SoftStar News

November 2000

Upgrades in the Works

The 2.0 version of AstroDatabank is almost ready to ship. The latest performance enhancements have made the software much faster, and 3,000 new charts have been added to the database.

I recently discovered, in beta testing the pre-release version, that it is much faster to use "filtering" to do most of the tasks than to use AstroSignatures. For example, I wanted to see who had the ruler of their First House in the First House.

Initially I used AstroSignatures to do this task, but it took over 15 minutes to finish the processing. When Mark suggested that I use filtering instead, I got the listing in under two minutes.

So from now on, when I just want to see which charts have a specific factor or set of factors (like Moon square Sun and Venus in the 10th house), I'll use filtering to do the job.

Incidentally, my latest review, of AstroDatabank 2.0, has just come out in the Mercury Direct insert (for subscribers only) of The Mountain Astrologer.

Neat Stuff

Most astrologers are unaware of the vast number of resources for them on the Net. Not only are there excellent sites for finding both Western and Vedic astrology books, but there are many sites with very informative articles.

As I mentioned in a previous SoftStar News issues, you can find free astrology fonts, free algorithms for creating your own software, and much more.

And there are even a lot of free astrology programs, for both PCs and Macs.

In order to find all of these, I recommend using the MetaCrawler meta-search engine. This search tool uses all of the best search engines to find what you're looking for in one try. You can go to Metacrawler by clicking here.

Copy Protection, Bugs, and other Issues

Unfortunately, there is a growing trend to require that you enter computer-specific passwords to get your software to run. I'm seeing more and more astrology programs that require that you email or call the manufacturer to get the correct password for each computer you own. The obvious (and sometimes terrible) drawback to this approach is that you cannot install a program to a new PC without corresponding with the company.

And if the company folds, your software becomes useless once you upgrade your computer. I hope the companies using this method of password copy-protection set up some kind of unprotection method (or unprotected software) for if and when they close their doors. Ask them to.

Important Notes

Another trend is for companies to bypass dealers in selling their software. Most general software firms (other than astrology software companies) are very careful not to undercut their dealers. The astrology software companies now include all of their programs on CD, so that you can call and get a registration code to instantly own a new program. Some companies even include special discounts if you buy directly from the company. Unless those buying software continue to use them, the astrology software dealer -- who represents more than one company -- may quickly grow extinct.

One company decided recently that they won't sell their latest product through dealers at all. They want all of the profits for themselves.

Please purchase software from dealers like myself, Awakenings, Cheshire Rose and others. Keep us alive so that we may:

1. Help you to choose from a much wider selection of software.

2. Give you additional support on programs you've received. (Note: You'll also get the same support from the company as if you bought it directly from them).

3. Provide you with important information about forthcoming programs, and about bugs and problems that exist (which companies selling the software may not alert you to).

4. Help you get better prices.

5. Have a go-between to help you deal with each company and any issues that arise.

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.

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 © 2000 Hank Friedman