The Importance of Upgrading Regularly
Many astrologers own excellent astrology programs, but forget to update them regularly.
I am not primarily talking about purchasing new major updates when they are released, which is incidentally a good idea if you want to support the companies that produce astrology software, and encourage them to continue doing so. (Not to mention getting dozens of new features with major updates.)
What I am suggesting is for astrologers to check regularly with their software makers for free updates that fix important bugs, bring their atlases up-to-date, and add new features, too.
For example, when a program is sold to you, the company may have "done a run" of 1,000 cds, and not want to do another run until the first batch are gone. But in the mean time, the program gets polished and improved, and newer versions are posted on their website. I'm saying that even if you buy a program tomorrow, it is worth checking immediately after you install it as to whether a new update is available.
Eventually, all professional astrology programs will check automatically for updates for you, as the new Solar Fire Deluxe does. In the mean time, please go to each company's website regularly to check for updates.
Solar Fire Deluxe, revisited
As you might already know, my extensive review of the new Solar Fire Deluxe has just come out in The Mountain Astrologer. I suggest that you read it for the most extensive coverage on the program's new and enhanced features.
After using it for a while now, I have to say that I am completely delighted with the new version. It is rock solid and stable, and its new features are really valuable.
As I mentioned before, the ability to see both aspect lines as thicker when they are stronger, and as dotted lines when they are separating, adds powerful dimensions to viewing a chart.
One's intuition suddenly gets much more information just looking at the chart. (If you want to see a chart displaying these features, click here.)
Many of you may not realize that Solar Fire also has the best implementation of importing charts from AstroDatabank of any program. Not only can you easily import any charts you want, but the program also imports the biographies! Now with Solar Fire's resizeable windows that remember their size and position, you can actually read the biographies more easily in Solar Fire (i.e. without having to scroll through the bio) than in AstroDatabank! What a great feature!
(For those unfamiliar with AstroDatabank, it has the best collection of charts in the world, including biographies and each person's placement in researchable categories (e.g. divorced, alcoholic, won the olympics, etc.) and comes complete with powerful Western and Vedic research capabilities. Contact me if you want more information on it.)
Excellent Free Astronomy Programs
As you, my readers, know. I am always on the lookout for top quality free astronomy programs to recommend to you. Here are my latest finds:
1. Home Planet is a remarkably extensive astronomy program that includes an earth map (showing day and night), satellite tracking, the positions of the planets, asteroids, and comets, the Lunar phases, and even the ability to view Earth from other planets!
Rather than cover all of the details here, just go to their website for more information and to download the program for free by clicking here.
2. Hallo Northern Sky is a second, amazingly powerful, free planetarium program with photographic images of over 26,000 deep space objects, telescope control, orbital displays and much, much more. Check it out by clicking here.
3. The Earth ScreenSaver for Windows is a completely different astronomy program. It "displays an image of the Earth as currently illuminated by the Sun, from a variety of viewpoints. You can view the Earth from the Sun (day side), the night side, from the Moon, or from an arbitrary altitude above any point on the globe specified by latitude and longitude." Take a look at the lovely photographic image and download it by clicking here.
The Full Version of Jagannatha Hora is now completely free!
Have you ever wanted a professional-level Vedic astrology program but couldn't afford it?
Or just wanted another Vedic program, with a truly extensive feature set (listed here), for free?
You can get this incredibly powerful program by clicking here to visit the website.
Many of you will want to get the full program with a world atlas (coordinates, time zones, and time changes). To do so, follow these instructions from them:
"If you want us to send you the CD, please send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and give your mailing address. As it costs us money and time to make CDs and ship them, we humbly request you to make a small donation within your capacity to cover our expenses. Please send a check payable to "Padmaja Bandaru" at the following address (don't forget to include your email address and physical mailing address):
26 Seaver Farm Lane
South Grafton, MA 01560
My Article on Research Software in the new "International Astrologer"
The ISAR journal for Winter/Spring 2005 has published my latest article on astrology software for research.
The article focuses on Time Searches, Database Searches, and the Natal and Predictive Pattern Modeling capabilities of modern astrology software.
ISAR stands for "The International Society for Astrological Research", and is a wonderful worldwide organization that holds conferences, publishs a quarterly journal, and more.
Visit their website at: http://www.isarastrology.com/, and become a member to start receiving their journal.
Where is Janus?
Several astrologers have contacted me to ask where they can obtain the program Janus. For a while, the company's website was in transition (as they were changing their website address) and no one could find them.
I contacted the program's creators and got the link to the new website. You can visit it by clicking here.
You can now purchase Janus through me for 10% off and free shipping ($269 total price). To learn how to order it at a discount through me, click here.
Securing Your Computer
Nowadays, as I've mentioned before, it's not enough to have anti-virus software and a firewall, you need anti-spyware too.
(Spyware sits in your computer and send your personal information over the internet to its authors, so they can use your credit card, etc.)
The best anti-spyware program I've found is called CounterSpy ($19.95), and it's available by clicking here. You can download a free trial, or scan your computer for spyware, before you buy the program.
You can also protect yourself (and your computer) from many malicious programs by switching your internet browser from the incredibly vulnerable Internet Explorer or Netscape to FireFox. FireFox is a free program, and is much more stable and much more secure than Netscape or Internet Explorer.
You can download FireFox by clicking here.
One great thing about FireFox is that when you install it, it will import all of your settings and favorites/bookmarks from Internet Explorer or Netscape automatically, if you want it to.
You can also download the complementary free email program, that works better and is more secure too, called Thunderbird, by clicking here.
It too will import copies of all of your previous email and email settings from the dangerously vulnerable Outlook Express or from Netscape Messenger automatically during installation, if you want it to.
Last but not least, Here's the Earth
NASA has recently released a truly awesome and huge program called World Wind that shows you satellite views of every place on Earth. You can make the Earth spin around, then zoom in on any location (using the Home key to zoom in, or your mouse wheel).
It is great to be able to see your home, Mount Everest, London, or any other place on Earth in such incredible photographic detail.
Download it by clicking here.
Discounts on Software
Software discounts starting May 2005: 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.
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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