SoftStar News

August 2000

Upgrades in the Works

I've just finished my review of AstroDatabank 2.0 for the Mercury Direct insert (for subscribers only) in the Mountain Astrologer. In using AstroDatabank for a while, I've come to the following conclusions:

1. To really enjoy AstroDatabank 2.0, you need to have a pretty powerful PC. It will run o.k. on a 300 mhz chip, but the more power the better. I plan to upgrade my computer in the fall, just to run this program better, as it's worth it.

When the new Ultra ATA 100 hard disk standard is more fully supported (fall 2000), you'll be able to buy hard disks that are literally 3 times faster than the ones most of us are using now. When you're working with thousands of chart files, as you are with this program, that will be a godsend.

2. Most astrologers using version 1.0 probably haven't scratched the surface of its capabilities. I used to think that the AstroSignatures feature was interesting, but not all that compelling. Upon closer inspection, i now really that you can use AstroSignatures to create and explore astrological themes to a depth well beyond any other program.

You can, for example, experiment with different definitions of "astrologically watery" (e.g. do you want to include the Moon or Neptune at the angles, or planets in water houses or just in water signs?), to see which factors actually are important in this, or any, definition.

On the AstroDatabank web page, which all astrologers should visit, if only for its wealth of famous people's charts, biographies, and commentaries by many other astrologers, is an example of famous people's charts that fulfilled their definition of watery.

They also focused upon who had no water, by their definition. I noticed immediately that Adolf Hitler did not show up in the listing of no water, because the definition included planets in water houses, and while Adolf clearly has no planets in water signs, and is the epitome for me of the unwatery (and uncompassionate) individual, he does have three planets in water houses. This shows how water houses do NOT belong in the definition of a watery person.

3. Compact Lists. Mark McDonough, the creator of AstroDatabank, reminded me that one of the amazingly neat functions of AstroDatabank is its ability to print out lists of everyone's planetary positions -- by degree, sign, and house -- one person's per line. So you can import all of your friends, family, and clients, for example, into AstroDatabank, and then create a compact list that you can keep with you of everyone's positions. Pretty cool!

4. Good data. Years ago, I reviewed several other collections of famous people's charts. Many of the the other collections contain erroneous data, but AstroDatabank (and Lois Rodden) are continually researching and correcting data, so this program promises you the highest accuracy of any collection in the World. With version 2.0, for example, over 10,000 records have been improved for accuracy of either the birth data or biographical information. Wow!

I could go on and on about how valuable AstroDatabank is. (But you can read more in my upcoming reviews of the program.) Fortunately, there is no need to wait until version 2 comes out to start working with this masterpiece. Anyone who buys the software now gets a free upgrade to version 2 when it is released. For more information on ordering, feel free to contact me.

Neat Stuff

A very useful utility for owners of Windows 95 or 98 is called RamPage. This software creates an icon which sits in your system tray and shows you how much RAM (memory) you have available for running additional programs. When the number gets low, all you have to do is double-click on the icon, and RamPage will automatically free up memory and let you continue. For astrologers who like to have several programs open at once, this is a priceless, and free!, tool. Get it by clicking here to get RamPage

If you have more than 64 megabytes of RAM in your Windows 98 PC (do not do this if you have Windows 95), and are comfortable tweaking your system files, here's a method of significantly improving your systems performance. You see, Windows 98 does too much swapping to virtual (disk) memory, slowing down your system's performance by as much as 30%. Here's how to recover that performance

1. Click on Start.
2 Click on Run.
3. type the word: msconfig and hit the Enter key. (this runs the System Configuration Utility.)
4. click the tab at the top labeled System.ini
5. click on the plus sign to the left of the folder labeled: [386 Enh]
6. click on the first item listed on the line below the [386 Enh] folder and then click the New button towards the bottom of the screen.
(This allows you to insert a new line.)
7. In this new line, type the following without any spaces: ConservativeSwapfileUsage=1
8. Click on the Apply button at the bottom of the Window.
9. Click on the OK button.
10. When asked if you want to reboot, click Yes.
Now your computer will restart with settings that make everything run a nice amount faster. Enjoy!

Copy Protection, Bugs, and other Issues

I just received an update/bug fixes to Parashara's Light 2000. Unfortunately, several old bugs were still present, including the program's inability to view or print planetary glyphs in color in the round (Western style) wheel. I patiently await further bug fixes.

Important Notes

Astro Communication Services is planning to release their third Electronic Astrologer program in September. This one explores the compatibility between two people's charts. I've only seen a beta test copy, many months ago, that I helped debug. I will review the new version, hopefully, in next month's issue of SoftStar News.




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