TMA SoftStar News July 2011

by Hank Friedman

A Review of Solar Fire Gold 8

The new version 8 of Solar Fire Gold was released in June 2011. Like its predecessors, version 8 is incredibly well-designed and easy to use, and runs under all recent versions of Windows (including all versions of Windows 7).

For those unfamiliar with Solar Fire, it was the first astrology program designed specifically to work with the Windows graphical user interface. This makes it amazingly easy to learn and to use. (You can read more about astrology programs and the graphical user interface on the TMA link page*.) The program is also incredibly powerful, with the best predictive graph, top-quality chart animations, a simple-to-use page designer, phenomenal chart file and time search functions, and a great many other fine features.

The biggest enhancement in this version is the inclusion of the complete Solar Maps version 3 program, which works perfectly from within Solar Fire. Previous versions of Solar Fire had a "Lite" version of Solar Maps, with a minimal set of features. So it's a great boon (and great savings) to have the entire program built-in, because it is a top-notch astromapping program. It has an excellent user interface (e.g. with the best zooming function of any astromapping program), a wide array of astromapping capabilities including Cyclo*Carto*Graphy and map lines for Fixed Stars & Paran, the ability to easily customize it (e.g. add cities to maps, change the colors of lines, etc.), and top-notch interpretations of Astro*Carto*Graphy lines, Local Space lines, and Parans. To read more about Solar Maps, please go to the TMA link page*.

The program's built-in ACS atlas has been updated with the latest time zone and daylight time changes, and users can now edit and update the time zone information themselves, if changes occur between versions of the program. During installation, the program looks to see if you have an older version on your PC, and if so, your chart files and many of your settings are automatically imported into the new version.

A major new feature in the program is their Appointments Manager. With this module you can create a schedule of all of your appointments, create receipts, email reminders to clients, time sessions, record the readings, create a database of clients -- including their contact information and charts and notes -- and even set the pricing structure and calculate the price of each session.

In previous versions, to view extra points in a chart wheel, you had to create an "extra points wheel" which displayed these points in an outer ring around the natal chart. With version 8, you can now place up to 50 extra points in chart wheels. You can create any number of sets of extra points, and choose from a wide variety of points including Fixed Stars, Arabic Parts, midpoints, planetary nodes, additional angles, Eclipses and Lunar Phases prior to the birth, and many other bodies.

For those interested in compatibility assessment, the Kuta method used in Vedic astrology is new to the program, in the Ashtkoot module. This compares the Sidereal Moons in two people's charts, employing a number of criteria, to generate a compatibility score.

Solar Fire has always had an unparalleled Animate Chart feature, and now it's enhanced by a new location button (to immediately change the location for the animation), the addition of week time increments, and the placement of an animate button on the View Chart screen.

There are new glyphs for 65 asteroids, and a new alternative glyph for Neptune.

For Classical astrological work, the program now offers chart wheels with extra rings showing Face rulers, Term rulers, Egyptian Rulers, and for the Vedic astrologers in the audience, Nakshatra rulers (just be sure to change the Zodiac to Sidereal first!).

The artists in all of us will enjoy the new Chart Art added to this version including twelve Renaissance depictions of the signs, twelve Composite Chart Art pages, and more.

Astrology teachers will find it a bit easier with their students, because they will be able to create a single file with all of their settings to provide for their students, so that everyone's version of Solar Fire uses the same aspects, orbs, etc.

Especially for those who never purchased Solar Maps, Solar Fire Gold version 8 is a very worthy update. The Appointments Manager will appeal to professional astrologers, and all of the many new touches continue to make Solar Fire an incredibly powerful and well-polished astrology program.

For more information on Solar Fire Gold version 8, feel free to go to where I will be posting more information as well as video tutorials on the program.

*All of the links mentioned in this article are posted on the TMA link page: /tma.htm

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