SoftStar News

July 1999

Upgrades in the Works

I'd like to introduce you to a masterful new Vedic astrology program for Windows: ShriJyoti Star by Andrew Foss. I originally reviewed the DOS version of Shri Jyoti Star for the Mountain Astrologer (and the review is on my website), but in transferring the program to Windows, the author has done a remarkable job.

The ease of use is excellent, as are the user-configurable onscreen displays of up to fifteen different charts, tables, and graphs at the same time. You can create nine different sets of screen layouts, choosing from over 40 tables, over 20 divisional and other types of charts(Northern, Southern, or Western circle styles), 18 graphs, and 17+ dasa listings. This is also the only Vedic program that allows you to set up a your screen to display two different people's charts and tables -- and synastry tables -- at the same time.

Where the program really excels is in its incredible speed, research capabilities, and excellent time travel features. There is no program I would rather use to search a database of charts for planet A in a specific nakshatra while planet B is aspected by benefics, for example, or when in the future a particular configuration in the sky will occur. Even complex combinations are simple to set up and almost instantaneous to find.

In moving charts forward and backwards in time, you not only have complete control over the speed of movement, but whatever charts, tables, and graphs you select to be shown also update automatically.

The program online help is excellent, but almost unnecessary because of not only the ease of use, but also the context sensitive help that is displayed throughout the software.

A more extensive review will appear in an upcoming American Astrology issue. Feel free to contact me with specific questions about Shri Jyoti Star.

Always Upgrade Your Software

Often, people who own specific astrology programs avoid upgrading to newer versions, rationalizing that they don't need the newest features, and that they'd rather save the money. This is a big mistake. While it is very wise not to buy any update as soon as it comes out, because of potential new bugs, it is even wiser to actually get the update, perhaps a few months after it is actually released (not just announced).

The newest release will have important fixes for bugs in the previous version, not just new features. Additionally, by purchasing updates, you both support the company and encourage it to continue improving your software. Otherwise, the company will put their energy into other products, or even possibly go out of business (like C & D software did, makers of the once heralded Visual Jyotish program).

And the new features may end up being incredibly valuable to you. In the field of astrology, I'm constantly amazed just how many new features each update has. In virtually all cases, the improvements and new features are easily worth the price of the upgrade.

Be smart, upgrade your software. And to be even smarter, if you are on the Internet, check each company's website regularly for free interim updates to your favorite software. Most of the major companies regularly post free bug fixes and minor updates on their website. Take advantage of this and always use the latest version of your program.

Copy Protection, Bugs, and other Issues

Test your software!

Astrologers and students of astrology purchase astrology software with the presumption that their programs are accurate in their calculations. They often never bother to run programs through a test series of calculations to see if there are any bugs. This is a big mistake.

Many of the inexpensive commercial programs I've received for reviewing had serious inaccuracies. While the software from Astro Communication Services, Halloran Software, the Astrolog program, and WOW are both inexpensive and accurate, most others are not.

I've even seen significant bugs in the best big commericial programs at times, and while these bugs were quickly fixed, customers often are not notified of the changes or about the bugs themselves.

Software usually has a time range for which it is accurate, say the 20th century or 1800 to 2100. It is important to check the documentation, and test the software to see what happens if you go beyond that range.

For example, for the year January 1st, 1 A.D. at midnight (O hour) for Berkeley, California, your software should give the following results:

Ascendant 07°Libra  01'04''    Midheaven 07°Cancer   54'18''

Moon 18°Leo  12'20''   Sun 09°Capricorn  43'12''    Mercury 15°Capricorn  01'   

Venus 25°Aquarius  33'     Mars 11°Aries 11'   Jupiter 09°Libra  08'   

Saturn 11°Gemini 17' R    Uranus 26°Pisces 15'

Neptune 19°Scorpio 39'    Pluto 27°Virgo 36'    Node 29°Sagittarius 03' R

If your program is more than a minute of arc off for these positions, you know it cannot be relied upon for these dates.

For January 1st , 2000 at midnight, for Berkeley, California, your results should be:

Ascendant 06°Libra 32'    Midheaven 07°Cancer 22'

Moon  11°Scorpio 19'  Sun 10°Capricorn 12'  Mercury 01°Capricorn 38'

Venus  01°Sagittarius 22'     Mars  27°Aquarius 50'    Jupiter  25°Aries 15'

Saturn  10°Ta 24' R    Uranus  14°Aquarius 48'

Neptune  03°Aquarius 11'    Pluto 11°Sagittarius 27' Node  03°Leo 58' R

Please test your software even if you think it's correct. If your software is a few minutes of arc off, transits by the outer planets could be weeks or months off!

Let me know if you want me to continue this testing column. I plan to provide tests for the accuracy of your electronic atlas, transits, applying and separating orbs, and more.

Discounts on Software

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 Worldwide.

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.

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Copyright © 1999 Hank Friedman