then jumps to her husband, “Jupiter,” and maps this to the location of the artifact they are looking for as they search for Earth.

This might be nit-picking, but Jupiter is the Roman name for Zeus. Zeus & Hera are the Greek names. Jupiter & Juno are the Roman names.

This has been annoying me since I watched the episode on Tivo. It’s such an easy detail to get right, and they are really messing it up. Everything else is Greek. Athena, not Minerva. Apollo, of course, has the same name in both Greek and Roman.

Drat. Small detail, maybe, but they are even calling the final episode next week “The Eye of Jupiter”. Drat.

Microsoft’s Jim Allchin: ‘I would buy a Mac if I didn’t work for Microsoft’

Sorry, but I found two Apple/Microsoft snippets worth posting today.

This ComputerWorld article is amazing.

Jim Allchin is the long-time development chief for Windows at Microsoft. ComputerWorld is reporting that a 2004 e-mail from Allchin chastizes Microsoft for having lost focus on the user, and says that he would buy a Mac if he didn’t work for Microsoft.

“In my view, we lost our way,” Allchin, the co-president of Microsoft’s platform and services division, wrote in an e-mail dated Jan. 7, 2004. The e-mail was presented as evidence late last week in the Iowa antitrust trial, Comes v. Microsoft Corp.

“I think our teams lost sight of what bug-free means, what resilience means, what full scenarios mean, what security means, what performance means, how important current applications are, and really understanding what the most important problems our customers face are. I see lots of random features and some great vision, but that does not translate into great products.”

I haven’t read the email in detail, but as much of an Apple fan as I am, I think his tone represents more of your typical “wake-up call” email that gets sent from time-to-time as a senior executive in software.

Even great software teams and companies can easily get caught up in their own internal analysis, politics, and design cul-de-sacs.  Great UI designers can get caught up in their “frameworks”.  Great product managers can get caught up in their “strategies”.  Sometimes, the needs of the end user can get lost in the passion of pursuing the perfect model for your software application.

As a result, it’s hard as a leader as a software company to not be forced to remind your team periodically that it is the customer that matters.  Listen to them, focus on them, respect them, and delight them.  Not your competitors, not your frameworks, and not your strategies.  Sometimes, to be emphatic, you try to evoke a passionate response by invoking taboos.  I have to imagine that the head of Windows saying that he would buy a Mac is as taboo as it gets.

I don’t fault Allchin here, although these days you pretty much have to assume that any executive email at a large company can get circulated publicly.

Microsoft Copies Apple Icons…

Found this funny snippet today online. Looks like Microsoft was caught with an Apple icon on one of its properties.

Here is the image from Microsoft’s website for Vista Business Edition:


Here is the original version from Apple’s Workgroup Server:


Funny snarky comment from the blog where I got this:

Think of a snarky comment making fun of the fact that Microsoft can’t even copy an icon without screwing it up by resizing it. Bonus points if you can work in a crack about the misspelling (“Busines”) in Microsoft’s web page title.

The full play-by-play is here, along with some amusing follow up screenshots of Microsoft’s hasty efforts to replace the icon.

I don’t really fault Microsoft here – quite a few web and graphic designers have been known to grab artwork from time to time as temporary placeholders.  Sometimes, they sneak through as people forget that they aren’t the final artwork, or forget they were “borrowed” by someone else.  It’s possible on big teams.  Maybe there was a Mac-fan on the Vista team here who thought this was a funny inside joke.

Still, given all the history of Microsoft and Apple, and the obvious comparisons of Vista’s new look and feel to Mac OS X’s old look and feel, you’d think there would be a special memo out about not borrowing icons from the Mac.

Gotta imagine someone is getting fired over this.  You just can’t steal intellectual property as part of a commercial product.