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Astrology Software

October 17, 2008

On this page I used to have banners to astrology software sites. My preference was - still is - to send you to retail stores, rather than directly to the manufacturers. What you want to find is a guy who has stacked up a dozen different programs on one machine & knows one from another. Unfortunately, manufacturers don't like this sort of thing. Astrology software manufacturers have never accepted the fact that they must sell to retailers at discount so that retailers can sell to end users. Manufacturers see retail stores as competition. They see retail stores as a nuisance.

This was in part as astrology software manufacturers - and they know who they are - never made any effort to get their software in actual stores. They instead signed up individual dealers in a way that reminded me of the marketing savvy of, say, Mary Kay - or Amway. Guys who, however well-intentioned, had no idea what they were doing & so, consequently, never moved any real amount of product.

This frustrated the manufacturers, who then made an effort to increase their business by offering the store discount (typically 40% or so) directly to retail customers.

In other words, the manufacturers undercut the retail stores on which they were supposedly dependent. Which drove the real stores (few in number) straight out of business. There used to be a Steve in Culver City, CA. He was one of the first software dealers, back in the early 1980's. He went bust around 2000, after years of struggling. I got the story directly from him.

I got the same story a year ago from some of the late Lois Rodden's associates, up in New England, when their store went bust.

Hank Friedman is about the only one left. He got his start, in astro-software, at any rate, reviewing programs for astrology magazines. He says he's been reviewing software for 30 years, which, like Steve in Culver City, takes him right back to Year One. I wish he had a flashier website, and I wish he would move his Angelic channeling elsewhere, but aside from that, he's sharp. Buy from him, or take his suggestions & go directly to the manufacturer.

Here is how he describes himself:

I started working with astrology software in 1978, and worked rigorously with first Matrix, and then Astrolabe and other companies, to help them find and fix software bugs, and add and polish their software features. By 1984, I was well known for my expertise in astrology software, and was approached by the publisher Sybex, and wrote my book, Astrology on Your Personal Computer. After that, I was then asked by Bob Cooper to write reviews in the AFA Bulletin, then by Ken Irving to review software in American Astrologer, and finally by Tem Tarriktar to write for The Mountain Astrologer. My website has dozens of published software reviews as well as articles like The Optimal Use of Astrology Software, Astrological Techniques and Uncertain Birth times, and over 100 free tutorials in Western and Vedic astrology.
March 4, 2010. I got this note from David Cochrane, of Cosmic Patterns / Kepler:
Hi Dave,

I hope all is well. All is well here.

This is not very important but just thought I would mention it. There are a few things you mention at that are not true for our software. We do sell to physical retail stores and do not see them as competition and we did not seek a large network of distributors like Amway or Mary Kay, but people did plead with us to be distributors. We did accept a maximum of one distributor in a state or country if that person knows the software and has some outreach to customers, as well as retail stores, and also some of our authors as another way to support the work they are doing for us. We rarely accept new distributors now other than physical retail stores. If you would like to pursue this topic in more detail, I'd be happy to have a 3-way call with you and Steve Hines, but it's not that important to me so don't feel pressured about this; I just wanted to share this with you. Steve and Joanne provided an excellent service and it is unfortunate for astrology that they are no longer in the business.

David Cochrane

For his part, David Cochrane goes right back to Year One himself. At one point he briefly worked for Matrix, before branching out with his own company, in Florida, back in the mid 1980s. Cochrane is unique in that he has sought out notable authors to write his interpretation modules. I believe he was the first to publicly "star" his writers in this fashion. Interpretation programs available from Cochrane's company go far beyond simple horoscope delineations. One of the most notable was when Cochrane coupled his software engine with Eileen Nauman's medical astrology book to produce the Med-Scan program. Myself, I'd like to see a program that would delineate decumbitures, especially in reference to the underlying natal. Diagnosis is nine-tenths of medicine, and without astrology there's just no way to do it reliably, as American medicine proves every day with its endless tests.

And those are my notes on software.


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