SDF is a useful resource for blind or visually impaired people. It allows you to interact with a computer using a command-line interface, which is more comfortable for those of us who, for any reason, find GUIs don't meet their needs.

  • SDF can be connected to in various ways including ssh, telnet and dialup.
  • Several web browsers exist on the system; lynx, in particular, can be customized for more speech friendly use.

Screen Readers

If your screen reader can work with your telnet or ssh client, all is well. If you are using jaws for windows, you may need to set your screen echo to “all” by pressing insert-s until “all” is spoken. To bring it back to defaults, hit “insert s” again until it says “highlighted”. Some ssh clients known to work are (windows) UTF-8 Tera term pro, SecureCRT, and the cygwin ssh client. In my experience, Putty hasn't worked. Some people have gotten it to work, but I have no experience with it.

UTF-8 Tera Term pro is an improvement over the old Tera Term. It now supports ssh2 and UTF-8 (I think only for japanese). It can be obtained from here. Setup instructions are below.

SDF provides good opportunities to chat, using IRC, and several instant messaging protocols.

If this is unclear, contact me as tspivey on sdf, or on skype at the same name.

Below are some configuration tips for several programs.

configuring Irssi

Irssi is a text client for IRC. It's available to meta-arpa members only. Here are the commands to type once irssi is loaded. Note that these are only suggested defaults; do with them what you will.

/set timestamps off
/set use_status_window off
/set autocreate_own_query off
/set autocreate_windows off
/sbar window disable

These settings will do the following:

  1. Disable timestamps. Timestamps are the [10:48] you get at the beginning of each line.
  2. disable the status window. all text will come in in the same window.
  3. the next two tell irssi not to create queries, or create its own windows without you asking it to.
  4. The last one tells irssi to disable the window status bar, because it is rather chatty and reads at odd times.

Configuring UTF-8 Tera Term for best JAWS accessibility

Once the program is installed, which can be accomplished by running the installer, the following steps should be taken.

  1. Run the program, and press escape at the new connection dialog.
  2. Go to the setup menu with alt-s, press enter on Window. The Window Setup dialog will open.
  3. Press alt-v to set the cursor shape to vertical line, or tab to the radio button and use the arrows.
  4. Press alt-s to uncheck the scroll buffer.
  5. Press enter to exit the dialog.
  6. Go to the setup menu press f for font. Press tab, type 10, press enter. On some machines this may need to be done upon each connection.
  7. Go to the setup menu and press g for general.
  8. Press alt-l for language, go up to English and press enter.
  9. Press alt-s, s for save setup. When the dialog appears, press enter.

The setup of Tera Term is now complete. To make a new connection, press alt-n and type in the host name, and select the protocol by pressing tab.

$Id: sdf-blind.html,v 1.7 2007/01/04 04:35:55 tspivey Exp jboy $