|★ APPLICATIONS ★ DIVERS ★ FORECASTER ★|
Astrocalc is probably the best known name in astrology and other predictive sciences for the PCW. The company produce a full range of programs for the astrologer, starting at a simple package that merely works out the position and aspects for a natal chart, up to quite complicated interpretative programs that allow you to print out pages of interpretation of a natat chart*
For example they produce Starword - a £300 program that covers the same sort of ground as PCA producing natal charts and printing out seven pages of personality detail.
The supposedly clever twist for Starword is that it can weigh up the relative strength of each influence and discount the less important details.
However it is when you get into Forecaster that you really meet the layman's idea of astrological forecasts. Forecaster works out a natal chart again using a gazetteer, -although it doesn't print out the details. This is probably because Forecaster is often sold with Starword which does this in detail.
Instead Forecaster rushes on to find out how that chart will be affected by the changing pattern of the sky over a period of time set by the user. Then ift say, Mars is squared to the natal Venus for a certain number of days in October the program prints out the suitable warning about your love life.
Compared to the documentation for PCA the Forecaster manual seems surprisingly thin. This does not mean that it doesn't have its own sophistication, although it does mean that it is pretty easy to get to grips with.
Something for everyone
In fact it is a program that could work equally well for the inexperienced and experienced user. You could just use it with the text files provided to give a simple forecast or you coufd completely rewrite the file for your own interpretations.
A useful compromise would be to use the ASCII file writing feature where the whole prediction is written to a text file on disc. Load this into your word processor and you could modify, change or tidy it up to your hearts content. You can have all the planetary details included to allow to to decide whether you agree or disagree with the programs interpretation.
This would seem to be a particularly useful idea as some of the text provided would not suit everyone - especially the quite frequent suggestions that you should take part in sport.
The program is mainly aimed at the professional with neat little details like a simple program to print out an impressive looking order form. As it is expected that the user will be producing a number of forecasts at the same time the program allows you to choose either a previously set configuration or to modify the details each time. This covers details like how many months to cover, whether to print the foreword and/or the astrological indicators, whether to look at the aspects of the inner or outer planets or both, whether to print to disc, and (if on paper) whether NLQ or draft quality.
Then it runs through the batch producing the printed text or file as you require in turn.
The real advantage of this program is that it gives you a real feel of how long a planet s influence may affect your life. Throughout the forecasts you will see something like “+-23 days approx” which shows how long a particular influence will last.
Where it perhaps falls short is that it doesn't take into account what sign of the zodiac the planets are in, which could affect the interpretation. Many however will think the forecast is complicated enough as it stands.