Skip to Content

F6 Is Your Friend

June 20, 2021 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

From enterprise collaboration software to web browsers, the little-known F6 keyboard shortcut can do many things that make our lives as blind computer users much easier and more productive.

In Slack F6 moves between the major portions of the window, such as channel navigation and workspace selection. It is, in fact, virtually impossible to access critical functionality, such as channels and direct messages, without pressing F6. Please review the Use Slack with a Screen Reader article for additional documentation. J.J. Meddaugh’s fantastic AccessWorld article An Introduction to Slack, A Popular Chat App for Teams and Workplaces provides a great starting point for using Slack from a blind user’s perspective.

In the Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox web browsers, F6 jumps out of the address bar and moves focus directly into the currently loaded web page with the screen reader’s browse mode or virtual PC cursor active and ready for immediate action. It is not necessary to press tab several times to move through the browser’s toolbar.

In Microsoft Office apps, such as Excel, Outlook and Word, F6 moves focus between major elements of the window, such as the ribbon bar, list of messages, document area and the status bar.

Let’s discover together all the additional productivity boosts we can achieve through keyboard shortcuts like F6. What is your favorite keyboard shortcut? How does it increase your productivity?

Please tell us how you and your family are handling social distancing, feeding yourselves, vaccination and generally getting along, especially from a blind perspective, as we move out of the time of the Coronavirus. Please send an audio recording or a written message to darrell (at) blindaccessjournal (dot) com or tell us about it on our social media channels.

Blind Access Journal, and the Hilliker family, must frequently rely on sighted assistance in order to get important, inaccessible tasks done. In most cases, we have chosen Aira as our visual interpreter. If you are ready to become an Aira Explorer, and you feel it in your heart to pass along a small gift to the journal or our family, we ask that you use our referral link. Your first month of Aira service will be free of charge, we will receive a discount on our bill and we will thank you for supporting the important work we do here at Blind Access Journal.

If you use Twitter, let’s get connected! Please follow Allison (@AlliTalk) and Darrell (@darrell).

Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree

December 6, 2020 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

In this approximately 13-minute podcast, take a short break from all the pandemic news and listen to us decorate our Christmas tree. We hope all of you are enjoying happy holidays this year!

Please tell us how you and your family are handling social distancing, feeding yourselves and generally getting along, especially from a blind perspective, in the time of the Coronavirus. Please send an audio recording or a written message to darrell (at) blindaccessjournal (dot) com or tell us about it on our social media channels.

Blind Access Journal, and the Hilliker family, must frequently rely on sighted assistance in order to get important, inaccessible tasks done. In most cases, we have chosen Aira as our visual interpreter. If you are ready to become an Aira Explorer, and you feel it in your heart to pass along a small gift to the journal or our family, we ask that you use our referral link. Your first month of Aira service will be free of charge, we will receive a discount on our bill and we will thank you for supporting the important work we do here at Blind Access Journal.

We love hearing from our listeners! Please feel free to talk with us in the comments. What do you like? How could we make the show better? What topics would you like us to cover on future shows?

If you use Twitter, let’s get connected! Please follow Allison (@AlliTalk) and Darrell (@darrell).

Categories: podcast

Voting the Almost Accessible Braille Ballot

December 6, 2020 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

In this approximately 48-minute podcast, Allison Hilliker tries to avail herself of Maricopa County’s almost-but-not-quite-accessible Braille ballot.

We hope everyone had the opportunity to vote in this critical election and that accessibility barriers did not stand in your way.

Please tell us how you and your family are handling social distancing, feeding yourselves and generally getting along, especially from a blind perspective, in the time of the Coronavirus. Please send an audio recording or a written message to darrell (at) blindaccessjournal (dot) com or tell us about it on our social media channels.

Blind Access Journal, and the Hilliker family, must frequently rely on sighted assistance in order to get important, inaccessible tasks done. In most cases, we have chosen Aira as our visual interpreter. If you are ready to become an Aira Explorer, and you feel it in your heart to pass along a small gift to the journal or our family, we ask that you use our referral link. Your first month of Aira service will be free of charge, we will receive a discount on our bill and we will thank you for supporting the important work we do here at Blind Access Journal.

We love hearing from our listeners! Please feel free to talk with us in the comments. What do you like? How could we make the show better? What topics would you like us to cover on future shows?

If you use Twitter, let’s get connected! Please follow Allison (@AlliTalk) and Darrell (@darrell).

Categories: podcast, voting

Cleaning Up Our Act: Setting Up the iRobot Roomba E5 Vacuum

December 6, 2020 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

In this approximately 37-minute podcast, Allison and Darrell Hilliker learn all about their new iRobot Roomba E5 vacuum cleaner.

We would like to learn about your cleaning experiences. Do you use a robot vacuum? What techniques or technologies do you use to keep your house clean from a blindness perspective.

Please tell us how you and your family are handling social distancing, feeding yourselves and generally getting along, especially from a blind perspective, in the time of the Coronavirus. Please send an audio recording or a written message to darrell (at) blindaccessjournal (dot) com or tell us about it on our social media channels.

Blind Access Journal, and the Hilliker family, must frequently rely on sighted assistance in order to get important, inaccessible tasks done. In most cases, we have chosen Aira as our visual interpreter. If you are ready to become an Aira Explorer, and you feel it in your heart to pass along a small gift to the journal or our family, we ask that you use our referral link. Your first month of Aira service will be free of charge, we will receive a discount on our bill and we will thank you for supporting the important work we do here at Blind Access Journal.

We love hearing from our listeners! Please feel free to talk with us in the comments. What do you like? How could we make the show better? What topics would you like us to cover on future shows?

If you use Twitter, let’s get connected! Please follow Allison (@AlliTalk) and Darrell (@darrell).

Categories: podcast

Lighting the World with the Teckin SP20 Wifi Smart Plug

July 1, 2020 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

In this approximately 10-minute podcast, Darrell Hilliker demonstrates the use of the Teckin SP20 WiFi Smart Plug for managing the status of lights.

Download: Lighting the World with the Teckin Wifi Smart Plug

We hope the ability to turn lights on and off with our voices will draw attention, and toddler hands, away from cords and switches. This is, of course, our excuse for embracing the laziness that comes with smart home technology.

Please tell us how you and your family are handling social distancing, feeding yourselves and generally getting along, especially from a blind perspective, in the time of the Coronavirus. Please send an audio recording or a written message to darrell (at) blindaccessjournal (dot) com or tell us about it on our social media channels.

AccessiLife Consulting, Blind Access Journal, and the Hilliker family, must frequently rely on sighted assistance in order to get important, inaccessible tasks done. In most cases, we have chosen Aira as our visual interpreter. If you are ready to become an Aira Explorer, and you feel it in your heart to pass along a small gift to the journal or our family, we ask that you use our referral link. Your first month of Aira service will be free of charge, we will receive a discount on our bill and we will thank you for supporting the important work we do here at Blind Access Journal.

We love hearing from our listeners! Please feel free to talk with us in the comments. What do you like? How could we make the show better? What topics would you like us to cover on future shows?

If you use Twitter, let’s get connected! Please follow Allison (@AlliTalk) and Darrell (@darrell).

Categories: fun, podcast, technology

Finding Balance: Easter in the Time of the Coronavirus

April 12, 2020 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

In this approximately 24-minute podcast, Allison, Allyssa, Arabella and Darrell Hilliker celebrate Easter in the time of the Coronavirus while putting together the Alex Active Monkey Kids Toddler Balance Board.

Download: Finding Balance: Easter in the Time of the Coronavirus

Please tell us how you and your family are handling social distancing, feeding yourselves and generally getting along, especially from a blind perspective, in the time of the Coronavirus. Please send an audio recording or a written message to darrell (at) blindaccessjournal (dot) com or tell us about it on our social media channels.

AccessiLife Consulting, Blind Access Journal, and the Hilliker family, must frequently rely on sighted assistance in order to get important, inaccessible tasks done. In most cases, we have chosen Aira as our visual interpreter. If you are ready to become an Aira Explorer, and you feel it in your heart to pass along a small gift to the journal or our family, we ask that you use our referral link. Your first month of Aira service will be free of charge, we will receive a discount on our bill and we will thank you for supporting the important work we do here at Blind Access Journal.

We love hearing from our listeners! Please feel free to talk with us in the comments. What do you like? How could we make the show better? What topics would you like us to cover on future shows?

If you use Twitter, let’s get connected! Please follow Allison (@AlliTalk) and Darrell (@darrell).

Categories: podcast, Uncategorized

Connecting All the Things: Setting Up the Eero Whole Home WiFi System

September 17, 2019 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

In this one-hour podcast, Darrell Hilliker unboxes and demonstrates the setup of a new Eero Whole Home WiFi system from a blind person’s perspective.

Download: Eero Setup Demo

Although not perfectly accessible in all respects, the Eero WiFi system represents a painless way to easily deploy wireless Internet connectivity throughout your home. If you decide to try one after listening to this podcast, we hope you will purchase it from our Amazon link, where a small commission goes toward supporting our work.

eero Home WiFi System (1 eero Pro + 2 eero Beacons) – Advanced Tri-Band Mesh WiFi System to Replace Traditional Routers and WiFi Range Extenders – Coverage: 2 to 4 Bedroom Home

AccessiLife Consulting, Blind Access Journal, and the Hilliker family, must frequently rely on sighted assistance in order to get important, inaccessible tasks done. In most cases, we have chosen Aira as our visual interpreter. If you are ready to become an Aira Explorer, and you feel it in your heart to pass along a small gift to the journal or our family, we ask that you use our referral link. Your first month of Aira service will be free of charge, we will receive a discount on our bill and we will thank you for supporting the important work we do here at Blind Access Journal.

We love hearing from our listeners! Please feel free to talk with us in the comments. What do you like? How could we make the show better? What topics would you like us to cover on future shows?

If you use Twitter, let’s get connected! Please follow Allison (@AlliTalk) and Darrell (@darrell).

Categories: Aira, podcast, reviews, technology

Aira in the Real World: Paper Airplanes

June 13, 2019 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

In this approximately 32-minute eighth episode in the Aira in the Real World podcast series, Allison, Allyssa, Arabella and Darrell Hilliker work with Aira agent Connor to construct a paper airplane. While sighted people have enjoyed the privilege of learning from YouTube videos for many years now, we blind people have been largely locked out of this opportunity due to a lack of useful description. Thanks to Aira, we explore the creation of a paper airplane using instructions from an otherwise inaccessible YouTube video titled How To Fold A Paper Airplane That Flies Far.

In addition to the verbal descriptions heard in this podcast, Connor also supplied the following written instructions upon our request.

  1. Start with paper laying in landscape (hot dog style)
  2. Fold bottom to top and crease in the middle.
  3. Open paper back up.
  4. Fold top left corner down into the middle and crease.
  5. Repeat with bottom left corner.
  6. Uncrease from the center fold and crease it on the reverse side while keeping the corners creased.
  7. Fold only one flap so that the angle becomes more acute.
  8. Fold a 2nd time making it even more acute.
  9. Flip over and repeat steps 7 and 8 with the other flap.
  10. Throw it and enjoy!

We invite you to listen to our previous podcast, Exploring the World with Aira: A Candid Discussion with Suman Kanuganti, especially if you are learning about this new service for the first time.

If you are ready to become an Aira Explorer, we ask that you use our referral link. Your first month of Aira service will be free of charge, we will receive a discount on our bill and we will thank you for supporting the important work we do here at Blind Access Journal.

We love hearing from our listeners! Please feel free to talk with us in the comments. What do you like? How could we make the show better? What topics would you like us to cover on future shows?

If you use Twitter, let’s get connected! Please follow Allison (@AlliTalk) and Darrell (@darrell).

Aira in the Real World: The Little Red Sled

January 28, 2019 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

In this approximately 15-minute seventh episode in the Aira in the Real World podcast series, Allyssa and Darrell Hilliker work with Aira agent Jacob to read a print copy of The Little Red Sled. While we always prefer Braille books, some relatives give our children print books, and it is nice to be able to enjoy them together.

We invite you to listen to our previous podcast, Exploring the World with Aira: A Candid Discussion with Suman Kanuganti, especially if you are learning about this new service for the first time.

If you are ready to become an Aira Explorer, we ask that you use our referral link. Your first month of Aira service will be free of charge, we will receive a discount on our bill and we will thank you for supporting the important work we do here at Blind Access Journal.

We love hearing from our listeners! Please feel free to talk with us in the comments. What do you like? How could we make the show better? What topics would you like us to cover on future shows?

If you use Twitter, let’s get connected! Please follow Allison (@AlliTalk) and Darrell (@darrell).

Categories: Aira, podcast

The Twelve Inaccessibilities of Christmas

December 21, 2018 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

In this approximately 6-minute podcast, Allison and Darrell Hilliker sing their take on the twelve days of Christmas.

The Twelve Inaccessibilities of Christmas

  1. On the first day of Christmas, the developers gave to me: a mouse click only menu tree.
  2. On the second day of Christmas, the developers gave to me: two unlabeled buttons and a mouse click only menu tree.
  3. On the third day of Christmas, the developers gave to me: three image CAPTCHAs, two unlabeled buttons and a mouse click only menu tree.
  4. On the fourth day of Christmas, the developers gave to me: four carousels, three image CAPTCHAs, two unlabeled buttons and a mouse click only menu tree.
  5. On the fifth day of Christmas, the developers gave to me: five undescribed graphics, four carousels, three image CAPTCHAs, two unlabeled buttons and a mouse click only menu tree.
  6. On the sixth day of Christmas, the developers gave to me: six focus issues, five undescribed graphics, four carousels, three image CAPTCHAs, two unlabeled buttons and a mouse click only menu tree.
  7. On the seventh day of Christmas, the developers gave to me: seven JavaScript frameworks, six focus issues, five undescribed graphics, four carousels, three image CAPTCHAs, two unlabeled buttons and a mouse click only menu tree.
  8. On the eighth day of Christmas, the developers gave to me: eight untagged documents, seven JavaScript frameworks, six focus issues, five undescribed graphics, four carousels, three image CAPTCHAs, two unlabeled buttons and a mouse click only menu tree.
  9. On the ninth day of Christmas, the developers gave to me: nine map pins dancing, eight untagged documents, seven JavaScript frameworks, six focus issues, five undescribed graphics, four carousels, three image CAPTCHAs, two unlabeled buttons and a mouse click only menu tree.
  10. On the tenth day of Christmas, the developers gave to me: ten misleading link names, nine map pins dancing, eight untagged documents, seven JavaScript frameworks, six focus issues, five undescribed graphics, four carousels, three image CAPTCHAs, two unlabeled buttons and a mouse click only menu tree.
  11. On the eleventh day of Christmas, the developers gave to me: eleven custom elements, ten misleading link names, nine map pins dancing, eight untagged documents, seven JavaScript frameworks, six focus issues, five undescribed graphics, four carousels, three image CAPTCHAs, two unlabeled buttons and a mouse click only menu tree.
  12. On the twelfth day of Christmas, the developers gave to me: twelve tangled tables, eleven custom elements, ten misleading link names, nine map pins dancing, eight untagged documents, seven JavaScript frameworks, six focus issues, five undescribed graphics, four carousels, three image CAPTCHAs, two unlabeled buttons and a mouse click only menu tree.

Happy holidays from Allyssa, Arabella, Allison and Darrell!

AccessiLife Consulting, Blind Access Journal, and the Hilliker family, must frequently rely on sighted assistance in order to get important, inaccessible tasks done. In most cases, we have chosen Aira as our visual interpreter. If you are ready to become an Aira Explorer, and you feel it in your heart to pass along a small gift to the journal or our family, we ask that you use our referral link. Your first month of Aira service will be free of charge, we will receive a discount on our bill and we will thank you for supporting the important work we do here at Blind Access Journal.

We love hearing from our listeners! Please feel free to talk with us in the comments. What do you like? How could we make the show better? What topics would you like us to cover on future shows?

If you use Twitter, let’s get connected! Please follow Allison (@AlliTalk) and Darrell (@darrell).