SoftStar News

January 2004

The Latest New and Exciting Updates!

For the past few months, I have been beta testing and exploring great new and upcoming updates to already established astrology software.

But I do not have permission, yet, to mention them in my column for a simple reason: the updates will be released in 6 - 12 months, during which time the companies that make the software need to stay in business, which means that if updates are announced too early, their sales will dry up -- everyone will postpone their purchase until the update is released -- and the companies will suffer.

It is simply not necessary to wait to get the programs that you want, because updates are reasonably priced, and it might take quite a while to master the capabilities of the present version, and -- in many cases -- the updates may not even have features that you will use right away.

Most importantly, the astrology software market is so small, and so competitive, that we astrologers should be incredibly grateful for the treasures offered to us, and support the companies creating these masterpieces as best we can.

When Astrology Software Companies Fail You

Recently, an astrologer contacted me about his truly horrible customer service with one of the lesser astrological software companies. Not only did their product give him a computer virus, but several serious problems with the software arose, and never got fixed. If the situation is not resolved soon, he will ask for a refund.

Because companies can change, however, and because there are often extenuating circumstances for problems like this one, I don't publish the names of companies that err. But I do stand up for my customers, and I do alert companies when serious bugs are reported to me.

And I also publish in this column notice of serious bugs, and fixes for bugs, when they come to my attention.

I also make it a policy to not recommend (to those who buy programs through me) software from companies who have a pattern of not fixing bugs or who have poor customer service.

The Need to Backup Your Hard Disk

As a person who has used computers since 1978, I am very, very aware of the need for regular backups to your hard disk. Anything from a lightning strike, to a computer virus, to a severe bump to your PC, to spilling tea on it, to having a voltage surge, to a volcano eruption hundreds of miles away, to wear-and-tear on the mechanisms in the hard drive, to an internet hacker, can wipe out everything you have on your hard disk in an instant.

You can count on your hard drive failing, as it is just a matter of time until it does.

That's why it amazes me that so few astrologers back up their hard drives.

A backup is simply a complete copy of your hard drive, that you can use to recover if disaster (dis=bad aster=star) strikes.

I just received a review copy of a truly excellent back up software program called Acronis True Image version 7.0.

You can learn more about this software, or purchase it instantly, by clicking here.

With the Acronis True Image software, you can back up your hard drive easily, from within Windows, to CDs (if you have a CD writer in your PC), DVDS (if you have a DVD writer in your PC), or a removable hard disk.

My highest recommendation is to either install a DVD writer or a docking port for a removable hard disk into your PC. With the DVD writer, you can back up your entire hard disk on a handful of DVDs.

My preferred method is to purchase a pair of removable hard drives the same size as your internal hard disk (they are cheap nowadays), and backup your internal hard disk to them, once every month or so, one month to the first removable drive, and the next month to the second removable drive. With the removable hard disk, you can -- after turning your computer off -- place the removable hard disk into your docking port, then turn on your PC and create a clone (copy) of your PCs internal hard disk while you go to lunch, and then again turn your PC off and remove the backup hard drive.

I have had a great deal of experience with backup software, and Acronis True Image 7.0 is by far the best, and easiest, backup software I have ever used.

The Joys of Beta Testing

Regular readers of this column know that I not only write this column (and everything on my website), and review astrology software for the Mountain Astrologer, but I also beta test software for most of the major companies. To beta test means to receive prerelease copies of the programs to explore for bugs, design flaws, etc.

I cannot tell you how much fun it is, and how creative it feels, to work with a responsive company on an exciting new program or update, helping them to polish it, fix problems, and even add new features.

If I had the time and more programming skills, I would probably design more of my own programs (I've created three that I use in my own private practice). But for now, having a hand in the design of so many programs feels like a great gift to me, and allows me both to fully explore every program and to make sure it is "seaworthy."

Discounts on Software

Software discounts starting January 2004: When you purchase astrology software through me, you will get:

1. My free expert guidance in choosing the right program.

2. The best pricing distributors are allowed to offer.

3. Free U.S. shipping, unless prohibited by the manufacturer, and for some programs, free Priority shipping.

4. Additional benefits. E.g. I offer a very inexpensive excellent transit report for purchasers of Kepler & Sirius, over 60 free beautiful extra artistic wheels for Solar Fire Gold, etc.

5. You are supporting my website, allowing me to continue posting astrology tutorials, software reviews, and much more.

6. Your software is fully registered to you and shipped to you directly from the manufacturer, with their full customer support as well as mine.

To go to my secure astrology software order form, click here.

You can support SoftStar News by:

Telling others about our website.

Sending us your insights and feedback on astrology software,

Alerting us to new programs and astrological resources,

Linking your website to ours,

and by purchasing your astrological software through this site.

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Copyright © 2003 Hank Friedman