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Orrery Software

Hobby Products of Garvin H Boyle


Welcome to my software site. My name is Garvin Harley Boyle, and I am the principal designer and programmer of Orrery, ModEco, PSoup, EiLab, and other educational applications. Orrery Software is the (unofficial) brand name of my hobby products, of which ModEco, EiLab, MppLab, TpLab and EffLab are the most recent.

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[email protected]

In 1966 my brother went off to study at Queen's University, Kingston, Canada, and I had opportunity, in a high-school field trip that same year, to visit him, and the computer centre located there. I believe it was an IBM 709, or 7090, (something like that) and it was a single tasking machine using vacuum tubes. I was enthralled by that massive organism with its banks of blinking lights, punched card hoppers, and blazingly fast printers. I purchased a copy of "Fortan IV, with WATFOR", and learned how to write a computer program. I wrote code at home, mailed it to my brother at Queen's who typed it onto punched cards, fed it through the hopper, collected the printout with its hundreds of error messages, and mailed me the printout. Turn-around for me in this system was about once per quarter. Fortran IV was very intolerant of errors. A single missing comma in 40 lines of code could generate many error messages. I recall the high-water mark was 173 error messages for a single missing comma. Thankfully, that mark was not achieved by me. My first program was simulation of a billiards table in which I struggled to understand elastic and inelastic collisions. It never actually compiled successfully until I got to Queen's myself, in the fall of 1968, when I could improve the turn-around per run to once per day. I spent many many nights in the computer centre, between 11 pm and 2 am, with other addicted "hackers" of the day. In those days, a hacker was a respected hobbyist. The meaning of the word has been turned on end now.

So started a life-long hobby, in which I explore the nature of the world by simulating and demonstrating various aspects of dynamic systems by writing computer code. I have had a varied career as a high-school teacher, Federal Government bureaucrat, high-tech consultant, and again, in a return-engagement, as a high-school teacher. Throughout the various experiences, my hobby interests and my professional activities have complemented each other.

In this website, i present some of the more recent products of that life-long hobby, and invite you to provide feedback.  

Fitness For Use

Writing programs like EiLab, ModEco, Orrery, Mars, and PSoup is my hobby. They are written for my personal amusement, and as a tool for me to use as I tutor gifted high-school students who choose to work with me. I would, of course, be delighted to share the object of my current obsession with anyone else who shows even the slightest interest. [My wife is endlessly patient with my hobby, but has lost interest. :-) So I look for others with whom I may discuss it.] However I can make no guarantees about the bug-free status, virus-free status, or other types of fitness for use. It is the responsibility of each user to verify the fitness for use of the software downloaded from this website for their purposes. That is not meant to imply that I am not careful. All of my computers are protected by up-to-date malware detection and removal tools, and fire walls.

On the other hand, I am willing to provide any and all code for interested people to use or modify as they wish.


Last updated 18 June, 2016