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News on the astrological front

Wed 29 Sep 2010 by mskala Tags used: , , ,

When I switched to the new computer I found that a lot of my trickier LaTeX code - including, for instance, the files I use to produce my Japanese-language flash cards - no longer worked with the TeX/LaTeX installation that came with the new Slackware, and I was faced with a choice of going forward (converting all my code to work with some new installation, whether that or another), or going back (and restoring the entire TeX/LaTeX installation from the old machine). I decided to go forward. As a result I've spent a fair bit of time in the last few days tweaking different pieces of software. The astrological chart service is probably still down, though I'm getting closer to having it work again; I couldn't get CJK and its associated packages to work at all in the amount of time I was willing to spend, so I ended up taking "grendelkhan"'s suggestion and switching to XeTeX for my Asian-language typesetting. I ended up also switching the book manuscript to XeTeX for other reasons, and that was an adventure because of compatibility between XeTeX, the sffms class, and the commercial font I wanted to use.

The news, however, is this: I just got mail from Anthony Owen, the designer of the Starfont astrological fonts, and he confirms that he has released them to the public domain. Yay! There had formerly been some uncertainty and people were hesitant to use or distribute the fonts for that reason. So it's now on my list to put together a new version of the LaTeX package I wrote - but of course I also want to go in and add all the updates and fixes that have come up in the years since I last updated it, so there'll be some nontrivial work involved beyond just changing the licensing notes.


Whew! I hope it gets back into operation soon. Chief Billy Diamond has died and I wanted to post his birth map on a forum. Diamond was born in a hunting camp on the shore of James Bay just south of Rupert House (now Waskaganish), 17 May 1949 EDT 1:10. I make it around 51n25 78w51.

So I went to Astrodienst (aka astro.com) as second-best option, gritting my teeth. My anxiety was justified. First, you can't put in geographic coordinates. You've got to take coordinates from their atlas, which of course doesn't have Cree hunting camps. (And it isn't just about hunting camps: I like to do my maps for specific neighbourhoods and hospitals.) Then there's the time zone obsession. I like to enter Universal Time, but if you do that and your chart is not for the UK a message pops up saying, in effect: You are an idiot and if you select a time zone other than what we give you it will most likely be wrong.

At that point I began writing them a nasty letter but after the third paragraph I decided it wasn't worth the effort. F*** it, let them simmer in their own stupidity. However, I don't have my chart of Billy Diamond. My own software doesn't do charts - half of it is a legacy item for which I maintain a CP/M partition that does typewriter-style charts; the other half is my own with no graphics at all. For clients I still draw maps by hand.

What I mean by all this spleen is to say I'm grateful, Matt, for your providing a service for non-cretins. Axel - 2010-09-30 21:01
Uh... Senior moment here. I meant DOS, not CP/M. Axel - 2010-09-30 21:03

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