This page, originally published on 19 May 2013, has been updated in September 2020, and again in December 2020.

I ordered my first Raspberry Pi in the days between Christmas and New Year's Eve in 2012.

While I was waiting for the little computer to arrive, I started a mailing list for blind and visually impaired users to share experiences, tips, and tricks.

It immediately occurred to me that a mailing list for the visually impaired about the Raspberry Pi could be called Raspberry VI.

After the board arrived and I had played with it for a while, I created this Web site in about April 2013.

As time went on, I, and members of the list managed to get some accessibility software, such as the SpeakUp screen reader, and Emacspeak running.

Since that time, things have got easier as new versions of the Raspberry Pi have been released, with more memory and a faster SoC (system on a chip).

In the last couple of years before now, 2020, the site has become a little stale, and it is now time to re-publish and write some new pages and some new blog entries.

I hope to generate some new impetus with these updates.

It is not my intention to try to beat, or even duplicate some of the enormous amount of information now online about all the subjects covered within these pages, but rather to put an emphasis on assisting folks who, like me, are either blind or visually impaired.

A lot of the information out there on the Web is heavily graphical and includes video tutorials. While we can use some of this, I hope to describe some of the things we need to know in a textual form.

About Me

I was born in 1964.

At the age of five years I was diagnosed with Congenital Glaucoma. A genetic version of the complaint more often suffered late in life.

So, I have been visually impaired to some extent since I was very young. Losing the sight of one eye so long ago now that I could never remember what it was like to have the sight of both eyes.

In 2008 I finally lost the remains of my sight, and I am now totally blind. I cannot even see sunlight.

Only approximately 4% of people who are legally recorded as blind are actually totally blind.

But I have been lucky. Making it to forty-four before I lost my sight totally. Many people born with Congenital Glaucoma lose their sight entirely before they are old enough to leave school.

I have held a Class A amateur radio license in the UK since 1984. My callsign is G4XBF.

I have been interested in hobby electronics since I was an early teenager, when I used to wade through an enormous pile of old 'Practical Wireless' magazines cast aside by my older brother.

I got into computing in about the mid-eighties as part of my amateur radio activity, using a BBC Micro to do radio-teletype (RTTY).

Then, when I was bored with my job as a civil servant in 1990, I left to be retrained as a COBOL programmer at the Royal National College for the Visually Impaired in Hereford, England.

Since then I have been a software developer.

The list of programming disciplines and languages I have written in is COBOL, MS Access, Visual BASIC, Perl, Javascript, C, C++, Python, node.js, Ansible, HTML and CSS.

I also have experience with databases including Oracle, MySQL, PostgresSQL, MongoDB, SQLite and Apache Cassandra.

I have very detailed knowledge of Windows 32 and Linux. Including intimate knowledge of the Win32 API and the Linux Programming Interface.

I know how the Internet hangs together, its nuts and bolts and protocols such as HTTP. I know enough about networking, DNS, DHCP and IP to get stuff to work.

I also have detailed knowledge of Web content accessibility and the WCAG 2.0 guidelines.