What kind of computer system should you have for running astrology software?

Since 99% of all astrology software is written for Microsoft Windows environments, it is important to buy a PC and not a Macintosh, unless it's an Intel Mac (see note below). If you do own an older Mac, you can run either the few programs that are written for the Mac, most notably the IO software from Time Cycles Research and TimePassages by AstroGraph software, or you can install Parallels or Boot Camp on your Mac (which runs Windows and Windows programs on the Mac) and try to run the astrology programs written for PCs. Unfortunately, no company guarantees that you'll be able to run their software under Parallels or Boot Camp on the Mac. With all of the PC astrology software companies, if you encounter difficulties running their software, they can't help you (and don't take returns).

New information on the Intel Macs: Apple computer has changed to using Intel processors on their latest Macs, which is great for several reasons. The Intel Macs are much faster, and there are add-on programs (the free Boot Camp; and the more powerful program Parallels), which allow you to boot your Intel Mac into Microsoft Windows XP -- which you do have to purchase separately -- and then run astrology programs written for the PC. Parallels is particularly noteworthy of its ability to allow you to run Windows programs and Mac programs and switch between them. So, finally, Mac owners have access to the bounty of PC astrology programs.

On the PC side, no longer are there any hardware issues. Any new PC you buy will be plenty powerful enough to run all of the astrology software available today.

There is the upcoming Windows Vista operating system, with greater security and beautiful graphics, that you will want to be able to use, so if you purchase a computer before Windows Vista is released in January 2007, make sure it can run Vista.

I recommend getting a 19" or larger (or 17" if you're on a budget) LCD screen for your PC, because they don't produce radiation and their images are much clearer and less fatiguing to the eye. I don't recommend getting a wide-screen lcd monitor, because most astrology programs cannot take advantage of the width, so you'll just have wasted space.

Finally, today's color printers have plummeted in price while soaring in quality. Watch out for the cost of consumables. Right now, only some Canon printers can use inexpensive generic cartridges, which will save you a huge amount of money (80% or more!). Canons also are the best inkjet printers by far. I've given up on HP inkjet printers after three in a row failed on me prematurely. If you are willing to spend more on ink, and want your printouts to last for many years, a few printers use pigmented inks, which will stay bright for over 70 years, and are almost waterproof.

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