SoftStar News

June 1999

Upgrades in the Works

Astro Communication Services, the makers of The Electronic Astrologer Natal and Future programs, has just informed me that they are preparing the long-awaited Electronic Astrologer relationship module.

This module will allow ACS to provide a complete core group of excellent interpretive programs at very low cost. Additional modules are also being discussed, as well as a professional series.

The professional series will allow people to sell the printouts without sending in a 10% commission fee for every report sold, as the Electronic Astrologer series requires.

Cosmic Patterns has a new page on their website describing their new $100 program Pegasus and pre-announcing the August shipping date of Kepler 4.6, showing us the beautiful new transit graphs, charts, enhanced mapping, and other new features of the Kepler upgrade. Check it out: click here.

Neat Stuff

Redshift is an excellent astronomy program for astrologers. You can watch the movement of the planets, comets, asteroids, and moons unfold from virtually any vantage point on Earth or in the Heavens, at any speed -- forward or backward -- with complete accuracy, for a time range of almost 15,000 years. You can search for eclipses, planetary conjunctions, or other stellar events, and review the important astronomical events for each month.

Redshift includes a large gallery of lovely space photos, beautiful 3D graphical representations of the planets, dozens of movies of astronomical phenomena (e.g. a comet approaching the Sun), an entire astronomical encyclopedia of astronomy, and the ability to view over 7000 asteroids and over a million stars.

At $49.95, RedShift is a superb tool for watching the sky on your PC or Mac. It's faster, more accurate, and easier to use than software that used to cost six times as much. I highly recommend it. You can purchase RedShift by going to their website:

Fixes and Solutions to Software & Hardware Problems

I recently received this tip from Matrix Software, which fixes printing problems under Windows 98 on the LaserJet 4 printer series. If you are having problems printing out reports under WinWriter or Cosmic Patterns Kepler program on an LJ4 printer, install the LaserJet III printer driver -- which is on your Windows 98 disk, and then go into the printer's Properties and change the spool settings to RAW.

(Note: to change the Properties of any printer, click on Start at the bottom left of your screen, then on Settings, then on Printers, and then move your mouse to highlight the printer setting you want to change and click the Right -- not left -- mouse button and choose Properties from the listing that pops up. Then click on the Details tab, then click on the Spool settings button, and then click on the arrow pointing down across from the Spool data format and change the setting to RAW by clicking on it. Click the OK button, and then click on the next OK button, and you're done.)

Never Been Fixed and Important Problems in Astro-Computing

Sometimes astrology software companies hire outside programmers and consultants for help in preparing software modules for their company.

If bugs show up, it may become impossible to get the problems addressed, especially if the programmer has gone their separate way.

This has resulted in longstanding bugs in several programs. Most notable are the problems with the Bhava charts and the Shad Bala in the otherwise excellent Matrix Software Vedic and Hindu programs, and the incorrect Local Space Maps in the Locality Maps add-on to the Star Trax program from A.I.R. Software. (Note: the Astro*Carto*Graphy maps in this module are accurate.)

Astrology software companies do their very best to deliver accurate programs, but sometimes situations like this make bugs impossible to fix.

Important Notes

Most astrologers don't realize that if they use their software to calculate a transit hit listing or graph for a period of less than two months, they run the risk of missing some of the most major transit events. This is because software looks for when planets enter the orb of an aspect to a natal planet, and when they exactly aspect a point. But if a planet has entered the orb before the starting date, and does not reach the exact point by the ending date of the search, the software will not show the transit at all!

For example, Bill Clinton will be in a period of Neptune opposed Saturn during September and October of this year, but almost every astrology program will completely omit this transit if you select the period from September 1, 1999 thru November 15, 1999 for your search period, because the transit is closer than the entering orb, but doesn't reach the exact hit until November 27, 1999.

This very serious deficiency in virtually all software can only be compensated for by setting your software to look for periods of at least three months at a time.

Don't be caught by this software design flaw!

The Future of SoftStar News

Starting next month, I will be offering more in-depth software reviews, questions & answers, important bug reports that I receive from my readers, and more. Please tell other astrologers about this column, and feel free to circulate printed copies of this newsletter.


Hank Friedman

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