SoftStar News

May 1999

Upgrades in the Works


By autumn, at least two of the foremost astrology software companies will be releasing their next major upgrades. Parashara's Light 2000 and Kepler 4.6 promise to be very significant advances.

Michiel Boender has returned from India and is adding many features to Parashara's Light. I should be receiving a beta test version of the upgrade this month. In my next column, I hope to give you an advanced look at what's coming.

David Cochrane told me that the new version of Kepler will be their biggest upgrade ever, with many colorful new graphics, basic Vedic astrology functions, and more. Cosmic Patterns has just released quite a few new report writers that I will also be reviewing. Keep posted.


Windows/PC Astrology on the Mac?

Much to my amazement, I've discovered that a growing number of astrologers using Macintosh computers are able to run the best of the Windows software on their computers!

Already, Cosmic Pattern's Kepler is fully certified to run under Parallels or Boot Camp (Parallels or Boot Camp is no longer being sold, Parallels is the best solution now) on the Mac. Both Solar*Fire and Win*Star are reported to run on Macs using Parallels or Boot Camp, but neither company guarantees compatibility, nor can support Mac questions or issue refunds if problems arise. Matrix says that if you can run their Win*Star demo ($10 from Matrix Software) on your Mac -- using Parallels or Boot Camp -- you'll be able to run the full Win*Star program.


Neat Stuff

For astrologers with PC's running Windows 95, 98, or CE, the Lunabar is an excellent tool. My favorite features of the program are the icons it shows of the present lunar phase and lunar sign at the bottom right of your screen -- in your taskbar -- so you never lost track of where the Moon is. Running your mouse over the sign icon tells you the exact lunar degree, and over the phase icon tells you how many days old the Moon is, whether it is waxing or waning, and the name of the lunar phase.

If you double-click on either icon, the program pops up with much more information, including the lunar phases for the next two months, the times of sunrise and sunset, the position of the Sun and the north node, the nearest fixed star to the Moon, the planetary hour, and more. Lunabar is available from clySmic software at http://www.timelordsastrology.com.au/links.htm for $19.95.


Copy Protection, Bugs, and other Issues

C & D Scientific Software, the makers of Visual Jyotish, has gone out of business. Unfortunately, they employed a type of copy protection in Visual Jyotish that makes it impossible to use the program once you've installed a new hard drive, a new motherboard, or just purchased a new computer, unless you receive a new code from them. I had been promised by them that if they ever stopped supporting their program, they would publish a universal means of running the program without needing a new code, but they haven't been able to do so.

I received emails from very unhappy customers who could not get the codes they needed and were stuck with non-functioning software. Apparently, the software author was traveling and this delayed his response. (If you still need a new unlock code because you have changed your hardware, he has promised me that he will provide them. Send him an email via http://www.jyotish.com and he'll get back to you. This illustrates the problem with copy protection all too well.

The now defunct program Mercury -- for the Macintosh -- originally promised to be an exceptionally powerful astrology program. When I tested it for review, I had to "turn off all of the inits" on the Mac to get it to run smoothly, and still had some printing problems (which my Macintosh expert said was due to the new version of the operating system on her machine and not Mercury) but overall the program looked quite impressive. Unfortunately, the bugs were never completely fixed, the software couldn't run on newer machines, development ceased. and the program has been pulled from distribution.

I continue to urge astrologers to never buy software when it is first released, as in a version 1.0. Wait a few months, until the bugs have been found and fixed. I recently reported, in The Mountain Astrologer April/May '99 issue, a bug in version 2.0 of Win*Star (in versions of the software shipped before January 1999) where the M.C. and I.C. planetary lines could be off by 100 miles. Matrix fixed this bug immediately upon being alerted to it. A fix is available on this website, in the astrology software section. Always feel free to check with me before buying software to see if I know of any serious bugs or important forthcoming changes.

Important Note:

I will be adding to future SoftStar News: the latest software reviews, book reviews, articles on getting the most from your software and avoiding common problems, questions and answers, bug fixes, software tips and tricks, and more. Please stay tuned and feel free to email me .

Thanks

Hank Friedman




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