Astronomers have recently made breakthroughs in understanding the structure and patterns in Saturn's rings.
I've run across a groundbreaking article about them here, and a new set of photos of Saturn here.
Saturday, December 5, 2015
The Last two-for-one sale of Solar Writers
Esoteric Technologies, the creators of Solar Fire and the Solar Writer reports, has stopped offering 2 reports for the price of one, but they have kindly allowed me to offer this deal one more time.
You can get any two reports for the price of one (or 4 for 2, etc.) here through December 14, 2015.
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Hot Degrees 2016 from Astrolabe
The staff at Astrolabe, the creators of Nova Chartwheels and the Astrolabe Reports, and distributors of Solar Fire, JigSaw, AstroTides, the Imperial Astrologer, and the programs of Rumen Kolev, are celebrating their 36 years in business with a free gift to all of their customers.
Hot Degrees 2016 shows all of the major astrological events of the upcoming year, and can be both viewed and downloaded.
I am very grateful to Astrolabe for all that they have contributed to astrology and astrologers.
Saturday, November 14, 2015
The Amazing Moons of Pluto
The latest mission to Pluto has given astronomers some very surprising results. It turns out that the orbits of the minor satellites (moons) of Pluto defy scientific understanding.
Many of you might not know that because Charon (Pluto's largest moon) is so large, in fact more than half of the size of Pluto, astronomers consider the pair as a double planet system, i.e. Pluto and Charon orbiting each other. This might contribute to the never-seen-before motions of the other moons.
You can see an animation of the moons here and here, a video of the incredibly varied orbit of Nix here, and an informative infographic about them all here.
Sunday, November 8, 2015
Shri Jyoti Star Holiday Sale
I'm happy to announce a holiday sale during November and December of the phenomenal Vedic program Shri Jyoti Star.
Shri Jyoti Star is used by many of the top Jyotishis, and the latest version has many new and improved features.
You can read about Shri Jyoti Star here, and purchase it at the sale price here.
Until late last year, I'd never heard of Oud, aka Agarwood Oil. It's the rarest and most expensive essential oil in the world, worth more than its weight than gold, and it has the ability to both ground you and open you spiritually in a profound way.
Two of the very best ouds that I have found have just gone on sale for a short time. (The purveyor, Ensar Oud, is known as the best Oud distiller and purveyor. I hold him in great respect. I do not get any commission or perks by recommending his Ouds.)
His Assam 3000 is the the most spiritual and uplifting Oud that he has, with a very lovely and aligning fragrance.
His Oud Yusuf is not only exquisite in scent, evoking lilies and lilac, and completely ethically harvested (only the Oud-laden portions of the trees are removed. The trees still live.), but is is also powerfully transporting.
I have sampled over 100 Ouds so far (most in tiny amounts), and just want you, my readers, to have the benefits of my quest.
Sunday, September 6, 2015
I updated my free software demos page
Since most companies allow you to download and explore a free demo of their software before buying it, I've created a page with links to all of the program demos.
I've just updated the page to include the link for the phenomenal program Prometheus, and you can see all of the links and get the demos here.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Precise Coordinates for your Location
I found a link to a website that can give you the precise longitude and latitude of any place, either by entering the name of the place or postal code or zip code or by pointing at the location on a map.
There are astrologers who want this capability, especially for very large cities, where your astrology program might give you the coordinates for somewhere in the city that's fairly far away from your precise location.
You can explore both approaches and get precise coordinates here.
(Just remember that the site does not give time zones or time changes.)
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
My Daily Space Wallpaper
Do you like images of space as much as I do?
Would you like to see a new lovely photo of the Solar System, the Earth, and the Universe appear every day as your computer's wallpaper?
Go here, and you can download the latest version of this program.
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
The new Heliocentric version of Planetary Aspects and Transits
I reviewed the program Planetary Aspects and Transits for The Mountain Astrologer, and you can read the review here.
The author is just released a Heliocentric version of his program, which you can learn about and purchase here.
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
The new look of Pluto
As many of you know, the NASA Spacecraft "New Horizons" has just finished its flyby of Pluto.
Some of the best images from its voyage can be found here.
Note: Be sure to click on the photo to see additional ones.
Monday, July 20, 2015
My latest tutorial Understanding Houses: Part One
This is the first of a series of articles exploring the meanings of the houses, both individually and in groups, including an exploration of the Rising Sign, house cusps, and more.
I have rewritten a lot of the material in my aromatherapy blog because I've gotten much more experience in learning about and using essential oils.
You can start reading the blog here, but my biggest changes are in the second installment, where I've created a table of the best essential oil companies, their greatest oils, and more.
P.s. I just added another page to the blog here, on my favorite scents so far.
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
My Article on Mobile Astrology Apps has been published!
I am happy to report that the results of my extensive research, finding and testing iOS and Android astrology apps, has been published in the latest issue of The Mountain Astrologer as a feature article.
I encourage you to purchase and read either the digital or printed Aug/Sept 2015 issue.
Monday, June 29, 2015
My Mountain Astrologer Column Oct./Nov. 2014 Issue
This Mountain Astrologer column focuses on AstroDeluxe updates, Watching the Earth from Space, and on how to protect your PC.
Haydn Huntley, the author of Haydn's Jyotish, has created a website that will calculate Vedic charts online for any computer.
The online version uses the Swiss Ephemeris for accuracy, an improved version of the ACS atlas for auto-lookup of longitudes, latitudes, time zones, and time changes, and is free!
On the site, you can calculate Rasi, Varga, and Chaleta Bhava charts, Ashtakavarga, different Lagna charts (including Arudha), tables of Rasi Aspects and Friendships, Vimshottari Dasas up to three levels, and chart analysis pages including pages on each of the planets and houses and on the overall chart.
With my help, Haydn will be adding Quick*Chart importing so that you can have all of your charts uploaded to your file on his website very soon.
After exploring dozens and dozens of apps for the iOS (iPhone/iPad) and Android platforms, I've completed my next article for The Mountain Astrologer.
I will be writing additional articles in TMA on apps too, so if you come across an astrology app that you like, please continue to let me know.
To find out which are the best apps, please get the next issue of The Mountain Astrologer.
Monday, April 6, 2015
Merging chart files in Solar Fire and Astro Gold
Often astrologers find themselves using Solar Fire on more than one PC or using it on a PC and Astro Gold on an iPad. As a result, one device might have charts created that are not present on their other device.
Esoteric Technologies, the creators of Solar Fire, have kindly created an instruction sheet on how to best merge chart files, which you can read here.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
The Asteroid Add-on for Solar Fire
You can now purchase Solar Fire with the Asteroid Add-on here.
Monday, March 16, 2015
Running astrology software on two or more PCs
I frequently get asked by those about to purchase astrology software if they are allowed to run the program on more than one PC. Since many astrologers have desktops, laptops, and tablets, it is useful to be able to install their astrology software on all of their devices.
My answer is simple: you can install and run your astrology programs on as many devices as you own. Of course, if the astrology program itself runs under Windows, then your devices all have to run Windows too. (I.e. you can't run any Windows astrology program on an iPad or iPhone or Android phone or Android tablet, which includes the Fire tablets from Amazon.)
But in responding to a customer's query, she brought up another issue: do the chart files sync across all of the PCs. The answer is no, they don't. Therefore, the best procedure is to enter all new data on only one of your PCs, and then use a flash drive to regularly copy the updated chart file to all of your other Windows devices.
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Do you know of any astrology apps for the iPad or Android?
I am in the process of preparing a full article for The Mountain Astrologer on astrology apps for the iPad and Android platforms, and need your help.
If you know of any apps that you like that I should explore, please email me and let me know.
Thank you very much!
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Gambling with Astrology
I frequently receive emails from gamblers who want to use astrology to increase their winnings, and are looking for astrology software that will help them.
I am struck by many things that they never ask (because they don't understand astrology enough):
1. Is it in my chart to make money via gambling?
If a person's chart does not indicate success via gambling, then the best transits in the world won't help.
2. Will positive transits reliably result in winning?
Positive transits may not affect financial status at all, depending upon which planets are transited, their status in the person's chart, the houses they rule, etc.
3. Will negative transits affect my judgment, impulsiveness, groundedness, etc.
It is naive to think that the universe is mechanical, and that a challenging transit will cause losses directly. In fact, if a transit makes you hasty, rash, overly idealistic, depressed, or otherwise influences your psyche, it will definitely affect your gambling behavior.
4. What do I need to know about myself to be an effective gambler?
The whole point of natal astrology is an understanding of ones self, both the mundane "lot in life" themes and the psychological ones.
Gamblers virtually never ask crucial questions about their makeup that will influence their success in gambling and in every other area of their lives.
And no astrology programs oriented towards helping gamblers address any of the above issues!
Whether one should gamble or not is a question each person should ask themselves, and astrology can help, but only if the above considerations are part of the equation.
Saturday, February 7, 2015
Part Two of my Mountain Astrologer review of the Prometheus astrology program
I've uploaded part two of my review of the astrology program Prometheus here.
Prometheus is an amazing professional-level program with many unique capabilities. I invite you to read the review and learn all about it.
Sunday, February 1, 2015
Installing AstroDatabank on a Windows 7 PC
Recently, I discovered that one astrologer had found a way to install AstroDatabank on a Windows 7 PC. I followed his instructions, improved upon them, and published them here.
I ran AstroDatabank today (on my Windows 7 system) and realized that it is actually more functional than I had thought. It turns out that when you run WebUpdate, or add a filter, or do a search, if you encounter the AstroDatabank Error Report Screen, all you have to do is click on the cancel button and these functions work!
So anyone who has an original AstroDatabank CD and is computer savvy enough can install AstroDatabank on Windows 7.
Sunday, January 25, 2015
A free set of astrological icons
I was exploring free astrology software on the 'net and found a great set of astrological icons for free.
You can download them, as well as explore all of the free astrology software I've discovered, here.
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Towards a Deeper Understanding of Transits:
Core Principles in Transit Interpretation
I prepared a new tutorial for my Learn Astrology Free website on the major principles in transit interpretation.
Now that I'm back from the holidays, I decided to create an image map of the program Solar Fire.
It was a labor of love, taking many, many hours to complete, and involved first creating a Mind Map of the program, and then using Image Map software to create popup notes and links.
The Image Map serves three different functions:
1. It lays out most of the features of Solar Fire, so that everyone can see what the program can do.
2. If you move your mouse over any feature, a popup note tells you where to find that feature. (And gives additional tips and information.)
3. If you click on the features that are shown in bold italic, a new window will open and show you a YouTube video tutorial that I created for that feature. (By clicking on the topic Solar Fire, for example, you will see my Introduction to Solar Fire tutorial video.)
I hope that my efforts prove valuable to you.
p.s. As I create new Solar Fire tutorial videos, I will update this map to make accessing them easier.
I am planning, as I mentioned earlier, an article on Android and iPad astrology apps.
Please contact me at my email address if you have any apps you like or have created.
Happy Holidays to all.
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Microsoft Visual Studio is Now Free!
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Aromatherapy: A New Journey
For the past few months, I've been exploring the world of aromatherapy. While most practitioners of aromatherapy don't know or use astrology in their work, there are a few that do.
Over time, I hope to learn the correlations between scents and planets, and see how they can work together.
In the meantime, you might enjoy reading about my early experiences, here.
Sunday, November 23, 2014
My Great Holiday Astrology Software Sale!
Please visit my website on Thursday for my annual holiday astrology software sale. I will have many offerings this year, at great prices!
Some of the sales are as short as four days, so please be sure and visit this weekend.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Astrology Apps authors: please contact me!
My forthcoming Mountain Astrologer article will review Mobile Astrology Apps.
The current Mountain Astrologer issue posted this notice about it:
But I need your help. If you've either created an astrology app or know of one that you really like, please contact
and let me know.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Mars Retrograde animation
To ancient Vedic astrologers, who observed the movements of the planets, the unpredictable nature of Mars' orbital path was confounding, Mars became the planet that "went its own way".
The reason for this was that each time Mars goes retrograde, the path it takes is unique and never to be repeated.
Here's a page with several depictions of Mars retrograding. Be sure to look at the contrast between its 2003 retrograde path and its 2005 one (at the bottom of the page).
P.s. This page explains more about why the shapes can be different for each retrogradation.
Monday, November 3, 2014
Extraordinary Holiday Sale on Prometheus!
Most astrologers have never heard of Prometheus, unless they've read my two reviews of it in The Mountain Astrologer this year. But when I first started exploring Prometheus, I was astounded by the many unique features and brilliant design ideas in the program.
I have been working with Gavin Burns, the author of Prometheus, and know that he is continuing to develop the program. In fact, the next major update should be phenomenal!
He has agreed to allow me to offer Prometheus on sale this holiday season (through December 15th) for an incredibly low price with a free update to version 2.0 included!
You can learn about many of the program's capabilities, and get it at the sale price here.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Great at Every Price! updated
I've just updated my flagship article comparing the top astrology programs significantly.
And read my latest tutorial article "The Art of Nakshatra Analysis" here.
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Laniakea: Our home supercluster
Have you ever wondered where in the Universe we are?
A series of Hawaiian scientists have developed a new technique to map the sky and where we are in it. You can watch this amazing video about it here.
Wednesday, September 17-24, 2014
My review of Sirius 2.0 begins
I have been exploring Sirius 2.0 in depth, and have helped Cosmic Patterns continue to improve it. They are incredibly responsive and have done an incredible job with this new version.
I have begun my online review of Sirius 2.0, which I will gradually add to over the coming months. You can see it here.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
My Free Astrology Software web page updated!
I've just updated my web page showing all of the astrology programs available for free for Windows, Mac, Android, and Linux platforms.
New software has been added and the page updated, too. You can visit it here.
Monday, September 1, 2014
My latest TMA column
I have just posted my TMA column including the free Starfisher program and the free ephemeris generator The RF Ephemeris, plus an important article on the questions I am most frequently asked by astrologers.
While the previous Sirius upgrade (1.3) was a smaller update primarily adding a huge atlas to the program, Cosmic Patterns' new Sirius 2.0 promises to be a truly major update.
Sirius 2.0 is due out this month, and you can pre-order it here, and see reviews of previous versions of Sirius on the same page too.
I have already pre-ordered Sirius 2.0 myself, and as soon as I receive it, I will start writing reviews on this page.
I look forward to exploring Sirius 2.0 with you.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
The Meaning of Exaggerated Condition
Once again, I've written an new article for my Learn Astrology Free website. (I add new tutorials bimonthly.)
The website now has over 150 free tutorials in both Western & Vedic astrology for you to explore. You can read the new article here.
I hope that you enjoy it!
Sunday, July 20, 2014
The Lunarium website
In my endless and joyous search for effective tools for astrologers, I stumbled upon the Lunarium website.
This website is filled with useful online resources for astrologers including an amazing monthly lunar calendar showing Lunar ingresses and phases, Void-of-Course Moons, Eclipses, Apogee and Perigee, Lunar Mansions, and Lunar Days. When you place your mouse pointer over any ingress, the website shows you delineations and other important information.
You can, and should, configure the calendar for your current location, to ensure the timings are correct.
There are also tables of when planets retrograde and of planetary days and hours, many lessons in astrology, and more.
I invite you to look it over.
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
My TMA review of The Delphic Oracle 7.0
I have just uploaded my full Mountain Astrologer review of the Delphic Oracle 7.0 here.
This program is the most powerful one available for Traditional Astrology and I highly recommend that you explore the review.
Friday, July 4, 2014
My website search greatly improved!
A little less than two years ago, I added search features to all of my websites, in order for you to be able to search my sites for specific astrological terms, etc.
Unfortunately, these searches weren't always successful, but over time I improved the search capabilities, and I recently corresponded with the author of the search engine and now it's working better than ever.
Because of ecological concerns (and printing and shipping costs), astrology software makers (and software companies in general) have stopped creating printed manuals.
Therefore, one often has to use each program's help functions to learn to use the software.
Fortunately, Esoteric Technologies has created an online program manual for Solar Fire 9, which you can explore here, to help you learn to use Solar Fire 9.
I also have links to downloadable manuals for previous versions of Solar Fire here and here and here.
Each of the downloadable manuals offers a lot, but the last link above is very detailed.
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
When you order software via download...
More and more companies are offering their astrology software (through me) to customers via download.
Here are a few important things to know about getting astrology programs via downloads:
1. Once you pay for the software, I post the order with the company, and they email you a link and unlock codes for the program.
It might take a up to a day for them to send you the codes, or more if you order late on Friday or on the weekend (all companies are closed on the weekend).
2. I often receive emails from people saying that they didn't get the email. In virtually all cases, the email was sent, but ended up in their Spam or Trash folder.
Always check these folders, and if you can't find the email from them, contact me as they also send me a copy which I can forward to you.
3. Downloading is a great choice for getting software because:
a. You get the software much faster than by shipping a CD.
b. You get the latest version. (Some companies may have slightly older versions burned on the CDs they are shipping.)
c. There are no duty fees or delays at customs or the post office.
d. You can copy the downloaded file to a flash drive or CD for backup.
e. You save on shipping fees.
f. And what you get is the same as would be on the CD (or newer).
Most people are now choosing to get their software via download, and I've found the process to be very effective.
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Solar Writer 2-for-1 sale!
Through June 12th, you can purchase two Solar Writer reports for the price of one (or four for the price of two, etc.).
You can read about them, see sample reports, and view my recommendations here.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Last Chance for the lowest Solar Fire upgrade pricing!
I originally thought that the reduced price of the Solar Fire upgrade would last through June 6th, but I was just notified that the sale ends on June 2nd!
And the cost to update will go up considerably after that (as much as 43%!).
So if you plan to upgrade to Solar Fire 9, I suggest that you do it now. You can get the update at an even lower price through me (through June 2nd) here.
[By the way, I am often asked if you have to have the previous version of Solar Fire installed on your PC to be able to install the upgrade. The answer is "no". But if you do have an earlier version of Solar Fire on your PC, during installation most of your settings will be transferred to the new version.]
The new Käla 2013: A list of enhancements and the latest features
Käla, the creation of Vedic astrologer Ernst Wilhelm, has recently been updated to a new version featuring many innovative functions.
You can learn about them, and get Käla 2013 at a special price here.
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Evaporating Peaks: Pillars in the Monkey Head Nebula
The Monkey Head Nebula (also known as NGC 2174) is a star-forming region in which bright, newborn stars near the center of the nebula illuminate the surrounding gas with energetic radiation.
Here is a stunning video This video showcasing visible and infrared light views of a collection of pillars along one edge of the nebula.
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
A large list of free astrology software
One of my readers was kind enough to give me a link to a very large number of free astrology programs for PCs, Macs, Linux, Android, the iPhone and more.
Some are in French (as indicated by the French flag symbol) , and the whole web page is in French, but it's not very hard to figure out (and one can always use Google translate to render the page in English.)
Also, many of the programs listed have pages written in English, so all you have to do is click on each link.
I recommend that you visit the page here, as it is quite worthwhile.
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Ten things that astrologers should know about astro-computing
Many of you probably don't know that I am a computer wizard as well as an astrology software expert. I've built my own PCs, keep up with the latest developments in computer technology daily, and have a huge collection of software utilities.
I'd like to share some of my insights here, so that those of you who aren't as computer-savvy can benefit from my experience:
1.Backup your data. As an astrologer, I am well aware that it takes a lot of time and care entering birth data into an astrology program. PCs are susceptible to hardware crashes (especially hard drives) as well as viruses and other malware, and so every astrologer should back up their charts files once a week. You can backup to an external hard drive, a CD or DVD, or to a flash drive.
2. Only buy new computer equipment. Not only are used PCs, printers, etc. likely to fail much more often and more quickly, but the capabilities of computer hardware continually improve, so it is never a good practice to buy old or used equipment. Last year, my Canon printer of many years finally died. I liked it so much that I bought two different "like new" models of it (it had long since been discontinued). Both models failed within months, and I ended up getting a new Canon printer instead.
3. Practice safe computing. Always have an antivirus program and a firewall running on your PC, and keep them, and your web browser, and all of your other programs up-to-date to ensure that your computer is protected from malware. In addition, never open any attachments to emails (or click on links within emails) unless you know the person or company that sent it to you. Never give any personal financial information to anyone via email.
4.The best platform for astrology is Windows. While there are some astrology programs for the Android, Chrome, Linux, iPad, and Mac platforms, they are few and far between. If you want the widest choice of programs and/or reports, or have a specific astrological focus (e.g. Traditional astrology, Huber astrology, Cosmobiology, astromapping, or Jyotish, for example), only Windows programs will provide you with all of the tools you will need.
The reasons for the paucity of astrology software for other operating systems besides Windows are both the prevalence of Windows PCs (over 20x as many as Macs, for example), and the lack of power and storage capacity of many phones, tablets, and phablets, preventing full-fledged programs from being written for them.
5. Check for updates to your astrology programs regularly. Most companies issue updates for their astrology programs regularly. These updates fix bugs, improve the built-in atlases, and add new features and enhancements. Most programs do not auto-update, so you will need to either visit the company's website or see if the program has a manual feature to check for updates.
6. Get a surge protector or better still a UPS. Voltage surges can fry computer equipment in a second (literally!), so you should always connect your PC, printer, monitor, and other peripherals to a surge protector or better still an Uninterruptable Power Supply instead of directly into the wall outlet.
7. Explore astrology programs and reports before buying any. Since astrology software cannot be returned, it is best to explore samples of astrological reports, and download demos of calculation programs, before purchasing. A program may, for example, have the functions that you want, but have an interface that you don't like or charts that don't appeal to you.
8. Learn about your software. You will enjoy your astrology software much more if you explore all of the resources for learning about it. On my many websites on specific astrology programs, I offer video and written tutorials and screenshots for many programs. Most programs also have built-in Help and manuals to assist you. You might also benefit by reading my article, "The Optimal Use of Astrology Software", which has had many revisions.
9. Pay attention when you enter chart data. In my years of providing support to astrologers using software, I've found that the number one source of errors is entering the wrong data into a program. I always double-check the birth data I enter into a program before calculating a chart, and recommend this practice to everyone.
10. Get expert advice! I have helped astrologers for over 30 years to get the right programs for their needs. You can email me or read my reviews (all of which have been double-checked by the companies making the software) or read my comparison articles before getting a program.
Additional tip: Check out PCs and hardware before buying them. Computer screens can be full of glare (too shiny), keyboards can be hard to press or poorly arranged, printers can produce poor output, and PCs can be slow, so always go to a store and examine the hardware you are considering buying before getting it.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Help improve the ACS atlas
For many astrologers, the ACS Atlas is built-in to their astrology software and provides the coordinates, time zones, and time changes for every chart.
Given the ever-changing landscape of time zones and time changes, and even city and country names, keeping the ACS atlas up-to-date with the latest information is an endless occupation.
Karen Ryder at Astrolabe is the current "keeper of the flame", the person responsible for fixing problems and incorporating new information, and so if you have any issues with the ACS atlas, or can offer her new time zone info, please write to her at email@example.com.
You will be helping astrologers everywhere.
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
The Year of the Updates
As those of you who visit my website frequently already know, Esoteric Technologies released the update to Solar Fire Gold, called Solar Fire 9, early in March of this year. I designed a website that focuses on the new update here.
In addition, I was introduced to a new professional-level astrology program from the U.K. called Prometheus a few months ago, which impressed me with its amazing range of features. I have written a two part review of it for The Mountain Astrologer, and created a website about it here. The author is very open to my guidance, and Prometheus is rapidly being further developed and improved. There will be many significant updates during this year, all free to those who purchase it in 2014.
Although I don't have any concrete information about additional astrology software updates coming in 2014, if I am reading the signs correctly, there will be important ones.
By the way, I am often asked if new versions are coming, and can tell you that I am rarely told in advance of their release, so you will hear about the latest versions in this column as soon as I know about them.
And I'm also asked, "Should I wait to buy a program until the new update is released?", and the answer is "no", because the next update might be a long time coming (I've waited years for two of them so far), and because most companies offer free upgrades to those who have recently purchased the previous version.
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Equinox on a Spinning Earth
When does the line between day and night become vertical? When its the equinox on planet Earth, a time of year when day and night are most nearly equal. At an equinox, the Earth's terminator -- the dividing line between day and night -- becomes vertical and connects the north and south poles.
You can watch a time-lapse video, displaying an entire year on planet Earth in twelve seconds , of this event here.
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
My latest TMA column including the Regulus Platinum 7.0 Review
I have just added my latest Mountain Astrologer column to this website.
You can find all of my TMA columns, including this one, here.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
It's time to upgrade to Windows 7
Apparently, between 1/4 and 1/3 of all computer users are still running the old Windows XP operating system. Even though virtually every program that runs on later versions of Windows will still run on XP, there is a very serious issue in continuing to operate an XP computer: safety.
Microsoft is about to withdraw support for Windows XP, and that means that there will be no security updates, i.e. that any weaknesses that hackers find in XP will be fully exploitable.
Already XP users are likely to be attacked by hackers, malware, and spyware six times more than Windows 7 users. And soon, it's going to get much worse.
You can read this article about the current and future issues with XP, and what can be done about them, but I strongly encourage those using Windows XP to move to a Windows 7 computer system.
Windows 7 is stable, easy to use, and much more secure than XP.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Introducing Solar Fire 9
The latest version of Solar Fire, version 9, has just been released. It has many new and enhanced features, and so I created an entire website all about it at:
For the next two months, you can get the update at a doubly-discounted sale price through me here.
I am very happy that Solar Fire continues to develop, with new functions, more reports, greater ease-of-use, and more.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
New Video Tutorials for Sirius and Kepler
David Cochrane, the creator of Sirius and Kepler, has started a series of tutorial videos on both programs. They both help you learn how to use the programs, and teach you about astrology too. You can find his YouTube channel here.
And you can learn more about Sirius, the best add-ons, and how to get the program and add-ons at the best price here.
I've just written a new Vedic tutorial article entitled General Principles of Yoga Formation.
It explores the ways that planetary combinations can form in Vedic charts, so that astrologers can find yogas more easily. You can read it here.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Prometheus Astrology Software
I have just completed part one of my two-part review of the new astrology program called Prometheus for The Mountain Astrologer magazine, and have created a website devoted to it here.
It has unique and lovely chart wheels, a pioneering transit graph, a beautiful Planetarium, and a very wide range of features.
I encourage you to visit my new website devoted to it, which I will be adding a great deal to shortly.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
The new and free StarFisher astrology program
StarFisher is a new free astrology program with an interesting range of features and some unique functions. Unlike most free programs, it has a very large internal atlas including time zone information.
It has short natal and transit interpretations, planetary tables including Azimuth and Altitude, "shape charts" (showing the occupied houses as shaded without showing planets), major and minor aspects, exact transit and progressed hit listings, a full set of returns including phase angle, semi-and quad-star returns, and fractional returns, as well as biwheels, and many House Systems including Pisa-Krusinski.
You can download the program here. And learn more about it here.
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Frequently Asked Questions about Solar Fire
I am grateful for all of my website visitors who support my work by purchasing astrology software through me.
I hope that you find it useful. (I will of course continue to add to it as time goes on).
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Tonight's Sky -- From the Hubble website
Would you like to watch a video, or download and read a transcript, about the astronomy of this month's night sky? The Hubble website has a monthly video and report exploring the Morning and Evening Planets, Constellations and Deep-Sky Objects, and Celestial Events.
My latest Mountain Astrologer SoftStar News column explores the new AstrolDeluxe Report Writer 8.3, the latest version of the free Vedic program Maitreya 7.0.3, a major Win*Star 4 calculation bug fixed, and more.
Want to see a lovely sight? NASA has just released a video of the actual Earthrise as seen by the astronauts on Apollo 8. You can watch the video here.
Friday, December 20, 2013
Astrolabe Holiday Sales
In honor of the season, there are special offers on Solar Fire Gold and the Astrolabe Reports.
For Solar Fire Gold, you receive my discount (with free shipping), the 60+ beautiful Chart Art pages I've designed, links to my video tutorials and other resources, and the additional program AstroTides free! Here is the offer.
You can get the Astrolabe Reports (which work with Solar Fire) at a great discount, and see which ones I recommend, here.
Both sales end on January 6, 2014.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Choosing Astrological Report Software
I am often asked about interpretation software, because many people want to get report programs, whether for learning astrology, giving reports as gifts, or starting a report business, so I just wrote an article that gives an overview of the choices available and links to sample reports.
Dr. Andrew Foss, my friend and the author of Shri Jyoti Star, and founding President of the British Association of Vedic Astrology, is offering a multi-year training in Jyotisha starting in the Spring of 2014. He has trained extensively with Pandit Sanjay Rath, and is a Certified Jaimini Scholar.
You can learn more about the course and sign up, here.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
How often hard drives fail and why you should backup your data
In an article online called "How long do disk drives really last?" that you can read here they said:
"In the first 18 months drives failed at the rate of 5.1 percent per year. For the next 18 months drives failed at the rate of about 1.4 percent per year. But after three years failures went up to 11.8 percent per year."
"The important thing to keep in mind is that in five years you can expect at least one in five drives to fail."
The bottom line: backup, backup, backup.
Astrologers are particularly unlikely to backup their hard drives, and therefore most vulnerable to losing all of the birth data they've entered.
You should back up your chart file to a flash drive or external hard drive (that you disconnect from the system after each backup session) at least once a month.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Two-for-one Solar Writer sale
I am offering a three-week sale on Solar Writer reports: two reports for the price of one. These reports can be run by themselves or from within Solar Fire.
You can see samples of each report, my recommendations, and the sale itself here.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
The Big History Project
Bill Gates, the founder of MicroSoft, was asked what his favorite online course was, and he answered "The Big History Project". He liked the course so much that he decided to fund it and offer it to everyone for free.
The course is divided into eight segments, and covers the entire history of the universe, and focuses on the major turning points, both before and after humans appeared. You can start the course here.
Astrologers, scientists, and historians will all learn a great deal from this amazing website.
Saturday, October 26, 2013
A Flowchart for Dasa and Bhukti Analysis
To supplement my other articles on my Learn Astrology Free website, I've created a simple flowchart that will assist Vedic astrologers in analyzing the effects of Dasas & Bhuktis here.
In order to use it successfully, it is important to recognize that there are three different sections, each with its own yellow heading. I hope it proves useful in combination with the other predictive articles on the Iyer method.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
The New Synergy: Desktop astrology programs and astrology apps
For most of the decades that I've been astro-computing, the only machine I used was a Windows PC. I could meet all of my astrological needs easily, and prepare excellent printouts.
But times change, and with the introduction of smart phones and tablets, new software was created for mobile devices. Companies dubbed these mini-programs "apps", as they are smaller and cheaper programs specifically designed to run on less memory (and the slower processors) in smart phones, tablets, and phablets (phones that are mini-tablets).
The increased mobility of computer users is why the sales of PCs are on a downward spiral, and the sales of tablets are up.
Many people are doing astrology on the go, and astrologers want to have access to their chart collections and astrological capabilities at all times.
There are also many novices who don't need or want the power of a professional astrology program initially, so they opt for an app on their phone or tablet instead.
A new trend, which I think is brilliant, is happening now. The astrology software companies with the most foresight have realized that since astrologers are a mobile sort, there is a growing need for apps that work alongside their desktop programs.
TimePassages, for example, is now available in both desktop and app versions, and its author is amazed at how many people "graduate" from the app to the desktop program. Similarly, AstroGold is an app for the iPad that can read Solar Fire Gold files and perform the basic functions needed on the road, and Solar Fire Gold owners are thrilled to have a mobile little brother of their favorite software.
Another early proponent of this trend offers a Vedic program called Jyotish Tools for Windows, and Jyotish Tool apps for Android (including Kindle Fire) and Linux platforms.
This is the wave of the future. Companies will realize that their users need mobile counterparts to their desktop software, or get lost in the dust!
P.s. As I've mentioned elsewhere, the one "gotcha" with using mobile devices for astrology is that it's become a "tower of babel" out there. There are many different operating systems on phones and tablets and some can't run any astrology programs.
For example, the Windows Surface (aka RT) and Surface 2 run stripped down versions of Windows and can't run any Windows astrology programs. Tablets running the full version of Windows 8 (like the Surface Pro) can, of course, run any Windows astrology program.
Tuesday, October 8, 2013 and Wednesday, October 16, 2013
The Optimal Use of Astrology Software -- Updated twice!
I've just updated perhaps the most important article about astrology software on my website twice.
My latest additions include links to video and written tutorials for all of the major astrology programs, and how to get help (and where to call) if you have problems with your software.
In addition, I've changed my anti-virus recommendation, and provided information on configuring programs to avoid calculation errors.
As many of you already know, Cosmic Patterns has taken over operations from Matrix Software, and this means big and great changes for the owners of Matrix programs including:
Fixed Installation Problems: Apparently, a lot of Win*Star and Blue*Star users were reporting difficulties installing these programs on newer versions of Windows. Cosmic Patterns is hard at work creating a new installation program.
Updated Atlas: Cosmic Patterns has the most up-to-date time change information in their software, and they will be updating the much older atlases in the Matrix programs soon.
Customer Service: I can confirm that many astrologers complained about Matrix's declining customer service in the past. Now that Cosmic Patterns will be providing the customer support, it will be much, much better.
Fixed Bugs: For many years, Matrix was very slow at finding and fixing major and minor software bugs. Cosmic Patterns has a sterling reputation for fixing software problems quickly and effectively.
Cosmic Patterns will also be creating mobile apps, integrating the two company's products, and more.
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
The Astronomy Picture of the Day
I love the website, Astronomy Picture of the Day, because it emails you incredibly lovely and informative space shots every day.
You can sign up to receive the pictures here, and learn how to download the entire set of archived photos here.
I hope that you enjoy this service as much as I do.
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Early Medieval Astrology Glyphs
I was fascinated to learn that the earliest appearance of astrology glyphs was in the 10th century. You can find out more and see what the glyphs for the planets and signs looked like back then, here.
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
The Evolution of the Modern Day Calendar
One of my favorite new websites, Today I Found Out, sometimes offers new articles of relevance to astrologers.
Yesterday's essay was on how the modern day calendar was arrived at, and so is definitely worth reading. You can do so here.
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
The Vedic Bookshelf, Free Astrology Fonts, Word Processing and Astrological Glyphs
This issue of my TMA SoftStar News column covers The Vedic Bookshelf, sources of great free astrology fonts, and a section on word processing and astrological glyphs.
If you ever need to insert glyphs into articles, make sure to read this one (here).
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Free Astrology Software -- Updated!
Thank you, my readers, for letting me know about new free astrology programs that become available.
I just updated my Free Astrology web page, adding a new KP astrology program and links to some of my most important astrology software articles.
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Noctilucent Clouds -- an amazing display
Astrologers of yore paid great attention to celestial phenomena, including clouds, auroras, and other unusual sky events.
Here's a video showing a sequence of noctilucent clouds and aurorae over Scotland.
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
The Orbits of Potentially Hazardous Asteroids
While none of these asteroids will actually hit the Earth, the image of their intersecting orbits is lovely!
You can see the image of the asteroid orbits here.
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
A History of the Sky for One Year
The author of this video placed a camera on the roof of the Exploratorium museum in SF, which captured an image of the sky every 10 seconds, around the clock, for a year.
From these images, he created an array of time-lapse movies, each showing a single day, arranged chronologically, and playing in sync. His intention was to reveal the patterns of light and weather over the course of a year.
I just added a link to the updated version of John Halloran's Astrology for Windows program to my Free Astrology Software page.
Astrology for Windows now has a time-change atlas built-in (unique among free programs), and an interface in 15 different languages!
I am in the process of testing several new free programs to see if they're good enough to list, too. Stay tuned!
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Huge Sale on add-on reports for Sirius and Kepler
The add-on reports for Sirius and Kepler are among the best interpretive astrology reports available. That's why when I decided to create "super-bundles", i.e. great collections of reports, I chose them.
Once every few years, I am allowed to offer these reports on sale. The current sale is great! You can get most reports for 15% off, or if you order enough reports (totalling $650 or more), 25% off!
You can see what reports I recommend, and the links to the super-bundles and samples, here, but please feel free to contact me if you want further guidance in choosing reports.
Note: The sale goes on until the end of August, 2013.
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Getting more accurate results with Kepler & Sirius hit lists
They specifically wanted to know how to set up Kepler and Sirius so that no events would be missed.
For those who don't know what I'm referring to, if one conducts a short transit scan -- e.g. two months in duration if you're using one degree orbs -- and a transiting planet has already entered orb but doesn't reach exact hit during the search range, the event will not show up in the transit hit list.
I've created a page of instructions on how to fix this issue here.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Astrology Software and Windows 8
In my TMA SoftStar News column, I explored which astrology programs work under Windows 8, the different versions of Windows 8, compatibility issues and more.
In the beginning of personal computing, the first company to write astrology software for microcomputers (as PCs were initially called) was Matrix Software. For many years, they were the only folks to provide astrology programs to the world.
In many ways, the programmers at Matrix, and its founder Michael Erlewine, were truly pioneers. They shared programming tips in an ongoing magazine, published a book on programming for astrologers that included algorithms for calculating a huge range of astrological parameters, and introduced the first graphical computer-generated chart wheels.
For many years, their original Blue*Star program (not the new one just released) was the most powerful astrology program on the planet.
One of their programmers, David Cochrane, left Matrix and founded his own company, Cosmic Patterns. He and his staff set the bar for excellence in creating the finest interpretive reports, the most updated time-change atlases available, and introduced many new and powerful astrological techniques, including Treasure Maps, advanced transit methods, and much more.
The two companies have just merged, moving their operations to Cosmic Pattern's headquarters in Florida. The merger promises a synergy of their relative strengths, and an acceleration of the development of mobile apps. I look forward to the fruits of this union.
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Free GeoNames Atlas
Are you trying to find the coordinates for a particular section of or place in a large city, or of an obscure little town?
The free GeoNames atlas can be accessed online at:
And has longitudes and latitudes for over 8 different million place names available instantly!
You can also download the entire database here, but you will need a text editor (like my favorite UltraEdit) that can handle very large files to view and search it.
[You can also download smaller text files containing sets of coordinates for cities of different size populations, etc.]
This is an amazing and continually updated resource. Great!
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
My November 2012 TMA SoftStar News Column
In this Mountain Astrologer column, I look at the features in the incredible Timaeus 8 Pro traditional astrology program, and warn against buying Windows RT devices for astrology.
You can read the column here, and see a list of all of the columns here.
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
The Jagannatha Hora 7.64 Update
Jagannatha Hora, the preeminent free Jyotish program, has been updated again.
Its author is gradually adding more and more features, as well as working to improve its internal time-change atlas.
(However, I would still recommend verifying any time zones provided by the program with other resources -- professional astrology programs or online tools -- for accuracy.)
You can get the latest update here, and read an extensive list of its features here.
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Huge meteor crashes into the Moon
I received an email with the title "Huge Rock Crashes Into Moon, Sparks Giant Explosion".
It turns out that a meteor's impact on the Moon was so intense that it was visible from Earth. You can read the article here, and watch the video here.
Friday, May 17, 2013
My Latest Tutorial Article: A Tale of Three Explosions
I am currently teaching a year-long intensive training course synthesizing Western Astrology, Vedic Astrology, and counseling techniques, and one of my students asked me to look at the Boston Marathon explosion.
I looked at three major events instead of just the one, and found discovered some amazing patterns. You can read the article here.
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Sale on report programs for Solar Fire Gold
Both Astrolabe Reports and Solar Writer Reports are on sale now for a limited time.
Solar Writer reports can be run from within Solar Fire Gold, and Astrolabe reports can read your Solar Fire Gold files.
You can see my recommendations and both sales here.
Monday, April 29, 2013
The Comet ISON
According to the Hubble Telescope Website: "Comet ISON is potentially the "comet of the century" because around the time the comet makes its closest approach to the Sun, on November 28, it may briefly become brighter than the full Moon."
Sunday, April 21, 2013
Great At Every Price
My Article Comparing the Top Astrology Programs -- Revised!
People have mentioned that my Great At Every Price article, which compares all of the top Western astrology programs in depth, is priceless to them.
I realized recently that I should list the discount prices that I offer for each program, instead of list prices, in order to help readers make a more informed choice.
The new revised version of the article, with my discounted pricing, is here.
I often here from those visiting my website that it's hard to choose from the many wonderful astrology programs available which to get, so I created a new page to make it easier.
Here is my new article focusing on the bestselling and best designed astrology programs.
Friday, March 22, 2013
Important Win*Star Calculation Bug Fixed
I entered a chart last week into Win*Star 4 (version 4.0.3) and much to my surprise and chagrin, the program consistently miscalculated it. Even though the birth place was in California, and the correct time zone showed up in the Atlas window, when I clicked on the OK button to retrieve the coordinates and time zone, Win*Star changed the time zone to CST (Central Standard Time) and created the wrong chart.
[It is important to always inspect the results of any atlas lookup, to make sure the time zone retrieved by the software makes sense.]
I called Matrix and they had issued a new version of Win*Star Pro fixing this bug two weeks ago!
After downloading it, everything worked fine.
I strongly suggest that every owner of Win*Star 4 get this update immediately, and double-check the time zones for all of the charts that they've previously calculated with the program.
In the meantime, the earlier versions of Win*Star will calculate charts accurately if you leave the "Auto" option next to the atlas unchecked.
I wish that Matrix had notified me, and all Win*Star users, of this.
[By the way, I couldn't figure out how to edit the chart data to fix this error. It turns out that instead of having an Edit Data function in Win*Star, users have to cut and then paste the data to edit it.]
Saturday, March 16, 2013
Matrix Web Services and the new Blue*Star program
I reviewed the latest offerings from Matrix in The Mountain Astrologer, and here's my review.
You can see all of my online Mountain Astrologer SoftStar News columns here.
Friday, March 8, 2013
The Nodal Cycle of Incarnation and Return to Spirit
It's about the Moon's nodes from a very different point of view, and writing it "flowed like water". You can read it here.
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
A time-lapse movie of a Solar Eclipse in Australia
Lately, I've been posting interesting images here. I hope you like them. I will be returning to posting articles and videos on astrology software soon, but have been wrestling with restoring my PC (it had crashed) and then all of my websites went down!
Here's an interesting movie showing time-lapse sequences of an eclipse in Australia last November. I hope you enjoy it.
Thursday, February 21, 2013
The Super-Moon and the Micro-Moon
The Moon varies a great deal in apparent size, due to its varying distance from the Earth.
This NASA photo of a Super-Moon and a Micro-Moon shows clearly exactly how different they are.
Friday, February 15, 2013
Lovely photos of the Sun
An amateur photographer with the same surname as me has taken some amazing photographs of the Sun from his backyard!
In 1960, the United States put its first Earth-observing environmental satellite into orbit around the planet. Over the decades, these satellites have provided invaluable information, and the vantage point of space has provided new perspectives on Earth. This book celebrates Earth’s aesthetic beauty in the patterns, shapes, colors, and textures of the land, oceans, ice, and atmosphere.
The book features 75 stunning images of Earth from the Terra, Landsat 5, Landsat 7, EO-1, and Aqua satellites. Sensors on these satellites can measure light outside of the visible range, so the images show more than what is visible to the naked eye. The images are intended for viewing enjoyment rather than scientific interpretation. The beauty of Earth is clear, and the artistry ranges from the surreal to the sublime.
Last week, Hard Disk Sentinel notified me that my hard drive was failing.
Hard drives can degrade over time and fail without warning, so having this software enabled me to know that I needed to perform an immediate backup to save my latest work, (I had backed up my hard drive two weeks ago).
My computer did crash, but fortunately, for when I'm traveling, I had already purchased an additional portable ultrabook and copied all of my important programs and chart files to it, so that I could update my website, run charts, etc. on it.
And that's what I'm doing today. While I wait for replacement parts for my desktop computer, I'm able to write to you and update this website on my backup PC.
I hope this inspires you to protect your valuable files and writings, too, and to back up your PC often, and perhaps purchase a back up computer.
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
A Short, Lovely "Solar Ballet"
Sometimes, the Sun itself seems to dance. On just this past New Year's Eve, for example, NASA's Sun-orbiting Solar Dynamic Observatory spacecraft imaged an impressive prominence erupting from the Sun's surface. The dramatic explosion was captured in ultraviolet light in the above time lapse video covering four hours.
Of particular interest is the tangled magnetic field that directs a type of solar ballet for the hot plasma as it falls back to the Sun. The scale of the disintegrating prominence is huge -- the entire Earth would easily fit under the flowing curtain of hot gas.
A quiescent prominence typically lasts about a month, and may erupt in a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) expelling hot gas into the Solar System. The energy mechanism that creates a solar prominence is still a topic of research. As the Sun nears Solar Maximum this year, solar activity like eruptive prominences should be common.
In my latest article for The Mountain Astrologer, I explore internet-based astrological tools. For those wanting to perform calculations on the go, using smart phones, tablets, and laptops, these online tools can be very valuable.
Here is the article. And here are the links to all of my published Mountain Astrologer articles.
Friday, December 28, 2012
Lovely Saturn at Night Photograph
The Astronomy Picture of the Day website recently released a stunning picture of Saturn at night at:
The Most Frequently Asked Question about Astrology Software
Of late, astrologers have started asking me very often about their software's compatibility with the new Windows 8 operating system.
Microsoft created Windows 8 in order to offer a common user-interface between their smartphone, surface tablet, and laptop and desktop computers. Unfortunately, because Windows 8 is touch-centric (you need a touch screen to use it optimally, i.e. the way it was designed to be used), most computer owners don't have PCs that will make using Windows 8 an enjoyable experience. If your PC is only a couple of years old, it will run Windows 8, but I don't recommend it.
And please beware of Windows RT devices, which won't run any of your Windows programs, only apps designed for RT.
If your astrology software is up to date, then it will most likely run under Windows 8. I am assured by their creators that Solar Fire Gold versions 7, 7.3, or 8, Kepler 7, Sirius, Janus 4.3, and Shri Jyoti Star 6 will all run under Windows 8.
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Special Holiday Software Sales!
This is the season to get great prices on astrology software!
This year, I am able to offer several great new discounts on many different programs.
Please come back next week for another truly special offering!
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Two-for-One Solar Writer Sale
The Solar Writer report programs can operate as standalone report programs (i.e. without any other software) as well as can be run from within Solar Fire Gold.
Through December 16th, you can get two Solar Writer reports for the price of one, with my added discount too. Here you can find see what reports are available, and links to samples, and to the offer.
Thursday, November 22, 2012
The advantages and disadvantages of software created by more than one person
The astrology programs created by different companies vary, in part, because of the number of authors and how that affects the user-interface. I decided to write a short article on this topic which you can read here.
By the way, Happy Thanksgiving!
I am thankful for so much in my life, including you, my readers, and those who support this website by purchasing their astrology software through me.
Friday, November 16,2012
A Stunning Photo of Saturn
Angling Saturn: The Cassini spacecraft took an angled view toward Saturn, showing the southern reaches of the planet with the rings on a dramatic diagonal on June 15, 2012.
North on Saturn is up and rotated 16 degrees to the left. This view looks toward the southern, unilluminated side of the rings from about 14 degrees below the ringplane. The rings cast wide shadows on the planet's southern hemisphere. The moon Enceladus (313 miles, or 504 kilometers across) appears as a small, bright speck in the lower left of the image.
Here is the image. You can download it at a variety of resolutions. (Note: the partial image shown on the web page is not the full image.)
Friday, November 9, 2012
My Latest TMA Softstar News
After my latest Mountain Astrologer SoftStar News column, on the newest information on astrology software, is released, I am allowed to publish an earlier one on this website.
Here is the link to all of my TMA SoftStar News articles, including the latest on Sirius 1.3, a great astrological font, protecting your Mac from malware, and more.
Saturday, November 3, 2012
Why you can't run your astrology software on your smart phone or tablet
A couple of weeks ago (see below), I cautioned astrologers not to purchase tablets or computers running Windows RT, because they cannot run any of your current astrology programs.
The same is true about running the astrology programs that you own on an iPad, Kindle Fire, Android tablet, or any smart phone.
None of these devices are true computer systems, and they can't run either Windows or the Mac Operating System, and therefore cannot run any programs that require either operating system. They do not have enough memory or the right computer processor to do so.
There are apps that will run on iPads, and other tablets and smart phones, but they are very basic programs, and usually have very limited capabilities (far less that practicing astrologers need).
The one app that you can run on any of these devices that has a wide range of capabilities is a cloud-based app (i.e. it resides on the internet, not on your device) called AstroApp.
Monday, October 29, 2012
The transit: Uranus square Pluto
How will it affect me?
From 2012 through Spring of 2015, Uranus and Pluto will square each other in the sky. This is a major transit that impacts most of us, either directly or indirectly.
I have created a handy table and an article on this important event here.
May it serve you.
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Why you can't run your astrology software on Windows 8 RT devices
Microsoft is just in the process of releasing a new operating system called Windows 8.
Unfortunately, there is going to be a lot of confusion about it, because there are two distinctive versions of Windows 8 .
The first version to be released, called Windows 8 RT, will not run any Windows software! It is a stripped-down version of Windows designed to run on a variety of cheaper microprocessors more economically than a full version of Windows can.
So none of your Windows astrology software (or any other programs written for Windows XP or 7) will run on it.
(The same is true about your smart phone or iPad: they won't run any software except apps specifically designed for them.)
So please do not purchase a Windows 8 RT device (like a tablet) and expect to be able to run the astrology software you own.
If you really want to get the version of Windows 8 that will run your astrology software (and other windows programs), then wait until
the true full Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro versions come out and make sure your new device has either of them installed on it.
If it says RT, don't get it!
P.s. You can learn more about the different Windows 8 versions here.
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Great At Every Price, revised
I have just revised my detailed article Great At Every Price, which compares the features of the top Western astrology programs, and the unique abilities of each.
I hope that my redesigned menus make it easier for you to explore all of my websites.
Saturday, September 29, 2012
Frequently Asked Questions about Astrology Software
Redesigned and Revised
I completely revamped my Frequently Asked Questions about Astrology Software web page, giving it a new menuing system and bringing it up to date.
You can visit it here.
Sunday, September 23, 2012
My redesign of Soulhealing.com
I have redesigned my home page of Soulhealing.com with a much better menu system, so that you can navigate the website more easily and effectively.
I hope that it helps you find and utilize the features of my website more fully, as well as pleases your eye.
Saturday, September 15, 2012
My Learn Astrology Free website completely redesigned!
I just completely revamped my Learn Astrology Free website, with a new, much better organized -- and much prettier -- menu system.
I also recently added search capabilities, so you can find any word or words on the site. And every other month I add a new tutorial to the website.
Sunday, September 9, 2012
My Mountain Astrologer article: Getting Help with your Astrology Software
I have just posted my article from The Mountain Astrologer on how to get help with your astrology programs, and where to find tutorials for the programs you use.
You can read it, and all of my Mountain Astrologer articles here.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Astrology Software in the Cloud
I have just created a new website focusing on the first full-fledged astrology program that resides "in the cloud", i.e. on remote servers instead of on your own computer.
The potential is huge: you can access your charts anywhere, by smart phone, tablet, iPad, laptop, netbook, etc., and it won't matter if you have a PC or a Mac or a Linux machine.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
How to backup your chart files (and settings): Part Five
I'm returning to the astrology program Sirius, specifically how to back up your settings files in Sirius.
Why would you want to backup your settings files? Because it takes a lot of time to customize the program, i.e. choose your preferred house system, default wheel style, aspect set, orbs, colors, etc.) and having a backup that you can restore (or re-use on your laptop) saves a lot of time.
Here are the steps to creating a backup of your settings files in Sirius:
0. Connect a large (32 gb or larger) flash drive or external hard drive to your PC.
1. Run Sirius, and open a chart.
2. On the main screen, select Birthfile, Backup Other Files (files except birthdata files):
3. On the new window that appears, entitled Backup Sirius Files, choose the Drive letter for the flash drive or external hard drive (on the top right of the screen), and then select a date around the time you first installed Sirius, to backup up all of the files you've customized.
4. Finally click on the Select All button at the bottom of the window, and click on the OK Backup Files button.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
How to backup your chart files (and settings): Part Four
Shri Jyoti Star is a superb Vedic astrology program used by most of the top Jyotishis. It too makes it easy to backup your chart files and settings to external storage (e.g. flash drives, etc.).
The steps for backing up any specific chart file are:
0. Connect your flash drive or external hard drive to your PC.
1. Run Shri Jyoti Star, and then Open the database (chart file) that you want to back up.
2. From the Data Entry menu, click on File, than Chart Database (Backup/Restore/Transfer), and Backup to Media, and select where you want to back up the file to.
P.P.S. Now every website I've created has a search engine installed.
Saturday, July 28, 2012
How to backup your chart files (and settings): Part Two
Last week, I reiterated the importance of backing up your chart files and settings, and how to do so in Solar Fire Gold.
Today I would like to elucidate how to backup your chart files in other programs.
Both Kepler and Sirius provide an easy way to backup your chart files to a flash drive (or floppy disk!).
Here are the steps::
Place a flash drive into your computer's USB port (and note the drive letter assigned to it)
Run Kepler or Sirius, and click on the Backup/Backup Data button:
In the window that appears, select Backup Birth Data:
When asked where to backup the data to, select the drive letter assigned to your flash drive.
Voilà, your data is backed up. (And please remember to do this regularly.)
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Please backup your chart files and settings
I want to offer a friendly reminder to everyone that it takes a huge amount of time to re-enter every single person's birth data into your astrology program all over again if your computer fails.
I regularly get emails from astrologers who neglected to back up their data and have lost it all.
Given the many reasons why your computer can fail, including aging parts, viruses, electric surges, shocks, etc., it is inevitable that your hard drive will eventually lose all of its data.
That's why it is wise to have an external hard drive and use it to back up your entire system once a month (or more often), and keep the backup drive in a safe location.
But you should also back up your chart files (and astrology program's settings) more regularly. Among astrology programs, Solar Fire Gold provides the best and easiest backup method: run the program, click on Utilities, and then on Backup Chart Files, and Backup User Files (to back up all of your customized settings).
I suggest that you back up your chart files to a flash drive that you can store in a secure place.
Monday, July 16, 2012
Context is Everything: How Charts Really Work
As most of my website visitors know, I add a new astrology tutorial to my Learn Astrology Free website bimonthly.
My latest article explores the importance of context, i.e. all of the factors that influence a planet or sign or house, in chart delineation.
It is packed with principles, insights and example charts. I hope you enjoy it.
Learning Astrology Software: Never Forget to Right-Click
A customer recently wrote in saying that her software was inaccurate as it missed an aspect. After corresponding with her, I discovered that she didn't realize the wealth of features available in her program via the right-click menu.
The right-click menu is a menu that appears when you use your right mouse button to click on the screen. It is usually context-sensitive, i.e. if you are viewing a chart wheel, it gives you choices about that wheel and the content thereof, while if you are looking at a table, it gives you a set of choices to alter the contents or layout of the table.
Most of the top programs offer a very rich set of options via their right-click menus, so "Never forget to Right Click".
Here are few examples:
Regulus Platinum has extensive sets of selections available for most of its screens via right-click. For its Fixed Star table, for example:
You can select from 9 groups of Fixed Stars (including your own customized one), Sort the listing by any of the columns (e.g. by Name, by Zodiacal Longitude or Latitude, by Sign, etc.). Or you can place any Fixed Star on the chart (complete with aspect lines drawn to it), display information about the Fixed Star, view its placement in its constellation, or print the table itself.
Kepler and Sirius have very deeply layered sub-menus accessible when right-clicking on several of their screens.
The above menu gives you access not only to many types of chart wheels and other layout features, but allows you to explore a set of Customize sub-menus, and also all of their specialized charts.
Solar Fire Gold offers very masterful right-click menus, especially when viewing any of their chart wheel screens:
You can choose what points are displayed, what extra points are shown (from a huge number of choices like midpoints, Fixed Stars, Arabic Parts, etc.), what aspect set to use, what points to draw aspect lines to, how aspect lines should appear (thicker with tighter orbs, dotted if separating, etc.), what style of wheel or dial to use (with previews of each), the color of each planet, sign, and aspect, and much more.
The power at your fingertips from right-click menus is truly awesome, so never forget to explore right-click menus.
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Updates on my software-specific websites
My regular website visitors know that I frequently update my websites devoted to specific programs.
For example, in the past month, I've added tutorials on "Finding the full chart of a person or event from a few planetary positions" and "Creating Example Charts" on my Shri Jyoti Star website,
My foremost article on astrology software: The Optimal Use of Astrology Software, which helps astrologers protect their computers, learn how to use astrology programs most effectively, test their software for accuracy, etc. has just been updated.
Astrological Techniques and Uncertain Birth Times -- Revised!
First published in the ISAR Journal, my article on the effect of incorrect birth times on different astrology techniques is an essential read for all astrologers. It took weeks to research and write, and explains which methods are most sensitive to birth time errors.
I've just added an introductory summary that "cuts to the chase" by indicating what to do if a birth time is in question. You can read it here.
Saturday, June 16, 2012
About Sirius 1.3
Cosmic Patterns has released more information about the new Sirius 1.3.
Click here to learn more about the new version and how to purchase (or upgrade to) it at a specially discounted price.
Monday, June 11, 2012
Solar Writer 2 for 1 Sale!
The Solar Writer astrology reports work both as standalone report programs and as add-ons to Solar Fire Gold.
To take advantage of the special two reports for the price of one sale, which expires at the end of June 2012, and learn which reports I recommend most, click here.
Monday, June 4, 2012
New Sirius 1.3 Sale!
Cosmic Pattern's flagship program Sirius has both been upgraded to version 1.3 with almost a million locations in its time-change atlas, and it has been placed on sale for a limited time.
To learn more about Sirius and get this great price, click here.
Saturday, June 2, 2012
TimePassages Advanced is a remarkably powerful and easy-to-use program for its price. It not only has all of the basic features many astrologers need, but also full natal, transit, and progressed interpretations built-in.
My discounted price for TimePassages Advanced during the sale (only through June 2012) is almost 25% off of the list price, just $152.00.
To learn more about the program, and to get it at this special price, click here.
Saturday, May 26, 2012
Sirius 1.3 is released!
Cosmic Patterns has just released version 1.3 of their flagship astrology program Sirius.
More information on this update will be forthcoming, but the main enhancement of Sirius is the addition of hundreds of thousands of new places to its already superlative time-change atlas. Now astrologers will be able to look up almost a million places!
To learn more about Sirius, please visit my website devoted to it, here.
Sunday, May 20, 2012
Why Solar Fire Gold is Great
I was lying in bed one night and got inspired to write an article on the outstanding features of Solar Fire. I recorded the article (while still lying in bed!) into my digital voice recorder, and began transcribing it in the morning.
The article will be ongoing, and I'll be adding more sections to it frequently, so I invite you to visit it several times, by clicking here.
Monday, May 14, 2012
My article comparing the top astrology programs, revised!
Once again, I have updated my Great At Every Price article comparing the features of the top astrology programs.
Astrologers sometimes switch to different astrology programs or want to run several at once. It is highly inconvenient, to say the least, to have to enter each person's birth data all over again in each new program.
Years ago, I contacted all of the major companies and asked them to add Quick*Chart file format importing and exporting to their software.
Fortunately, most of the companies complied, and most astrology programs, specifically Solar Fire Gold, Janus, Regulus Platinum, Sirius, Win*Star, and ZET can both import Quick*Chart files from other programs and export Quick*Chart files to other software.
TimePassages can import whole Quick*Chart files, and also export to that format, but only one chart at a time.
Kepler, AstrolDeluxe, and Millenium can import Quick*Chart files, but lack any export feature.
It's nice to know that you can transfer your chart files between programs, and not have to enter charts all over again.
Friday, May 4, 2012
Astrology Programs for the iPad
I previously provided a link to my article on astrology apps for the iPad, but I'm reintroducing it to help those wanting to find solid astrology programs for the iPad to find it.
In the January issue of The Mountain Astrologer, I reviewed Sirius 1.2.
You can read that review and all of my previous TMA SoftStar News columns here.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
More Solar Fire Gold Tutorials
As I receive questions from my website visitors about how to use specific features in Solar Fire Gold, I both respond to them and add new written tutorial sections, complete with screen images, to my http://www.solarfiregold.com website.
To view all of my video and written tutorials on Solar Fire Gold, click here.
Friday, April 20, 2012
More than 685,000 Macs infected by iBotNet!
You might ask, "What does an infection of Mac computers have to do with astrology software? " The answer is that a growing number of astrologers have moved from PCs to Macs because they thought they would be much safer using a Mac.
And for the time being, this is still true. But unfortunately, the "bad guys" who create malware now have toolkits that can create malware just as easily for the Mac as for the PC, and so the number of threats to the Mac platform of computers is on the rise.
Because Mac users have become complacent, and because the Apple Computer Company took 49 more days than Microsoft to protect users from this particular Java vulnerability, a huge number of Mac users (mainly in the U.S.) were infected.
The message is: no matter whether you use a PC or a Mac, you need to have a good anti-malware program running, never open email attachments from people you don't know or respond to emails asking for personal information, and be wary of suspicious websites.
The PC platform has the most powerful and widest selection of astrology software, and now safety is not a good reason to switch to a Mac.
P.s. a customer who recently switched to the Mac platform was dismayed that he'd have to enter all of his charts over again into his Mac astrology program. Before making the switch, please find out if your Mac software can import your PC astrology software's chart files.
Saturday, April 14, 2012
How to Make Sure Your PC Has the Right Time
Most astrologers probably don’t pay a lot of attention to the date/time entry in the notification area. The time is supposed to be synchronized over the Internet once a week to keep it accurate. However, the default time server time.windows.com doesn’t always work very well, and your time may not be as accurate as you think.
Saturday, April 7, 2012
Shri Jyoti Star on the Mac
Shri Jyoti Star is an incredible Vedic astrology program, and is used by many of the top Jyotishis, but until now, Mac owners could only run it if they installed Windows on their Macs.
The author of Shri Jyoti Star, Andrew Foss, recently told me that it will now run on the Mac under Crossover XI Mac.
Crossover XI Mac is a Windows emulator that runs Windows programs on Mac computers.
I recommend installing Shri Jyoti Star on the Mac for those who are very facile with their computers, and don't mind working through issues in order to get it up and running. (Because I don't own a Mac myself, I have not gone through this process myself).
To learn more and order the version of Shri Jyoti Star that will run under Crossover on the Mac, click here.
Monday, April 2, 2012
The Houses Impacted by Saturn -- My latest tutorial article
In Vedic astrology, Saturn aspects four houses -- whether they are occupied by planets or not. The shared themes of the houses aspected by Saturn reveal deeper truths about a person's life, and about the structure of the chart itself.
How would you like to see an incredible animation of the Solar System, Sun through Neptune? Sunaeon is a lovely, true color depiction of the planets orbiting the Sun. To see it, click here.
Click on Enter Portal, animate by clicking on the model of the Solar System link and then pressing the play or fast-forward button. Then watch incredibly realistic depictions of planets rotating on their axes and circling the Sun.
Note: to see different angles of view and more planets, click and hold the left mouse button and move it around the screen. You can also click on any planet to zoom in on it and watch it rotate on its axis. Enjoy!
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Astrology on the Go: Astrology Apps for Mobile Computing
I have been asked many questions about astrology programs (apps) for the iPhone, iPad, and the Android platform.
In my November 2011 article from The Mountain Astrologer, I review several of the top apps for both platforms.
As many of you know, I have additional websites devoted to each of the top astrology programs. I have recently added new entries into my Unique Features of Sirius column on my Sirius astrology software website, and another tutorial on my Janus website.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
My new Introduction to Solar Fire Gold Video Tutorial
I've been very busy creating new video tutorials for Solar Fire Gold. My first new tutorial is an Introduction to Solar Fire Gold and will be very useful for those just starting out with the program.
You can see all of my video and written tutorials by clicking here.
Friday, February 10, 2012
My latest Mountain Astrologer column
All of my Mountain Astrologer columns are posted on this website after the release of the next Mountain Astrologer magazine (after the issue they were published in).
I added a short review of John Halloran's new update (version 8) of his AstrolDeluxe program to the existing reviews of the program. You can read it by clicking here.
Monday, January 30, 2012
A lovely space photo of the Earth
Would you like to see (and download) a wonderful "blue marble" image of Earth?
Here's the latest NASA photo of the Earth in all of it's glory.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Update Your Atlas!
Most of the top astrology programs need to be updated if you want to create accurate charts. That's because the previous owner of the ACS atlas (prior to its transfer to Astrolabe) introduced serious errors into the database. Additionally, new and more accurate time zone and time change information has been incorporated into the atlas.
Cosmic Patterns is offering free atlas updates to owners of Kepler 7 and Sirius, Astrolabe is offering a free atlas update to owners of Solar Fire Gold 7 and 7.3, Andrew Foss has released a free atlas update to owners of Shri Jyoti Star version 6, and most of the other companies (e.g. Astrograph, Halloran Software) have new versions that include the updated atlas.
You can order many updates through me, or by contacting the manufacturer directly.
Sunday, January 15, 2012
The Problems with Passion -- My latest tutorial article
I wrote this article on how to ascertain astrological configurations for sexual passion months ago, and it has finally been published on the Saptarishis website.
While the vast majority of astrology programs are written for the PC, and so astrologers using Windows PCs have the widest range of astrological capabilities by far, some astrologers choose to use Macs.
If you are making the transition from a PC to a Mac, this article may help you make it easier.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
The new Asteroid Report in Sirius 1.2
The new Sirius update has a lot of more technical advances, but one addition that will appeal more generally to astrologers is the new Asteroid Report.
I've examined the report generated by Sirius 1.2 in comparison with other asteroid reports, and you can see a sample of it, and a brief overview of the Sirius 1.2 update, by clicking here.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
The Value of the User Interface in Astrology Software -- Updated!
I have added a new section to my article on the importance of the user interface in astrology programs. Most people don't realize that because astrology programs are so graphical, they can benefit greatly from a well-designed user interface, not only for ease-of-use, but for utilizing the graphic capabilities of a program. E.g. if you have a page designer -- where you arrange charts and tables on a page just the way you want them to be -- being able to resize charts just by grabbing their edges, and being able to easily move them around, are important capabilities.
To read the latest version of the article, click here.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
The new Sirius 1.2 Update
Cosmic Patterns has just released the new update to Sirius.
To learn about the new update, and take advantage of the special upgrade pricing, click here.
Monday, December 12, 2011
Shri Jyoti Star sale extended
The sale on Shri Jyoti Star has been extended until Christmas.
The program hasn't been offered at this price for many years, but Andrew (the program's author) has permitted me to provide this holiday discounted price for a limited time.
To learn more about this phenomenal Vedic astrology program, click here.
Saturday, December 10, 2011
TimePassages Holiday Sale
Until December 25th, both TimePassages Standard and Advanced Editions are on sale.
TimePassages is an amazing program at a very low price. It has excellent accuracy, built-in natal, transit, and progressed interpretations, chart and biwheel animation, and much more. It is available in both PC and Mac versions.
To learn more about TimePassages, and to purchase either version of the program, with free U.S. shipping too, click here.
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Regulus Platinum Sale extended
The Holiday sale pricing of the phenomenally powerful Regulus Platinum has been extended through December 20th. Regulus Platinum is one of the most powerful astrology programs in existence. It has great Asteroid, Fixed Star, Vedic, Huber, Medieval, Hellenistic, Astromapping, Arabic Part, Eclipse, Rectification, and Modern Western astrological modules, plus research features, wheel and page designers, top-notch predictive graphs, fine astrological calendars, artistic chart wheels, and more.
To learn more about this amazing program, download a free 10 day trial, and to order it at the special Holiday sale price, click here.
Friday, December 2, 2011
My Mountain Astrologer Review of Solar Fire Gold 8
I've just posted my review of Solar Fire Gold version 8 from the July 2011 issue of The Mountain Astrologer.
You can read it, or any of my other posted Mountain Astrologer columns, by clicking here.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Frequently Asked Questions -- Updated
Many of you haven't looked at my Frequently Asked Questions column recently, but it has answers to many questions that visitors to my website have asked about astrology software.
A Holiday 30% off sale of Astrolabe Report Writers
Shri Jyoti Star is a truly great Vedic program. It is preferred by all of the top Jyotishis, and through December 15th it is on sale for a special price. Click here to learn more about it and to order it.
If you would like to purchase any of the Astrolabe Report Writers through me, they are 30% off with free U.S. shipping too through January 3, 2012! Click here to learn about the Astrolabe Report Writers and to order them.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
A Great Holiday Sale of Regulus Platinum
Regulus Platinum is one of the foremost astrology programs, with a huge set of features for all of the major schools of astrology including Modern, Hellenistic, Medieval, Horary, Vedic, Huber, and Cosmobiology, as well as excellent asteroid, eclipse, astromapping, Fixed Star, degree symbol, and rectification modules.
For a limited time only -- from November 20th to December 20th -- Regulus Platinum is on sale for $25% off.
To learn more about Regulus Platinum and to purchase it at the sale price, click here.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
New Holiday Astrology Software Sale: Solar Writer Reports
This winter I will be introducing some sales on astrology software. The first one is a two-for-one sale on the Solar Writer report programs through December 20th, 2011. I am offering my website visitors an additional 10% off and free shipping by ordering through me.
To learn more about the Solar Writer reports, click here.
To purchase two Solar Writer reports for shipping to a U.S. address for the discounted price of $240, click here.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
ACS Atlas Update for Solar Fire Gold 7
I was recently asked by a customer if there were any updates to Solar Fire Gold version 7. Indeed, there was a major update that the program itself did not reveal when the customer checked for updates, because the update was for the ACS Atlas, and not Solar Fire Gold itself.
This is a major atlas update. When the ACS company folded, the atlas was sold to a group that unintentionally added errors to the atlas. A couple of year ago, it changed hands again, ending up with Astrolabe, the makers of Solar Fire Gold.
The staff at Astrolabe took their stewardship of the ACS atlas very seriously, and spent two years fixing the errors and updating all of the time change information. They very generously are providing this ACS atlas update for free to all owners of Solar Fire Gold versions 7.0 and 7.3. (Owners of Solar Fire Gold version 8 already have the new atlas built-in.)
Because Solar Fire Gold offers very clear charts with large glyphs, it is an ideal program to use on a netbook. In order to do so, you will need a netbook with at least a 10" screen and a resolution of 800x600 (or preferably better).
However, since Solar Fire Gold is now available via download, you can also download Solar Fire Gold to a netbook, making installation even easier.
Monday, October 31, 2011
The Unique and Great Features of Solar Fire Gold
My series of articles focusing on the unique features of the top astrology programs continues with the incredibly remarkable program Solar Fire Gold.
To read my first entry on Solar Fire Gold, click here.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
The Unique Features of Astrology Programs: Janus
I am continuing my series of articles focusing on the unique features of the top astrology programs with a focus on the excellent inexpensive program Janus.
In order to help you, my website readers, to be able to explore astrology programs before purchasing them, I created a web page that gives you links for downloading free demo or trial versions of most of the top astrology programs.
I just updated it to include a link to the new Regulus Platinum version 6.
To visit my software demo page, click here.
[the link for Regulus Platinum was not working, so I fixed it and now it works]
Friday, October 7, 2011
The Unique Features of Astrology Programs
I just started a new set of articles on all of my websites devoted to specific programs. The new articles will focus on the unique features of each major astrology program.
The first entry looks at the Fixed Star Report built in to Sirius and includes a sample full report. You can read it by clicking here.
Saturday, October 1, 2011
My May 2011 Mountain Astrologer SoftStar News Column
My Mountain Astrologer May 2011 column was packed with a variety of great items including a stunning photo of the Moon, free Vedic software, a very useful eclipse map, and much more.
You can read all of my Mountain Astrologer news columns including this one by clicking here.
Saturday, September 24, 2011
An Important ACS Atlas update for AstrolDeluxe versions 7 & 8
The corrections and new entries into the ACS Atlas made by Astrolabe during the past two years have now arrived as a free update to AstrolDeluxe versions 7 & 8.
Click here to download the file (you must own AstrolDeluxe versions 7 or 8), and then run it by clicking on the file.
Monday, September 19, 2011
Updated "How to get free demos of most astrology programs"
When you are trying to decide upon which astrology program to buy, it can be invaluable to try them out before you purchase one.
That's why I created my web page with links to all of the available free demo and trial versions of all of the major astrology programs.
I just added a link for a trial version of Regulus Platinum. You can run it for 10 days (or 10 times, whichever is lower).
You can visit this page by clicking here.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
A Stunning Photo of Saturn
A friend of mine gave me the link to a truly stunning photograph of Saturn that I want to share with you:
In the recent years, many of the top astrology programs have started to provide astrological tools for many different functions. Already every major program -- in addition to all of the standard Western astrological features -- has astro-mapping, Cosmobiology dials, and some Fixed Star and Arabic Part functions.
But many are now offering additional features for different approaches and schools of astrology. For example:
Janus has highly-prized dedicated modules for Horary, Electional, and Traditional Chart work.
Solar Fire Gold offers powerful chart file and time searches, as well as some Hellenistic, Vedic, and Medieval capabilities.
Sirius has Huber, Hellenistic, Vedic, and Medieval modules, natal and predictive modeling features, and more.
Regulus Platinum has extensive Huber and Vedic functions, as well as very powerful Fixed Star, Asteroid, Arabic Part, Medieval, and Hellenistic features.
That's why I'm calling these programs, "Swiss Army Knife" software, i.e. because they perform so many different functions.
And the list of features built-in to each of these programs keeps growing (read my frequently updated "Great at Every Price" article for more information on how they compare with each other).
But what about specialized software? If you really want to get deeply involved in research, or astro-mapping, or Vedic astrology, etc., should you look instead for a program designed
specifically to perform these functions?
The answer can be "yes" or "no", depending upon how deeply you want to go into a new astrological area. For basic Vedic work, for example, Regulus or Kepler/Sirius (or even Solar Fire) will do. But if you want to study Jyotish in greater depth, then you will need a dedicated program like the great Vedic software Shri Jyoti Star.
Similarly, if you want to search chart files (or time) for more factors than are available in most programs, even beyond the capabilities of Solar Fire Gold, then a dedicated program like SuperSearch may fit the bill.
In general, the best "Swiss Army Knife" astrology programs (like those listed above) will indeed provide enough astrological tools for many astrologers to explore the many different
schools and topics of astrology to their hearts content. But if you need to go further afield, or have access to more functionality, specialized programs can prove very valuable.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
An Astrological Look at Gloria Steinem
After watching the excellent HBO documentary special on Gloria Steinem, I decided to write this Vedic astrology article: An Astrological Look at Gloria Steinem.
Recently, an astrologer reported to me that he and several other astrologers had discovered errors in their software's built-in ACS Atlas, and was very concerned that the quality of the atlas data was compromised.
Then another astrologer wrote in about a disparity between the time zone shown by the ACS Atlas vs. the website timeanddate.com for a specific city and birth date.
I decided to research both issues and found the following information:
1. One of the previous stewards of the ACS Atlas inadvertently introduced errors into the atlas. But in the past couple of years, the stewardship of the atlas was transferred to the staff at Astrolabe, who have devoted a huge amount of time and effort fixing these errors and others. The new improved ACS Atlas is part of Solar Fire Gold version 8, and anyone using previous versions of Solar Fire should definitely upgrade to version 8.
Good News! If you own Solar Fire Gold version 7, you can download a free atlas update by clicking here. Just run it and your atlas will be updated.
2. Apparently, the time zone data at timeanddate.com for years prior to 1970 comes from an old ACS Atlas book, and is outdated and unreliable information. So it is much better to rely on the current ACS Atlas in Solar Fire Gold 8 instead.
If you encounter atlas errors in the future, please report them to firstname.lastname@example.org so that they can address them.
Monday, August 8, 2011
Astrological Techniques and Uncertain Birth Times, revised
I just revised my very important article: Astrological Techniques and Uncertain Birth Times.
Every astrologer should read this article, which shows which astrological techniques are most influenced by birth time errors, how to give readings to those with uncertain birth times, and more. You can read it by clicking here.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
My Latest TMA SoftStar News Column
My latest Mountain Astrologer column focuses on the amazingly versatile Regulus Platinum Professional program.
Here you can see all of my reviews, a slide show of features, video and written tutorials, and get a free demo version and the best pricing.
Recently, I decided to write my own program manual for it, to help astrologers know about and use some of its great features. This manual is available to all those who have already purchased the program through me, and everyone who purchases it through me from now on. I will be updating it regularly. To see a screen shot of its current table of contents, click here.
Monday, July 18, 2011
Great at Every Price, revised
I decided to polish my "Great at Every Price" article, comparing the top programs, a bit more.
Three astrology programs: Nova Chartwheels, Sirius, and Solar Fire Gold version 8 have modules designed to help you keep track of your astrological clients, appointment times, etc.
Nova Chartwheels has the Astro Planner, Sirius the KWS Business Manager, and Solar Fire Gold version 8 an Appointments Manager.
I woke up today wondering how easy easy each program made it to copy a backup of the created schedule to a flash drive, CD, or other external source. As most people realize, but so few actually act on, creating backups of your chart files, etc. is vital because PCs can crash, or get viruses, or suffer other breakdowns, losing all of your data.
And if you are going to place your entire schedule on your computer using one of these programs, then regular backups are extremely important and necessary.
Unfortunately, only one of these programs makes it very easy to backup the schedule file to an external source. Nova Chartwheels is the best: you can export the file in VCalendar format to an external drive, and re-import it later if a problem arises.
Sirius' Kepler Workshop allows you to create a backup, but only to a specific hard-wired folder called c:\Sirius11\dat\dbf\bak\ and so you would have to find, and then manually copy, the file from that folder to an external device.
Solar Fire Gold version 8 doesn't tell you where it saves the file to, nor allows you to specify where to save it to. I just found out the location of the files: C:\Users\useraccount \Documents\Solar Fire User Files\Databases You can go to this folder to manually backup your files.
Therefore, please think carefully before committing yourself to using a software scheduler for all of your appointment scheduling. They have some very useful features, but unless you are going to backup the schedule file regularly, you might not want to use one of these tools.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
More on Solar Fire Gold version 8
I've been testing Solar Fire Gold version 8 for a while now, and have added a few notes and important suggestion to my introduction to it.
I wrote an article for the British Vedic astrology association's BAVA Journal called Qualifying Yogas.
I was just looking it over and realized that it would be rough reading for novices or even some intermediate astrologers who didn't understand the terminology I was using in it.
I decided to add a beginning section giving definitions of all of the Vedic terms, and then also added a final section with a very useful summary/checklist to help readers apply these principles easily.
With the release of Regulus Platinum this month, The Great Year of Astrology Software has begun. Regulus Platinum offers astrological techniques from all major schools of astrology, and has raised the bar on what features are available in a relatively inexpensive astrology program. You can get it by clicking here.)
By the end of June, Solar Fire Gold 8 will be released internationally (as I mentioned below), too. Version 8 finally has complete astro-mapping, including aspect and midpoint lines, excellent interpretations of local space lines, parans, and rising and culminating planet lines, and much more.
By the end of 2011, I expect to see the release of major updates to several other astrology programs. Stay tuned for the latest news on astrology software.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Solar Fire Gold version 8
According to the Esoteric website, Solar Fire Gold 8 is now shipping to Australian residents. To read about some of the new features in version 8, as per their website, click here.
Update: If you purchase Solar Fire Gold 7.3 now through my website, you will receive version 8 for free (via download) when it is released on June 22nd, which is a great savings.
Monday, May 16, 2011
How to get help with your astrology software problems
I decided to create a web page that lists all of the ways to get customer support (e.g. web links, telephone numbers and email addresses) for specific astrology programs.
You can go to this new page by clicking here.
May it help you get the support that you need.
Monday, May 9, 2011
An astrology software review website that is full of errors
I happened to be exploring the web for new astrology software to review, and stumbled upon a website called TopTenReviews, and their astrology software review section.
I was very curious to see just how well they performed their analysis, and how they rated the programs that they reviewed.
Not only were their ratings completely unreliable, but their tables of program features were riddled with errors.
In dozens of cases, they indicated that programs had calculation features and reports that they actually did not have! In addition, they listed Windows-only programs as running on the Mac, and made many other factual errors. It's a shame when such shoddy work is done, that misleads people into buying astrology programs only to find crucial features missing that they were told were there.
I did send the company an email, but so far have not received any response.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
The phenomenal right-click options in Regulus Platinum
Many programs allow you to explore additional options and screens by clicking the right button on the mouse on the screen you are viewing, but the just released Regulus Platinum offers more choices than any other program. In fact, an entire very lengthy Regulus Platinum review could be based upon its myriad of right-click menus.
I've just added to my ongoing Regulus Platinum review, which you can read by clicking here, focusing on two of its amazing right-click menus.
Through the end of May, Regulus Platinum Professional is available at a very reduced price, and the program will be a great asset to many astrologers.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011 and Wednesday, April 27, 2011
What Challenging and Supportive Aspects Really Mean
I have just posted my latest tutorial article, "What Challenging and Supportive Aspects Really Mean" on my new free astrology software tutorials website.
To read it, or any of my other 100+ free Western and Vedic astrology tutorials, click here.
P.S. I spent a bit of time on Wednesday improving the article, so you might look it over again.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Great at Every Price -- Major Update
Have you ever wanted to compare the features of the top Western astrology programs? Or see what unique features they each have?
I've just written a major update to my article comparing the top astrology programs, which you can read by clicking here.
Friday, April 8, 2011
Eclipse Mapping in Astrology Software: Updated
I just updated my article comparing the Eclipse mapping (and eclipse finding) features of astrology programs to include the new program Regulus Platinum. It turned out to be one of the two best programs for eclipse mapping!
The Value of the User Interface in Astrology Software
In this article, I examine and compare the quality of the user interfaces of the top astrology programs. I also explain what a user interface is, and how the better user interfaces empower astrologers.
Regulus Platinum: A new powerhouse professional astrology program
The creator of the Huber-oriented astrology program Regulus decided to create a Swiss-army-knife, i.e. incredibly versatile, new version with Hellenistic, Vedic, Medieval, Modern Western, Huber, Horary, Fixed Star, and Arabic Part modules of amazing depth.
I decided to build a website devoted to the program, with screenshots, reviews, faqs, and more. You can learn more about this amazing program by clicking here to visit the new website.
Monday, March 21, 2011
My September 2010 TMA SoftStar News
I am adding my September TMA SoftStar News to my website. It includes information on the great free Vedic program Jaganattha Hora, how to get the latest time zone information, and free astrological fonts.
I will be adding new tutorial at least bimonthly, so please feel free to visit my new website often. You can go there by clicking on the above link or by clicking here.
May it serve you well.
Sunday, February 20, 2011
My new Janus astrology software website
I have done a huge amount of work on my websites since the trouble with Google last week. It reminds me to ask you, all of my website visitors, to please tell your friends and colleagues about my website, so that it can continue to thrive.
I built a website devoted to the professional-level astrology program Janus last week too. Janus is the "Best Buy" of top-notch astrology programs, with an incredible number of capabilities at an amazingly low price.
You can learn about its many unique features, see screenshots, and more, and visit the new website by clicking here.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
New astrology software websites and links
Last week, for a couple of days, Google completely dropped my Ultimate Guide to Astrology Software from its searches for some unknown reason.
This motivated me to clean up my web pages: removing dead links, making sure the HTML code was correct, etc.
This means, however, that if you explore some of my very old SoftStar News columns, some of the references will have been removed because the websites that they pointed to are no longer in existence.
In the process, I also built a few new websites, which I will be mentioning in this column.
Each of the websites has all of the reviews, tutorials, and extra features for one top astrology program, plus additional information that is not available on this website.
For example, if you are interested in the Sirius astrology program, go to my new Sirius website by clicking here. You will be able to find all of my published reviews and tutorials and added screen shots and more.
Friday, February 11, 2011
An amazing free Linux astrology program
Linux is a computer operating system used by many individuals and companies instead of Windows or the Mac OS. For many years, astrologers have contacted me looking for an astrology program that runs under Linus, and I hadn't found any. This week, I stumbled upon a new Linux astrology program that has an amazing number of features.
It is available in 18 languages, and can calculate natal, composite, transit, return, and progressed charts. You can add asteroids, the comet Chiron, and the nodes and part of fortune, and import chart files from ZET and Astrolog. It also offers a monthly timeline, traditional and European chart forms, and an ephemeris range from 1800 AD to 2400 AD.
My New YouTube Introduction to Astrology Software video
I decided to create a video introducing both astrologers and students of astrology (and novices) to the world of astrology software.
I created a slide show and then narrated it, and I posted it on YouTube last night.
You can see it (best viewed at 720p high definition in full screen mode) by clicking here.
Hope you like it. :-)
Friday, January 21, 2011
How to install Solar Fire Gold on a Mac
After continuing to polish my article last week on What you can't do astrologically on a Mac, I decided to post a PDF provided by Astrolabe on how to install the most Mac-like Windows astrology program -- Solar Fire Gold -- on a Mac.
[Mac owners have often looked at Solar Fire Gold at conferences and been surprised that it wasn't a Mac-native program because it is uses the graphic user interface so well.]
Win*Star 4.0 Pro added to the Features Comparison Table
My work on the Time Maps article continues. I added Win*Star 4.0 Pro to the table.
You can see how far I've gotten on the article, and view the new table by clicking here.
Monday, December 20, 2010
The Features Comparison Table for the Time Maps article
After many hours of work and contact with each of the software companies, I've completed my The Features Comparison Table for the Time Maps article. It categorizes the types of transit graph features and if they are present, and how functional they are in each company's time map.
You can see how far I've gotten on the article, and view the new table by clicking here.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
More evaluation criteria for Time Maps article
I am hard at work on the Time Maps comparison article, corresponding with companies, adding new criteria, working on the comparison table.
All of my older and new free tutorials will be published on that website.
I've just added a comprehensive article on how to determine which yogas will really manifest in a person's life. To read it, click here.
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
How to get AstroDatabank to run on a Windows Vista PC
Please read last week's post first.
Since the sequence of routines shown in the link below for Windows Vista is very complicated, I decided to share with you an older article from the AstroDatabank staff about installing AstroDatabank under Vista. (This only works with the 32 bit version of Vista.)
While AstroDatabank is no longer available for purchase, there are many astrologers who have come to cherish it.
In addition, the database does keep getting updated, so that those who run AstroDatabank on their PCs can enjoy viewing new charts (and corrections too) by running the program's WebUpdate feature.
There is even an active group of AstroDatabank users called ADBUsers@yahoogroups.com.
However, one issue has stymied many astrologers who love the program: what happens after they upgrade to Windows Vista or Windows 7? Is there any way that they can install the program under these OSes?
Here are the steps to install AstroDatabank under Windows 7 (or Vista):
1. Install XP Mode. If you have purchased Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, or Ultimate Editions, you might download and install Microsoft's XP Mode if you can find it online, and selecting which version of Windows you are running, and then following the instructions carefully.
[Important Note: If you own Windows Vista or Windows 7 Home Premium Edition, and you own a legitimate copy of Windows XP, and are skilled with computers, you can use another method of creating an "XP mode" on your PC by following the instructions at this link. Note: I have not tested this option to see if it will allow the installation of AstroDatabank, but it's worth a shot if running AstroDatabank is important to you. ]
2. Install your core astrology program within XP Mode. AstroDatabank doesn't display charts, and therefore needs to link to an external astrology program. In order for it to do so, you need to install one of the following astrology programs before you install AstroDatabank.
[Note: even if you already installed your core astrology program on your Windows 7 computer, you still have to install a copy in the XP Mode.]
3. Install AstroDatabank. Place the AstroDatabank CD in your CD drive, and install it from within the XP Mode. Make sure that you run WebUpdate to download the latest charts and biographies and corrections. (You can run WebUpdate once by going to Tools, WebUpdate, but to get AstroDatabank to run WebUpdate every time it starts, go to Tools, User Preferences, and check the box: Automatically run WebUpdate each time I start AstroDatabank -- see image below with red arrow pointing to the box to be checked):
I hope that these instructions are clear enough and help you to enjoy AstroDatabank for many years ahead.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Jagannatha Hora 7.4
P.V.R. Narasimha Rao, the author of Jagannatha Hora is a Jyotishi who had three gurus, his father Sri P.V.S. Chalapathi Rao, the acclaimed author Dr B.V. Raman, and the well-known Pt. Sanjay Rath. His dedication towards Vedic astrology inspired him to create Jagannatha Hora, which was originally sold for many years as a professional Vedic astrology program.
A few years ago, he decided to offer it for free, and yet still keeps issuing updates and enhancements regularly. In the past two years alone, he has released four significant updates.
The latest version continues to improve the time zone and time change data, which has been the most serious deficiency of the program. (However, even with this latest version, I suggest double-checking the time zone and daylight time supplied by the program for each chart, with other software or online.)
Jagannatha Hora is truly a professional-level Vedic astrology program. It offers all of the basic calculations, such as rasi, varga, shad bala, vimshopak, panchang, avasthas, and annual charts, plus brief delineations of the Parashari and Jaimini yogas in the chart, , Kp features, Argala marked on charts (for beginners), and much, much more.
Jagannatha Hora is a valuable asset to any student or practitioner of Jyotish.
I have been asked to create a page on Facebook about astrology software, and so I did, calling it the Astrology Software Center, and I will be updating it regularly.
At present, it has a section devoted to my most important articles and astrology software links, and a bit of current information.
Having recently received and tested two astrology programs from India, and having looked at many others before this, I decided to write an article on "The Problems with Astrology Programs from India", which you can read by clicking here.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Paramount Considerations in Chart Interpretation
I just wrote a new article called Paramount Considerations in Chart Interpretation which illustrates how to find the most important and dominant factors in a chart.
There are plenty of examples, using both Western and Vedic astrological approaches. You can read it by clicking here.
I hope it serves you.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Major astrology software updates coming!
Between now and the first half of 2011, at least six top astrology programs will have major updates.
A couple are due to be released in the very near future, while others won't show up until the end of the year or early next year.
Stay tuned to this column to keep apprised of some very exciting advances in astrology software.
One upgrade in particular, which should be released within a couple of months, is a truly giant release.
Monday, August 09, 2010
The Kid Zone Combo Natal Report
I have rarely encountered delineations in birth chart reports that "open my eyes" and elicit great respect for the author of the delineations.
The Kid Zone Combo Natal Report is an exception. It is the most comprehensive and most insightful natal report I've yet encountered.
I recently discovered that both the Electronic Astrologer Natal and the Electronic Astrologer Future now have the full ACS U.S. and World atlases built in. This is a great boon to those using these fine programs. Both are incredibly inexpensive and top-notch report programs.
To read my (updated) review of Electronic Astrologer Future, click here.
Sunday, July 04, 2010
How to get a free yearly calendar of astrological events
Matrix Software is known to have the best marketing methods for selling their products of any astrology software company. Their latest method is to create a website that provides a free yearly calendar of astrological events as well as additional reports.
You can get your free yearly calendar of events (mundane events, not related to a specific birth chart) by clicking here and going to the bottom section of the screen.
Just remember that if you actually want to purchase any Matrix Software, you should do so through me, as I can guide you towards the programs that are worthwhile. and give you the best pricing.
Monday, June 28, 2010
Adding current planetary positions and more to your website
I just discovered that astro.com has code that you can add to your website to display a table of the current planetary positions and another table showing those born on the current month and day.
p.s. I just added a link to a sample report and a chart wheel page.
Friday, May 28, 2010
My new TMA SoftStar News column
As many of you know, I have been writing astrology software reviews for The Mountain Astrologer for many years.
Since the foremost professional astrology programs have gotten very mature (i.e. with hundreds of features, solid accuracy, and fine graphics), the folks at The Mountain Astrologer suggested that there isn't as much need for full software reviews for the time being, and I came up with the idea that I could write a shorter column for each issue about the latest news in astrology software.
My proposal was accepted, and I just submitted my first column.
I invite you to read my upcoming columns in The Mountain Astrologer, the foremost astrology magazine.
Friday, May 21, 2010
The Astrology of Relating
Since an understanding of astrology is essential in efffectively using any astrology software, I have decided to start including my latest tutorials in astrology in this blog.
You can see all of my tools for learning astrology by clicking here, or just read my latest essay, The Astrology of Relating, by clicking here.
Hope these are of value to you.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
The Solar Fire 7.3 update
The Solar Fire 7.3 update has a number of enhancements valuable to Solar Fire users. "Under the hood", i.e. a bit less visible, are its enhanced compatibility with Windows 7 and its more effective importing of settings from previous versions of Solar Fire.
More obvious additions are its Sabian Symbol report, improved interpretations for natal placements and transit and progressed events, and sign and house delineations for Sedna, Eris, Selena and the Black Moon Lilith.
Finally, the update adds traditional hot/cold/wet/dry tallies for temperament (sanguine, choleric, melancholic or phlegmatic) according to William Lilly, see the image below:
While the update is not earth-shaking, it is worthwhile, especially to new buyers of Solar Fire, and for owners of version 7.1, who can download the update for free.
Another change Astrolabe, and I, are offering is the ability to purchase Solar Fire and download it instead of getting it shipped to you. This is much faster, and bypasses international duties and extra shipping costs.
Sunday, May 02, 2010
The Strengths and Weaknesses of Interpretive Software
One of the primary reasons why I encourage astrologers to contact me before purchasing astrology programs is that the quality of interpretive programs varies widely, and many are filled with alarming or inaccurate delineations.
I just revised my article exploring in depth the pitfalls and problems with some interpretive software, which you can read by clicking here.
I hope it is of value to you.
Thursday , April 22, 2010
A Restaurant Metaphor on Astrology Software Companies
Six years ago, I wrote this little article, and I just stumbled across it again and decided to polish it and post it again for those who missed it the first time:
Just like there are 5 star restaurants, there are 5 star astrology software companies that "do everything right".
But like most human endeavors, most restaurants and astrology software companies have their failings as well as their successes.
Some restaurants rush in the preparation of their food, and it comes to the table undercooked or unevenly cooked. (Software released before enough polishing and bug-fixing.)
Others think that as long as the food (software) is good enough, it doesn't matter what service they offer. They don't address problems that arise, may ignore customer suggestions and requests, and some even take offence if feedback is offered.
Still others completely ignore presentation, and offer tasty food (functional software) in a jarring arrangement (poor user interface).
Pricing can also be an issue, with some places offering bargains, and others meals (programs) that are clearly overpriced.
Then there are the supersizers, the places that think that more is better, and deliver very mediocre offerings in huge amounts. (E.g. programs that have lengthy reports of little quality.)
Finally, some restaurants offer menus that stay the same forever, while others keep creating new dishes. (Software companies that don't change their programs vs. others that keep innovating.)
The value of the food at a restaurant, or of an astrology program, depends upon much more than just one of its qualities.
[In reviewing and expanding upon this essay, I came again to realized how well the parallels work. In the 32 years that I've worked with astrology software, I've seen both great strides in qualilty and also all of the above issues.]
p.s. I was tempted to mention the names of companies or products that fall into each of the above categories, but realized that it wouldn't be fair, because each software creator has their own strengths and does the best job they can.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
My new Kepler Astrology Software website
I have created a new website devoted to the astrology program Kepler, with a new write-up exploring even more of its features, plus all of my reviews, tutorials, etc. from this website, in a completely organized format.
To learn about Kepler and visit the new site, click here.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Free Vedic Charts Online
While there are many websites, even this one, where you can get a free Western astrology chart online, it isn't as easy to get a free Vedic chart.
If you're away from your computer and want to see a Vedic chart, dasa listing, and/or table of planets by sign and nakshatra, you can do so for free by clicking here.
Note: please notice that on the right side of the screen that appears is an atlas link (and after you click on it, another link to find out whether Daylight Savings Time was in effect). Be sure to use these links if you don't know the coordinates or time zone needed.
Friday, March 26, 2010 and Thursday, April 1, 2010
Five Six reasons you really should update your astrology software
I was asked today by a customer to remind my website readers why it is so important to upgrade your astrology software regularly.
Here are five six reasons:
[Note: in my eagerness to respond to my customer's request, I left out the most important reason to upgrade regularly, which is now #6 below]
1. Support the company. Companies rely on update orders, not just sales, to keep on going. If you want your software to continue to be developed and supported, help the companies survive by purchasing updates.
2. Get updates to essential features. If you have an old version of most programs, chances are high that the internal time-change atlas has out-of-date information, meaning that some of the charts you calculate will be miscalculated. Companies often update their atlas when they update their software, and this is an essential component to have as current as possible.
There are also astrologers who want to use the new bodies discovered by astronomers in their charts. Only by updating can these planets and other bodies be calculated.
3. Receive enhanced versions of the features that you love. Each program has features that are really valuable to their owners. With new versions, these features are often enhanced, often in ways that are priceless to astrologers. For example, new versions of some programs can depict applying aspect lines as solid, and separating aspect lines as dotted. This differentiation may be neat for birth chart work, but is essential for chart animation, i.e. where being able to see which transits are applying is crucial to choosing the best times for classes, weddings, etc.
4. Be dazzled by incredible new features. Recently, many programs added powerful primary direction calculations, astrological monthly calendars, and enhanced astro-mapping to their functions. Most companies include many great new capabilities in each new upgrade.
5. Have compatibility with the latest version of Windows or OS X. It is unlikely that an old version of most programs will install on the latest operating systems, so if you buy a new computer, you're going to have to upgrade anyway. So why not enjoy the latest features of programs before you're forced to update?
6. Get longstanding bugs and design flaws fixed. For many years, most ancient charts created by Win*Star Plus were miscalculated, due to an atlas look-up error. While it took the company years to fix the bug, later releases were fixed and those who updated could calculate ancient charts accurately.
Similarly, before Solar Fire Gold, versions of Solar Fire (and some other programs, too) had a serious design flaw that resulted in some transits and progressions being omitted from hit lists and Time Maps, which was mentioned in my Optimal Use of Astrology Software -- specifically the first topic in this section called Missed Events. In Solar Fire Gold, this problem finally got resolved.
And until a fix that is being implemented this year, progressions were imprecisely calculated in Kepler and Sirius.
Therefore it is vital to upgrade your programs in order to have major software issues fixed.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Great at Every Price -- Revised
My table and article comparing the features of the top Western astrology programs has just been revised.
And I will be continuing to revise it as new programs, and new features, become relevant to include.
It is always a good idea to road test demos of programs to see if you like their design, ease of use, and functions.
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
Coordinates for small Cities and Towns
One of my readers pointed out the following website as a source of longitudes and latitudes for small cities and towns throughout the World.
If you use this coordinate data in your astrology program, remember to manually enter the correct time zone information (which you can get from your software's atlas, i.e. by entering the name of a nearby larger city.)
Click here to go to the website. Use the Search field to enter the place name, and then click on the place to pop up its coordinates.
Monday, February 22, 2010
The creators of Janus continue to improve their program and offer free updates (e.g. to 4.0 or later owners).
Click here to go to my page about Janus, including new information about the 4.3 update.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
The purpose of websites devoted to specific astrology programs
Those of you who have kept up with this weblog know that I have already contructed two websites devoted to specific astrological programs, and will be adding more.
The purpose of devoting a website to a specific program is simple: scattered across many pages of my soulhealing.com website is information on each of the major programs. I decided that it would help you if all of the information on a specific program -- all of the reviews, tutorials, videos, etc. -- where collected in one place and easily accessible. That's why I've started creating program-specific websites.
I also have a request of you, my loyal readers. Lately, my website has fallen lower on Google when searching for astrology software, and it would really help me if you would add to your own websites a link to http://www.soulhealing.com/astrosof.htm (where all of my astrology software information resides) and perhaps also to http://www.soulhealing.com. If you can do so, I'd really appreciate it.
May my website continue to serve you.
Tuesday, February 09, 2010
My new website devoted to Shri Jyoti Star
Once again, I've created a website that has all of my reviews, tutorials, video tutorials, etc. about one of the foremost programs all in one place.
This time, it's the great Vedic astrology program Shri Jyoti Star. You can visit the website by clicking here.
Monday, February 01, 2010
My new Solar Fire Gold website
I've decided to create websites devoted to specific astrology programs, so that you can go to one place to find all of the information about it.
My dedicated website about Solar Fire Gold has all of my written and video tutorials, my reviews of all versions of Solar Fire, special offers, and more.
I just created a new web page with links to demo versions of most of the major astrology programs.
Click here to go to that page. Exploring demos can give you an idea about how programs work and whether they have the features and user-friendliness you want.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
My full Mountain Astrologer review of ZET Geo 8
I spent a great deal of time learning to use and discovering the features of ZET Geo 8 before writing my review of this powerful program for The Mountain Astrologer.
You can read my review, complete with images and links, by clicking here.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
I just received a new cute free astrology compatibility program called StarLove, which you can download by clicking here.
To use it, you enter two people's birth data --you do need to know their birth place's time zone/changes and the longitude -- but there is a World map included that you can use to get an approximate longitude.
The StarLove then shows you a set of graphs and a compatibility rating based upon aspects between the charts (note: it doesn't use aspects to the Ascendant).
While StarLove is quite basic, it is still interesting to explore. Here's a sample graph:
Hope you enjoy it.
Friday, January 01, 2010 and Sunday, January 03, 2010
Important New Atlas Test: Charts miscalculated for Venezuela
There have been major time zone changes in specific countries outside of the U.S. For example, Venezuela has changed the time zone used countrywide. (Thanks to David Cochrane for this alert.)
Unfortunately, the ACS atlas has not been updated to reflect this change, and so programs that rely on it -- such as Solar Fire, TimePassages, Shri Jyoti Star -- will create incorrect charts for Venezuela for newborns until this issue has been addressed. Even versions of Kepler or Sirius that have not been recently updated will have this problem.
So for recent births outside of the U.S., I recommend using this link to www.timeanddate.com to verify that the time zone you are using is correct OR use the latest version of Sirius 1.1.
To test whether your program can calculate time zones correctly:
You can use 12 noon (i.e. 12:00 pm) for these charts:
January 1, 2008 in Caracas, Venezuela: 4 hr 30 min west time zone, no DST -- the Ascendant is 13 degrees 19 minutes Aries
October 1, 1951 in Lahore, Pakistan 4 hr 30 min east, no DST -- the Ascendant is 0 degrees 31 minutes Capricorn
October 1, 1954 in Lahore, Pakistan 5 hr east, no DST -- the Ascendant is 23 degrees 58 minutes Sagittarius
March 16, 2008, Buenos Aires, Argentina 3 hr west, no dst -- the Ascendant is 28 degrees 51 minutes Taurus (some programs give 53 minutes)
October 19, 2008, Buenos Aires, Argentina 3 hr west, yes DST (2 hours before GMT) -- the Ascendant is 15 degrees 19 minutes Capricorn
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
New Time Zone Changes
In corresponding with David Cochrane (the author of Sirius and Kepler programs), he pointed out that:
"On the subject of accuracy we got some new data on observance of DST in Europe and Asia in past decades and we are making more corrections. There are thousands of corrections we have made in Central and South America as well as thousands of updates over the past 20 years with changes in the laws for observing DST, and we are getting an increasing number of people reporting incorrect charts with other programs.
For example, about a month ago a lady told me that a client in Buenos Aires was upset to find out that the chart she had done for her 8 year old son has the wrong rising sign because the famous astrologer who did the chart does not use Kepler or Sirius. The free online chart service -- [author's note: see the link in the next paragraph] -- has the accurate DST tables so people can verify the chart there without having to buy our software. [For the USA, the old ACS Atlas is pretty good; we haven't had many corrections in the USA.]"
You can also confirm the accuracy of your astrology software's atlas by performing the atlas accuracy test included in my article, "The Optimal Use of Astrology Software" which every astrologer using astrology software should read, in any case, by clicking here.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Chart Animation in Solar Fire Gold
To view my latest tutorial of the chart animation features in Solar Fire, and all of my previous Solar Fire Gold tutorials, Click here.
Monday, December 07, 2009
Video Tutorial: Solar Fire Gold's Extra Points Chart Wheels
I recorded and uploaded a new astrology software tutorial on Solar Fire Gold's Extra Points Chart Wheels.
This great feature allows you to add any of a huge set of extra points to your charts. Click here to see the tutorial.
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
The Conclusion to my Sirius 1.1 Review
I've finished my review of Sirius 1.1, the powerful new update to Sirius.
You can find it after parts one and two of the review, by clicking here.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
More Tutorials for Solar Fire Gold
Stephanie Johnson wrote a tutorial on the powerful switches in Solar Fire Gold between Sidereal/Tropical, etc., which I just added to my tutorial page on Solar Fire Gold.
You can read all of my Solar Fire Gold tutorials by clicking here.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Part Two of Sirius 1.1 Review
Here's my second installment of the Sirius 1.1 update review.
Read Part Two of my new review by clicking here. You'll find it placed after Part One.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Part One of Sirius 1.1 Review
Sirius 1.1 is a major update to the already incredible Sirius program.
The Best Features in Astrology Software: Time Maps in Solar Fire
This is the first installment in a new series of video tutorials by me about the most powerful and useful features in astrology programs.
After many hours of investigating how to record and present video software tutorials to you, my readers, I finally learned that I could record them effectively using Snagit, and present them for viewing by uploading them to youtube.
Click on the following link to learn about Solar Fire's Time Map feature. It has been present in Solar Fire since version 3, and remains the most useful depiction of predictive events I've ever seen.
By the way, I also created a Tips, Tricks, and Tutorials web page for Solar Fire Gold, where I share many valuable insights about getting the most out of Solar Fire Gold. You can view it by clicking here.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Great at Every Price: Professional Astrology Software: Revised
I revised my article comparing the features and strengths of the top Western astrology programs this week.
Krishnamurthi Paddhati is a very sophisticated predictive methodology used by practitioners of the KP approach. This new software, KP Muhuart, has many, many features including a KP analysis screen with a Lagna table and sub-level analysis and a detailed Results page showing North Indian charts, an analysis of each house, and of dasas to four levels. KP afficianadoes can view all of the author's offerings and download the software by clicking here.
Monday, June 22, 2009
The Optimal Use of Astrology Software -- newly revised
One of the most important articles that I've ever written on astrology software is called "The Optimal Use of Astrology Software". Over the years, I have revised it, and have just completed my latest revision.
Anyone using astrology software should read it, as it reviews the best ways to get the most out of your software, how to protect yourself and your data, how to test the accuracy of your software, what calculations you can't trust, what techniques are most afffected by inaccuracies in birth times, how to update your software, and much more.
Find the positions of Minor Point and Bodies, Occultations, etc.
I stumbled across a website that offers a "super-chart" of major planets, named Centaurs and TNOs, 50 asteroids, Uranian points, Galactic Center and Great Attractor for a given date and time. It also can create an aspect table showing one degree aspects between all points, can generate ephemeris pages, and list Solar and Lunar Eclipses and Planetary Occultations.
My review of Janus 4.1 published in The Mountain Astrologer
I just placed my published review of Janus 4.1 on my website. Janus 4.1 is currently available at an incredibly low price (a fraction of the price of comparable programs) and its unique features are very valuable.
Astrology software has blossomed incredibly in ways that I could never have conceived of when I got my first "microcomputer" back in 1978.
Early on, I gave awards for "best astrology program of the year", but stopped because some companies were deleting the "of the year" part and using my endorsements in their advertisements.
The truth is very simple, which is the best astrology program depends upon the features each astrologer needs most.
Nevertheless, here are some examples of the "best of breed":
Solar Fire Gold has the best transit graph and best chart and page animation features. Shri Jyoti Star deserves an honorable mention for its excellent chart and page animation capablilities, too.
Pegasus, Kepler, and Sirius have the best selection of top notch add-on interpretive reports.
SuperSearch, Shri Jyoti Star, and Solar Fire Gold have the best search-for-factors in both natal charts and in the past and future.
Sirius offers the largest number of astrological tools for different schools of astrology (e.g. modern Western, Hellenistic, Vedic, Huber, etc.)
DayWatch has the best astrological calendar, with honorable mention to Solar Fire Gold's fine astrological calendar.
Janus has the most extensive set of astromapping lines and interpretations.
Millennium offers the best modeling tools for predictive graphs, e.g. future times when finances, love, career will have peaks and valleys, with honorable mention to both Kepler and Sirius for their well-done natal, predictive, and synastric modeling tools.
JigSaw and Sirius have the best rectification tools (i.e. where you enter many significant life events and the program gives you the most likely birth times).
AstroDatabank has the best and most accurately timed collection of charts, including searchable biographies, categorization, and powerful modeling tools.
Shri Jyoti Star, Solar Fire Gold, and Sirius have the best screen and page design tools.
The Vedic Bookshelf has the most extensive selection of searchable texts.
Win*Star Plus has the best Ephemeris page module around.
Nova Chartwheels is the most powerful software for Cosmobiology that I have seen.
Regulus and Sirius have the most extensive capabilities for Huber astrology.
I could go on and on with this list, adding dozens of additional categories and many more notable astrology programs.
It is very important to note, however, that virtually every astrology program has unique features. When I wrote my review of astromapping programs, for example, I was struck by the powerful and unique astromapping abilities in most of the programs.
Suffice it to say that astrologers are incredibly blessed by the abundance of excellent astrology program.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Frequently Asked Questions about Sirius
I just wrote a Frequently Asked Questions about Sirius article because many people were asking me questions about Sirius.
While I was visiting another website, I noticed that its author was proclaiming that AstroDatabank is now free.
Since I am a very strong champion of the AstroDatabank program, I inspected the issue further and found out that the AstroDatabank program is not what she was talking about but instead the new website.
If you go to this link, you will find the entire AstroDatabank database available for perusal. For the time being, the only search you can conduct on the data is a search by name.
This is of value because you can read short biographies, see their charts (although the format is a bit hard to read), and see which categories a person falls into.
However, those who own the actual AstroDatabank software are much better off, because they can both use the powerful search features built-in to AstroDatabank and also export the data to their other astrology programs to do additional searches.
I am very thankful to Alois Treindl for purchasing AstroDatabank and making this data accessible to all people. What a great contribution to astrology!
P.S. Very important note for AstroDatabank owners: as you know, when you run AstroDatabank, it automatically downloads from the Internet the latest additions to the databank. Right now, the data that is being added to the website is also being made available via the software's update feature, so run AstroDatabank at least once a month to be sure to get the latest updates.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Issues with Jagannatha Hora
An astrologer contacted me, wanting to purchase a new Vedic program, because his free Jagannatha Hora was miscalculating charts, specifically around dates like 1840 AD.
I downloaded the latest version, 7.32, which you can do by clicking here, and tested it.
As I suspected, the astrologer had depended upon Jagannatha Hora to use the correct date, but the program was not programmed to switch automatically to LMT when appropriate, and so the charts were coming out wrong.
Jagannatha Hora does provide a "Use LMT" checkbox, but leaves it up to users to determine when to check the box.
A few days later, an astrologer asked me to calculate a series of charts for her using Jagannatha Hora. When I entered the data for her birth chart, and used the internal atlas to find the city's coordinates and time zone, Jagannatha Hora failed a second time.
This failure was more significant, because the program did not correct for Daylight Savings Time when it should have.
Jagannatha Hora is an excellent program in many ways. It has a very wide range of Vedic calculations, it is free, and it continues to be enhanced.
But astrologers cannot count on it to calculate charts correctly for ancient dates or when Daylight Savings Time is in effect, but need to check (in other software or in printed time zone tables) whether LMT or DST was operating, and then manually make the changes in the data entry screen in order to get accurate charts.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Switching to the Mac for Astrology
I just wrote an article on "Switching to the Mac for Astrology" with tips on how to make this not-so-easy transition easier.
An Astrological House Formulary: how each system works and how to calculate cusps
As I mentioned in my Learning Astrology section of this website, you can both read online and download and save to your computer many excellent astrology books for free, just by logging on the Scribd.com and registering.
In searching for what astrology books were available, I discovered "An Astrological House Formulary: how each system works and how to calculate cusps" by Michael P. Munkasey.
This book can be an excellent reference for programmers who create astrology software as well as those just wanting to learn more about house systems.
(As I mentioned, if you are not registered on Sribd.com, you will have to register first. But it's free and easy to do.)
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Software Tips & Tricks: Research Graphs in Shri Jyoti Star
I am always amazed when I discover, or am shown, a completely new feature in an astrology program I've used for years.
This week, I was talking to Andrew Foss, the author of Shri Jyoti Star -- a great Vedic astrology program that you can read more about by clicking here -- and was asking him to add a feature I have long wanted to see in the program. He surprised me by saying, "That feature has been there since version 3."
Now, to my credit, I am familiar with almost all of the features of this vast and incredibly powerful program, but the one we talked about had eluded my notice.
I wanted to be able to see graphs of the distribution of planets by sign, nakshatra, etc. for a group of charts.
For example, let's say that I have collected the charts of all of the astronauts and want to see how many have planets in Shatabishak vs other Nakshatras.
I can use Shri Jyoti Star to copy charts to a group (the program provides two subgroups for use in this way, labeled A & B).
The procedure is to highlight each person's name in database list of the program's Data Entry screen and then press the F11 key -- or click on the menu item Tags, Apply B tag -- and the person is now part of the B group.
Next, I open the B group list (by clicking on the white space to the right of the word Lists and select the B group) and open one of the charts shown.
I then Page Down to an empty screen, click on it, click on the Graphs tab, and at the bottom right under the word Research click on the white space to select the B group.
I can next select whatever chart point I want (Ascendant through Saturn) and click on one of the buttons below it to choose which factor -- signs, navamshas, nakshatras, Sun signs -- I want a graph of.
Voila! The program provides a beautiful colored and labeled graph that is easy to read!
It is my understanding that this feature will be enhanced in the next version with more choices, e.g. lord of the lagna by house, making this tool even more useful.
Another surprise and new discovery was that in a recent update to Solar Fire Gold was added the ability to toggle between Heliocentric and Geocentric coordinates simply by pressing Control-K (i.e. holding down the Ctrl key and pressing the "K" key).
This feature works on the Main Screen to instantly toggle back and forth between both, much like the program can do between Tropical and Sidereal Zodiacs and between True and Mean Nodes.
Saturday, February 07, 2009
How you place yourself in jeopardy if you download illegal copies of astrology programs.
Because I want to keep up with the latest information about computer security (both for myself and for my readers), I subscribe to the excellent Windows Secrets newsletter at windowssecrets.com.
In a recent issue, Ian "Gizmo" Richards, a true expert in computer security, mentioned that a top security firm found that two thirds of all computer infections came from downloading software from the internet onto your computer.
He also states:
"Pirated software is particularly dangerous, because such programs are used widely and are often crawling with viruses.
In fact, when I'm looking for a new set of malware for my security tests, I go straight to pirated-software sites and cracked-software sources on BitTorrent.
The last time I did this, 39 of the 61 illegal programs I downloaded from BitTorrent were infected."
So please both protect yourself and support astrology software companies by purchasing astrology software instead of trying to get it illegally.
Sunday, February 01, 2009
Update Your Solar Fire Gold!
As owners of Solar Fire have known for many years, the authors of Solar Fire release more updates between major versions than any other company. These updates -- which are free -- are also issued more frequently, and include both program fixes and significant program enhancements.
So every owner of Solar Fire Gold should be sure and look for updates once a month or so.
Note: to see what version of Solar Fire Gold you are presently running, just look at the top left of the screen and it will show you the title: Solar Fire Gold and a version number (e.g. Solar Fire Gold v7.0.9 -- the latest version).
Here's how to get the latest update:
1. Run Solar Fire Gold.
2. Click on the Help menu at the top right of the screen.
3. Click on "Check for Updates on the Web" and if there is a new update, download and install it.
The latest version of Solar Fire Gold has updated the atlas files for the new time zone changes in Australia, Argentina and Sri Lanka, and offers many fixes and improvements including the ability to view multiple "cloned" real time charts, i.e. astro-clocks that show the planets as they are at present (which change as time moves forward) for as many different locations as you want.
Previous free updates were also very significant, e.g. the addition of cloned charts described in my September 19th, 2008 weblog, which you can go to by clicking here.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Sale pricing of Janus 4.1 extended indefinitely
Janus 4.1 is a full-fledged professional astrology program with great accuracy, a very wide range of features, and fine ease-of-use.
The price of Janus was significantly lowered for the winter 2008 holiday season, and its creators have decided to extend the sale indefinitely.
My prices are even lower, and make the software a truly phenomenal bargain.
You can read my published reviews of Janus and purchase it by clicking here.
Monday, January 19, 2009
My Full Mountain Astrologer Review of Solar Fire Gold
Here's the full texts and graphics of my Mountain Astrologer review of Solar Fire Gold. To read it, click here.
(Unfortunately, The Mountain Astrologer staff couldn't include both of my graphics in their published version of my review, but the review on this website is complete.)
I hope you enjoy it.
Friday, January 09, 2009
The Art of Reviewing Astrology Software - Part Four: My Hands-on Evaluation of Astrology Programs
At this point, I install the program I am about to evaluate and test it for bugs. Usually, the installation is easy, and I begin exploring the features of the program far and wide.
I explore every single feature of the program, and make sure that any features mentioned in the documentation or advertising exist, and that all functions are easy to find, and that they function correctly.
Invariably, I find program bugs (I seem to have a real knack of finding bugs) and discover program design flaws and report both immediately to the company. I'm happy to say that most companies are quite responsive and quickly fix the bugs and often implement the improvements that I suggest.
Since ease-of-use is a vital feature of every program, I specifically help companies to make their program capabilities both easy to locate, and their use and labeling understandable.
Once in a while, I have even helped software creators to completely overhaul their software to make it really usable and worthwhile.
(Note: I never charge companies for any of my assistance.}
Occasionally, I receive a program that is simple too buggy and cannot be fixed.
For example, I was sent the program VegaSviri, which had a number of innovative features including group analysis functions. At first glance, it seemed to function well. But after running for a while, the program consistently lost track of the natal planetary positions, and started generating inaccurate results.
I was promised by the company that this bug would be fixed, so I kept exploring the program and completed the review, it's release depending upon the bug fix.
After receiving promise after promise from them, they never fixed the bug, I finally realized that the program was fatally flawed, and scrapped the review.
(What the company didn't tell me -- I found out later through another astrologer -- was that the original programmer -- the only person who could fix the bug -- had "jumped ship" and started working for another company.)
After the review process is complete, I send a copy of the review to its creator for feedback, so that any oversights or errors can be corrected before I send it to my publisher.
Thursday, January 01, 2009
The Art of Reviewing Astrology Software - Part Three: Additional Issues in Reviewing Astrology Programs
As an astrology software reviewer, there are many additional pitfalls that I encounter even before I start reviewing programs.
1. Dongles. Some programs, especially from countries in Asia, require the use of a dongle in order to run. A dongle is a hardware plug that usually has to be connected between the computer and the printer, and contains a code that allows a program to operate.
Unfortunately, this approach is very problematic, because the dongle can interfere with the normal operations of one's computer. As a result, I no longer review programs that require a dongle.
2. Macintosh software. There is very little software for astrology that runs only on a Macintosh, and so I never had the need to purchase a Mac computer. When I have needed to evaluate a Mac astrology program, I go to a friend's house to install, run, and test it. Because this takes much more time and effort, I have chosen not to evaluate the few little shareware programs available for the Mac.
Additionally, unbeknownst to most Mac users, Apple changes the operating system (OS) frequently, and often astrology programs that would run under the previous OS will no longer run. That makes a reviewer's job much harder, because software has to be tested on the latest Mac, without assurance that it will run on older Macs. (This problem does not exist in Windows. I'm still running programs written 20 years ago on my Windows PC.)
3. Vista. It is a shame that Microsoft created an operating system called Vista that causes so many hassles for astrologers and other computer users. Astrology programs were simple to install on all of the previous versions of Windows since Windows 95, but Microsoft -- in an attempt to make Vista more secure -- made installations under Vista much more difficult in many cases and impossible with older software.
To their credit, most astrology software companies have "worked out the bugs" of installing programs under Vista already, but if you have an old program (e.g. the Electronic Astrologer series) you will not be able to install it at all until a fix is issued.
Because of all of the problems inherent in running programs under Vista, I have not installed Vista on my PC and recommend people get PCs running Windows XP for as long as possible.
2008 - The Year of the Great Shakeup in Astrology Software
At the beginning of this year, I never expected so many changes in the astrology software business.
Source Interlink/Alliance Entertainment sold Matrix Software back to its founder, Michael Erlewine, because the company was not profitable for about a year. The staff at Matrix got downsized, but the company is experiencing a new birth.
Astrocom.com aka Astrocomputing Services aka ACS went bankrupt and was sold to Maria Kay Simms (who had been affiliated with ACS for years). She is presently reviving ACS, and work is being done to get the Electronic Astrologer series of programs compatible with Windows Vista. She has turned over the administration of the ACS electronic atlas to Astrolabe, where it will continue to flourish.
Astrology Software Shop also went belly up, and Astrodienst recently acquired Lois Rodden's Astrodatabank with all rights, and is committed to make all celebrity data available to the public in wiki format.
And several companies -- based upon a June 2007 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court throwing out a 94 year old law allowing distributors to discount the products they sold -- decided to restrict or eliminate the discounting of astrology software by their distributors.
This superb free online "software" will calculate birth charts and save them to your computer, customizing the chart wheel, aspect orbs, house system, color scheme, language, zodiac, ayanamsha, the inclusion of extra points, etc.
It also allows you to view, save, and print out extensive interpretive natal reports that include which planets are prominent, aspect counts, aspect patterns, and exceptionally detailed interpretations and archetypes for planets in signs, planets in houses, and planets in aspect to each other.
What a truly wonderful resource that every astrologer should explore!
The website also has a large selection of free astrology and astrological astronomy lessons too.
You can visit the Clairvision Virtual Astrologer by clicking here.
Monday, November 17, 2008
The Art of Reviewing Astrology Software - Part Two: Learning Astrology
As I mentioned last week, I'm writing about just how involved reviewing astrology software is.
In 1997, I was asked by The Mountain Astrologer founder and publisher Tem Tarriktar to write a review on all of the major Vedic astrology programs.
In order to do justice to the evaluation of each program, I had to really "get up to speed" in my understanding of Vedic Astrology. Fortunately for me and my readers, the authors of the programs helped me a lot, e.g. to understand some of the more farflung Vedic terminology and methodology.
Similarly, when I was called upon to evaluate the program Regulus, I found myself reading several books on the Huber approach, and in examining Medieval and Classical (Greek) techniques in astrological programs, what I learned from attending the first Project Hindsight conference (and reading the translated manuscripts they published) really came into play.
In other words, depending upon the software, I often have to significantly expand my knowledge of different schools of astrology before I review a program.
This was brought home to me recently when I reviewed the software Intrepid. It's based upon a completely different approach to astrology invented by its author. I had to open my mind to an approach that ran counter to much of my astrological understanding, and embrace it, so that the review could be sound.
I really enjoy the challenge that reviewing astrological software brings to me. It keeps me growing as an astrologer and reminds me just how diverse our great field of study is.
I will be studying Tibetan Astrology next, in order to review the latest Tibetan astrology software.
Monday, November 10, 2008
The Art of Reviewing Astrology Software - Part One: Unacceptable Software
I recently reviewed several programs (for articles to be published in The Mountain Astrologer), and plan to write a few weekly columns on the sequence of steps I take to obtain and review astrology programs.
In the process, I realized that most people have no idea just how involved the process is, and how many challenges crop up.
Even before I get a program in-house, I make certain determinations:
Is the program worth reviewing?
Over the years, I've encountered many programs that have one major failing that disqualifies them from the review process:
They add nothing new to the field of astrology software (and are often also overpriced).
I can also assess, from program literature, images and examples posted on websites or sent to me, whether the program is accurate. (I recalculate the charts for the examples that I've received.)
It is surprising how many programs are inaccurate even in their very basic calculations. I've noticed this most often in under-$100 software and in software from India.
Usually the inaccuracies stem both from imprecise planetary calculations and from poorly constructed time-change atlases (which insert incorrect time zones into the calculations).
Finally, since I need quite a bit of time to evaluate programs, I require full versions and not just printouts or demos or trial software. Some companies won't supply full versions.
Unexpectedly, a few companies now expect reviewers to pay for the software!
This is completely counterproductive behavior on their part, because it means that their products won't be reviewed, and therefore won't get the exposure they might deserve.
There are many really fine astrology programs available to astrologers today. And I rejoice at being able to bring them to your attention.
Monday, November 03, 2008
After preparing my in-depth review of Intrepid 2.0 for the forthcoming February/March 2009 issue of The Mountain Astrologer, I decided to write up a shorter review of the program for this website.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
This is the third review from my Aug/Sept 2008 Mercury Direct section of The Mountain Astrologer article.
I reviewed the latest version of Win*Star Express (version 3.0) and you can read the review by clicking here.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
As I mentioned in the last blog, in the Aug/Sept 2008 Mercury Direct section of The Mountain Astrologer, I reviewed three new updates to Western astrology programs priced at under $200. The article was called "Little Giants".
Today I added to my website the AstrolDeluxe 7.0 review from this article.
Monday, October 13, 2008
In the Aug/Sept 2008 Mercury Direct section of The Mountain Astrologer, I reviewed three new updates to Western astrology programs priced at under $200. The article was called "Little Giants".
I just added to my website the TimePassages Advanced version 5.0 review from this article.
Sunday, October 05, 2008
As I mentioned below in the Friday, September 19, 2008 weblog, most astrology programs do not take full advantage of the Windows Graphical User Interface (GUI).
Unlike software on the Macintosh computers, which conform very closely to the Mac interface, the PC software as been like the Wild West, i.e. everyone doing their own thing.
While this has resulted in an incredibly wide diversity of styles of user interface, the lack of consistency and lack of adherence to the Windows conventions has made PC programs harder to learn to use and harder to use.
I have often thought of writing an article on the creative ways that various programs take advantage of the Windows GUI, but for the time being, I will focus on specific features. The feature I mentioned in the 9/19/08 blog below was the ability to open several different astrological windows and resize and arrange them on your screen for optimal functioning.
Janus 4.1 may not yet have a setting to keep specific windows "on top" (i.e. covering --in front of -- background windows), but it does open each module's screen in a separate window, and allow you to position and resize them, and it does remember these settings for future sessions, all of which enables astrologers to creatively arrange screens very effectively.
You can place charts, astromaps, timelines, graphic ephemeride, etc. whereever you want on the screen.
Click here to see an example of a screen that can be created.
Again, I encourage astrologers to purchase a 24" monitor, which will give you the "screen real estate" to be able to use this feature effectively.
Friday, September 19, 2008
As many of you know, Solar Fire offers the full features of the Windows Graphical User Interface more than most other astrology programs. You can open many different windows at once (e.g. astromap, chart page, transit list, graphic ephemeris, reports, data screens, etc.) and resize each window, and position them onscreen exactly where you want. You can also design screens just the way you want, for different purposes. And Solar Fire Gold remembers where you positioned each window and what size you made them so it's easy to use them the same way each time you run Solar Fire.
To see an example of this, click here. A new tab will open showing a page I designed for doing predictive work. It has a natal chart with chart data on the left, Solar Fire's superb Time Map transit graph on the upper right, and a graphic ephemeris page for the year on the lower right.
Now Neville Lang (the chief programmer of Solar Fire) has added Clone Charts. Clone charts add the ability to place on your computer screen as many additional charts (of any size) wherever you want onscreen. I decided to create two additional examples of screens you can use for your own work.
The first screen, which you can see by clicking here, is for Astromapping work. To explore the effect of moving to a new place for a client, you can place six different relocated charts onscreen as well as an Astro*Carto*Graphy map. Neat!
The second screen, which you can see by clicking here, is for Compatibility analysis. You can place two people's birth charts, and a Composite and Davidson chart, and a page showing an interaspect table, biwheel with both charts, two 30 degree dials, etc. In other words, everything you need for assessing how two people mesh can be placed on one screen.
(Side note: with the price of computer monitors dropping sharply, I highly recommend you purchase a 24" computer monitor. It will allow you to place more charts, graphs, and tables onscreen at the same time, and boost your productivity and capabilities.]
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Ernst Wilhelm has just released the newest upgrade to his Käla software, 2008.
To read about the enhancements and new features, click here.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
The End of an Era in Astrology Software.
As I have mentioned many times, the astrology software business is a very difficult one. The amount of work employed in developing each program is huge, the competition is stiff, there are relatively few sales compared with mainstream computer programs, and rampant software piracy impoverishes all of the companies. [Anyone who uses a program that they haven't purchased is robbing companies already struggling with their small market.]
As a result, the company responsible for providing accurate time-change atlases for most of the major programs, Astro Computing Services (ACS), went bankrupt recently. How astrology software creators will update their time-zone information from now on remains to be seen. This is a huge loss for all astrologers.
Additionally, another major program of priceless worth to astrologers is soon to be taken off the market because the company is going bankrupt.
I am very sorry to see these losses occur, and can only hope that more will not follow.
It highlights how absolutely vital it is for astrologers to support the companies that work so hard and diligently to provide them with the excellent tools they create.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
The latest free update to Solar Fire Gold now offers "clone charts".
When looking at a Time Map, Astro*Carto*Graphy map, bi-wheel, aspect grid, or graphic ephemeris screen, it would be very useful to be able to view one or more birth charts (or event charts) onscreen at the same time.
The latest update to Solar Fire Gold, version 7.07, does exactly that. It's new "clone chart" feature works by clicking on the name of a calculated chart to select it, and then pressing Cntl-O (holding down the Control key and pressing the letter O key) OR right-clicking on the name and selecting Clone.
What this does is to place a copy of the person's chartwheel onscreen.
You can resize the cloned chart to any size you want, and move it around (i.e. reposition it anywhere on the screen).
You can open as many cloned charts as you want (imagine, for example, having all of your family members charts displayed.)
You can also click on each cloned chart's Keep on Top checkbox to have the chart always visible onscreen.
You can also select which chart wheel form is used when displaying cloned charts, by going to Solar Fire Gold's main screen, and right-clicking on the Current Chart Preview and clicking on the bottom option Preview Wheel Style, and then selecting the wheel style you want.
This is an excellent new feature of Solar Fire Gold and worth getting, by downloading the free update.
P.s. if you are reading this on August 20th, 2008, I would suggest that you wait a couple of days before downloading the update. That's because the update also includes several new beautiful Chart Art pages that I created and donated to the company, but they forgot to include the graphics files, so the pages don't work correctly. This will be fixed shortly. Then look for my new designs, including Single Wheel with Art [art_suninblue.pag] and Single Wheel with Art [art_fullmoonday.pag]. I'm proud of how lovely they came out!
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
Brian Conrad, the creator of the excellent Jyotish Tools for the Pocket PC, for the Palm OS, and for Windows, has just released a free Vedic chart calculation program that runs on Macs, PCs, and even Linux. (There is even a version for Pocket Pcs running Windows Mobile Classic and Pocket PC 2002-2003)
The program, called Quick Jyotish, can be downloaded to your computer by clicking here.
The author says, "Only the Lahiri ayanamsha is used. Charts are saved in Quick Chart format, which may be imported into Jyotish Tools for Windows and the Pocket PC. The planetary engine is based on VSOP 87 and is highly accurate between 1600-2300 AD." Since most Western and Vedic desktop programs can import charts created in the QuickCharts format, any chart calculated in Quick Jyotish can be easily transferred to other programs.
The program does not appear to have a built-in atlas, as so it will primarily be useful for a quick Prasna chart. Novices might have a little trouble getting it set up to run (at least under Windows) but it will be a useful tool for generating a chart very quickly.
Monday, August 04, 2008
What is a firewall and why do you need one?
I am allowing myself, in this column, to address a wider breadth of computing issues and not just astrology software. That's because astrologers in general are not techies, and you may benefit by reading about issues beyond astrology software.
I am very well-versed in computer hardware and computer software (on the PC side, not the Mac side). In fact, I have built my own computers, and keep close track of the latest advances in both hardware and software.
A firewall is a program that protects your computer from being "hacked" which means invaded from the outside by hackers.
A good firewall will also protect you from programs that try to send confidential information from your computer to others (via the internet). However, one also needs a strong anti-spyware program for this purpose (I recommend Spyware Doctor most highly as an anti-spyware program).
Please note that if you are a novice, you should have someone more familiar with computers help you install this software. The process is to uninstall your present firewall, quickly install Online Armor, and when windows pop up for you to approve of the programs you use regularly, give Online Armor your approval.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
I have emphasized in the past that astrologers using astrology software need to back up their data regularly. After all, you don't want to lose all of the charts you've entered into your software.
Since we live in a "wild west" era of spyware, viruses, trojans, and hackers, it is also very valuable to have a complete copy of your hard drive (also called a clone). I back up my hard drive twice a month, and own two backup hard drives for this purpose.
If you own a Seagate hard drive, you can get an excellent free backup program (normally costing $50) by clicking here.
Otherwise, I highly recommend getting the commercial version of the software, called Acronis True Image Home, which you can learn about and order by clicking here.
In addition, you will need an external hard drive of the right size (i.e. so it can fit all of your data on it.). There are now excellent portable external hard drives available that plug in to your USB port. A good example is the Western Digital Passport line of external hard drives.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Today, I am launching my ongoing weblog (aka blog) about the latest advances and insights about astrology software. The Weblog format will enable me to add information more frequently, as changes occur. May this weblog serve you.
#1: Under $200 programs.
My article on Little Giants: Astrology software under $200 just came out in The Mountain Astrologer. I hope that you enjoy it.
I discovered, in writing the article, that programs priced at less than $200 often lack crucial basic features that most astrologers want to have in their software.
For example, one of the programs could not draw a chart wheel with aspect lines while showing the degree and minute positions of the planets in the chart wheel!
More than one program in the under $200 price range lacked the ability to create predictive hit lists showing the entering dates, exact dates, and leaving dates of transit- and progressed-to-natal aspects.
To put it simply, while the less expensive programs often have many features, and will meet the needs of amateur and beginning astrologers, most programs will not the needs of the professional astrologer.
There really are two tiers of astrology software. Most of the programs that cost less than $200 offer a small fraction of the astrological features available in the programs in the $300 price range. That's because the competition between companies producing software at the $300 price range is truly fierce, and as a result, the number of features in the higher-priced programs is truly astronomical! (Joke intended).
One of the reasons why I offer free guidance to those who are planning to purchase astrology software is because it is hard to assess which program is right just by reading companies' information from their websites (see the next article below).
Nevertheless, for those on a limited budget or just starting out, the less expensive programs provide excellent tools for beginning on one's astrological journey.
#2: My Software is the Best!
Astrologers who take it upon themselves to become the creators of astrology software have a truly thankless task.
That's because creating astrology software is a huge effort, plus the market is so small, many astrologers pirate software instead of buying it, customer support places great demands upon their time, pricing has to be kept low because many astrologers don't make a living at astrology, the market is very competitive, and people always want more features to be added to the programs.
So it's no wonder that astrology software creators want to be praised for their work, and sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that "their software is the best" without actually investigating the other programs that are available. I have run into this attitude more times than I can count. So be careful about taking a company's claims at face value without exploring the field yourself.
I have worked with most astrology programs more extensively than the majority of astrologers, and am always amazed at how diverse the range of features are. But I also realize that how easy it is to use a feature is often more important than anything else. If a program has a great feature that is too laborious to use, no one will use it. The best programs, then, will combine a wide range of capabilities with a design that makes them easy to use.