How to Run Simply Scheme on Windows

Goal: To be able to run Scheme on Windows, particularly the flavor “Simply Scheme”.

There is a great computer science book called Simply Scheme by Brian Harvey and Matthew Wright. Professor Brian Harvey also taught a great class CS61A at the University of California, Berkeley. Our goal is to be able to run Simply Scheme so that we can follow along the book and its exercises.

Illustrated by Polly Jordan, from page 4 of the book Simply Scheme

Simply Scheme uses custom Scheme commands to teach some important programming concepts. These commands are not available on regular Scheme but their value cannot be undermined in helping to learn more easily concepts taught in the book like recursion, higher order functions, composition, abstraction and more.

The best and easiest way to run scheme on Windows is via DrRacket from the Racket language site. Racket download provides a nice integrated learning environment DrRacket and it can be extended to run Simply Scheme via a package “Danny Yoo’s Simply Scheme”.

1. Download and install DrRacket from here https://download.racket-lang.org/

2. Start Racket, then click on File -> Package Manager

3. Click the tab “Available from Catalog”, then type “simply” in the filter. You should see “simply-scheme” listed. Select “simply-scheme” and click the Install button.

4. After installation, close the dialog box and restart the DrRacket

5. Choose Language -> New Language from the menu bar. Then select Simply Scheme as shown below.

6. You should be able to run Simply Scheme programs now. Here is an example program that implements “Pig Latin”.

7. Bonus: If you like Emacs Key bindings then enable it in Edit -> Preferences -> Editing. Make sure the option is “unchecked” for Enable keybindings in menus.

Enjoy Simply Scheme!

I remind myself: It can be easy to learn new languages and syntax. Then tedious to keep up to date with endless frameworks. But great programming concepts are timeless, so it’s a good idea to learn them well.

Turn Off Windows Sound Notification Banner

Operating System: Windows 10

In an earlier article I posted how to How to Disable Windows Volume Popup, but that required a small 300 KB program to be installed.

In my opinion the real-offensive element is actually the browser notification banner that gets attached to the media control popup. This is what I mean:

Both Chrome and Firefox notification banner attaches to this volume popup. Disable it like this:

Chrome

  1. In Chrome address bar, type chrome://flags/
  2. Then find the setting Hardware Media Key Handling and set it to Disabled.

Firefox

  1. In Firefox address bar, type about:config
  2. Then set media.hardwaremediakeys.enabled to false

Enjoy just the volume control bar without the ugly offensive banner!

Dark Mode for Sumatra PDF

Windows: version 10
Sumatra PDF: version 3.2 64-bit

A dark mode for Sumatra PDF is really easy – you just need to tinker with 3 lines of code in the settings.

Why Use Sumatra PDF?

In my opinion, it’s the best PDF reader. It’s small in size, super-fast and doesn’t have any annoying cruft.

Why a Dark Mode (Night Mode)?

If you code for long periods of time, then it’s really great to have your code editor run in dark mode. This greatly reduces the strain on the eyes.

But let’s say you are also following along an e-book, maybe a PDF and you switch to Sumatra PDF. The default setting is black text on white background. Immediately your eyes are shocked with bright luminescent white light. It’s as if you were relaxing in a room with the lights switched off and suddenly someone walked in and abruptly turned the lights on.

As you are coding along you have to switch back and forth multiple times between your PDF reader and code editor. It can be really jarring for the eyes and nerves.

How to Enable Dark Mode?

In Sumatra PDF, click on the Menu -> Settings -> Advanced Options

This should open the SumatraPDF-settings.txt file in your text editor. Change the following 3 lines under the heading FixedPageUI:

TextColor = #eeeeee
BackgroundColor = #111111
GradientColors = #000000

TextColor changes the text color of the PDF document. Background color changes, well the background color of the PDF document. GradientColors will change the background window of Sumatra PDF.

How to Disable Windows Volume Popup

You are working on code or writing something important, you are in the flow, you reduce or increase the volume a bit for the perfect sound-level and pops-up this ugly big annoying Windows 10 volume control disrupting not only your thought process but captures the screen real-estate for 5 seconds before it fades away.

This is down-right evil and will no longer be tolerated 🙂
Well thanks to Marcus Venturi there is a way to disable this.

Download and install the small (about 300 KB) software “HideVolumeOSD” from his site at: http://wordpress.venturi.de/?p=1

It lives happily in the tray or you can hide it completely and it will disable the volume popup.