TMA SoftStar News: November 2011

by Hank Friedman

Astrology on the Go

As our society becomes more mobile, astrologers are experiencing the need to be able to access astrology charts and other functions on the road. With the rise of smart phones, tablet computers, and ultraportable netbooks and laptops, more and more apps are becoming available to meet the growing need.

Apps for the iPhone and iPad

[Note: all apps for the iPhone and iPad are available online through the iTunes store.]

In June of this year, I reviewed the two amazingly powerful astrology apps: Astrologo and Astro Gold in my article: "Two new astrology programs for the iPhone and iPad", which you should definitely look at.

Astro Gold will be of particular interest to TMA readers because it imports chart files from Solar Fire Gold, and it has the complete ACS atlas built-in.

TimePassages Pro

Astrograph software has just released TimePassages Pro for the iPhone (and the iPad) for $29.99. (There are also less expensive versions and a free one.) TimePassages Pro has the Swiss Ephemeris and ACS atlas built-in, for excellent accuracy and automatic look-up of the coordinates and time zones for over 250,000 cities throughout the world.

TimePassages Pro can calculate and display natal charts and Composite charts, as well as biwheels with transit, Secondary Progressed, Solar Arc, Solar Return, or a second person's chart around the natal chart, complete with interaspect lines, predictive hit lists and interaspect lists, and different sets of interpretations for each of these.

It also features a Daily Horoscope feature that interprets the short term and long term transits taking place on any date. Perhaps the most unusual feature is its Compatibility Meter, which shows horizontal scales depicting how much compatibility two people have in the categories of long term, career support, home and family, communication, money, and romantic attraction.

You can select from 8 house systems, add minor aspects, set the current location, and show additional points in each chart (Chiron, TNOs, major asteroids, etc.).

TimePassages Pro is a very impressive app which will appeal to the general public and professional astrologers alike.

Celeste

Astrolabe is offering a free version of Celeste for the iPhone (and iPad). It calculates current charts and birth charts, offers a lovely and easy to read chart wheel, interpretations for the natal planets by sign, the transits applying to the natal chart, and the transits applying in the sky.. The ACS atlas is built-in, too. (Note: an Android version is coming soon.)

Apps for Android

The Android smart phone platform has a slew of pop Daily Horoscope programs, but fortunately also a couple of solid apps for the professional astrologer.

Jyotish Tools for Windows

Brian Conrad, the author of the Vedic program Jyotish Tools for Windows, has released for the Android platform both Jyotish Tools for Android ($9.95) and a Western astrology program called Tropical Skies Astrology ($4.95). Both tools allow you to save and load charts, and attach notes to charts. They each have small atlas built in (without time changes) so for most birth places you will need to enter or retrieve coordinates (they work with Google Maps), and to set the correct time zone for each chart manually. They can also use the GPS built into Android phones to set the precise location for transit charts.

Jyotish Tools for Android has an amazing array of Vedic calculations including North, South, and East India style charts, divisional charts, Vimshottari dasa to three levels, Shri Pati charts, Prashna charts, Ashtakavarga, Systems Approach analysis, an aspect table, several ayananshas (including user-defined), and Iyer options. What an excellent tool for Jyotishis!

Tropical Skies Astrology

Tropical Skies Astrology generates birth charts from a choice of Placidus, Koch, Porphyry, Regiomontanus and Equal house systems, and displays major and minor aspect lines.

These are both wonderful apps for astrologers owning Android phones.

Sky Map

One more amazing free app for Android phones is Google's Sky Map. After installing Sky Map, you can point to any area of the sky and the app will show you the stars in that area on your phone, complete with their names and constellation lines. And you can type in a star or planet, and you will be directed to where it currently is in the sky. Pretty cool!

New Hardware for Mobile Astrologers

Apple Computer pioneered mobile computing with its iPhone, iTouch, iPad, and MacBook Air. What makes the latter so perfect for professional astrologers is that the MacBook Air is a fully powered computer (as fast as any desktop or laptop), but it has no moving parts – making it quite indestructible, and it is incredibly thin (less than 3/4" thick) and weighs less than 3 pounds. It can run both major Mac astrology programs: the IO software from TimeCycles Research and TimePassages from Astrograph, with ease.

On the PC front, I am often asked about netbooks. These are small, lightweight, and inexpensive mini-laptops that were designed for accessing the internet and for word processing. If you are going to purchase a netbook, make sure it has at least a 10" screen with a resolution of 800x600 or better. You can install some astrology programs on the netbook via download (e.g. Solar Fire Gold, Regulus Platinum, TimePassages), but to install others, you will need to copy the files on the installation CD to a flash drive, or purchase an external CD drive (since netbooks do not have a CD drive built in).

The latest trend in PC computing are the new Ultrabooks, which are based on the MacBook Air design: very thin and light, with great power. They are much faster than netbooks and can store many more programs. It's better to get one that has a large solid state drive (SSD) as opposed to a hard drive for two reasons: much greater shock resistance and much less power consumption. You can easily run all of the programs from your desktop PC on an Ultrabook.

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


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