TMA SoftStar News: September 2012
by Hank Friedman
Note: this article points to a large number of links to online resources. Instead of citing the links repeatedly throughout the article, I invite you to visit my web page containing all of the links referenced here, by going to /tma.htm
New Blue*Star and Web Services from Matrix
Matrix has revived the Blue*Star name for their new software, designed for PCs running Windows, as well as have introduced new Web and Web Mobile services for astrology. Both the program and the online services offer basic calculation features and a large set of interpretive reports.
The Web Mobile Services
Matrix's Web Mobile Service offers a selection of astrological functions that you can access using your tablet or smart phone, including natal chart calculation and a whole set of mini-reports interpreting birth charts, transits, compatibility, Life Chakras, Life Path, Life Strategy, the current Moon, and three styles of Oracles, (i.e. to answer questions), plus a longer Astro*Talk natal report.
The Matrix Web Services
You can create over 20 styles of chart wheels, including Ascendant wheels, European wheels, Aries wheels, and Local Space wheels for $.99 per chart. You can also choose from 21 different interpretive reports @ $4.95 per report, and a lovely 12 month personal astrological calendar for $9.95.
I am particularly impressed with the variety of Local Space pages. There is one called Planet Cities which offers a colorful table under the chart wheel showing which major cities are in the direction of each planet, and another called Local Space Cities that shows each of the major cities around the Local Space wheel. Well done!
The New Blue*Star Program
Blue*Star comes in two versions: Personal ($99) and Professional ($499.95). They offer identical features, but owners of the Professional version can print out and sell the interpretive reports (or email them as PDF files), while Personal owners can only view them onscreen.
Geared towards the general public (i.e. who don't need to customize its features), most of Blue*Star's functions cannot be modified. Those who want to adapt their software to their own specs will be better off with Win*Star (or another program). Users can specify the current place, house system, Zodiac, colors, aspects & orbs, and logo.
Among the calculations offered are birth charts, Local Space charts, 90 degree dials, aspects list (with popup interpretations), an interaspect table, an Astro-Clock, Arabic Parts listing, Midpoints listing, Planetary Hours, and 81 year Progressed Scan. There is also an aspect list that can be sorted by aspect, orb, planet, etc. for one chart or between two charts.
Like Win*Star, there are about 200 choices of single, bi-, tri-, and quad-wheels, including 7 nice designer chart wheels. Also several unique Matrix features like On The Angles, which provides a listing and a graph of planets crossing each of the angles, and Around The Wheel, which shows, for a planet, asteroid, or Uranian point, when it will conjunct each planet & house cusp, by transit, progression, or direction.
Additional innovations include the Phase Chart, which creates charts based upon the phase angles between planets, and Star-Type Patterns, an interpretation method based upon the synthesis of Geocentric and Heliocentric approaches. The Time Scan is a color-coded graphic of predictive events.
The interpretive reports in Blue*Star are quite different than those offered elsewhere, because most of the natal ones are use the Star Type approach, and the forecast reports focus on Sun and Moon transits to natal planets. The reports are visually appealing, and cover a wide range of topics (as mentioned above in the Web Mobile section). Examine the sample reports to see what they're like.
Matrix's new offerings will be welcomed by many who are just getting interested in astrology, and by those who want to explore the unique and innovative approaches developed by Michael Erlewine. The professional version of Blue*Star will also appeal to those starting a report-selling business.
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