SoftStar News

November 1999

Copy Protection, Bugs, and other Issues

In writing my article for The Mountain Astrologer -- see Important Notes below -- I was amazed at the persistence of a number of bugs in the software I was testing. Many programs still have applying/separating errors in their aspect lists, even top-notch programs.

It points out how incredibly important it is for astrologers to know basic math; e.g. how to determine applying vs. separating, how to calculate transits by hand, etc. Over-relying on a computer for astrology, without knowing what tasks astrology software consistently does inaccurately, will weaken one's readings and understanding.

Truly Great Software

There are an incredible number of really fine astrology programs out there, and I would like to begin focusing on them, one at a time. Let's start with Solar Fire 4 from Astrolabe. Solar Fire is the best designed program (of any type) that I have seen. It is not only incredibly easy to learn and to use, but impeccably functional.

While viewing a chart onscreen, you can easily change the aspects used, the points and planets shown and their colors, the time, date, midheaven, or ascendant position, or the style of wheel, and then instantly see the changes you've selected. This takes interacting with a chart to a whole new level. I often, for example, change orbs to 1 degree, or look at only the applying aspects (which only Solar Fire can do).

You can also immediately go from the chart viewing screen to the transit or tabular report screens (and back), enabling you to calculate transits and see listings of Arabian parts or Fixed Stars, for example, easily and quickly.

And there is no program that makes it easier to calculate a progressed lunation chart, a quad-wheel (with say transits, Solar Return, and progressed positions around a natal chart), twelve different charts on one page, your own custom-designed page, or a graphic ephemeris display.

Finally, the excellent Time Map in Solar Fire is completely scalable from one day to 100 years or more, showing the hours and minutes of each transit for a one or two day map, and the exact dates (entering, exact, and leaving) for longer periods. It shows each transit, progression, eclipse, station, direction, parallel, or ingress event on one line, and even numbers the pages for multiple page printouts. This remains the clearest and most powerful dynamic event depiction of any astrology software program.

Solar Fire has far too many features to cover them all here. Suffice it to say that it is both incredibly powerful and a great joy to use.

Important Notes

I am happy to announce the acceptance of my newest article, "The Optimal Use of Astrology Software" into the February 2000 issue of The Mountain Astrologer. I worked for several months researching the article, and received help from many individuals and astrology software companies.

The article, which should be read by everyone who uses astrology software, includes sections on learning to use your software, software limitations due to birth time accuracy, the accuracy of astronomical data, electronic atlas issues, limitations in software design (what your software will do incorrectly!), common -- and unfixed -- software bugs, and much more.

The article also provides you with accurate astrological data so that you can test your software's accuracy for a variety of conditions, including ancient dates, asteroids, duplicate cities, time changes, 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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Telling others about our website.

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Alerting us to new programs and astrological resources,

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and by purchasing your astrological software through this site.

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Copyright © 1999 Hank Friedman