Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Friday, 16 May 2008


I work with a number of kids with disabilities who access computers on a daily basis. To log on to school networks, they need to simultaneously hit the three keys “ctrl”, “alt”, and “del”.

This provides a practical barrier to kids with Hemiplegia or those who can’t use both hands at once. It’s very frustrating to them, and annoys the hell out of me, as part of my job is to advise the schools on ways of making sure that the student is as independent as possible.

I’ve asked quite a few technicians for a suggestion about a solution – to no avail. Does anyone out there have any ideas? I’m stuck.


"Grendel" said...

I too work in the Disability sector - on the funding side of it. Yes there is a solution. You can re-map the keyboard, and even physically shift the keys so they are clustered together. If you buy a keyboard with programmable keys (like a gamer's keyboard) you could designate just one key for that function although to replace Control-Alt-Delete I'd recommend a two-key hit to avoind accidental reboots.

I'll try and find the key mapping software I heard about.

"Grendel" said...

OK - Are the PC's windows based? If so go here: http://www.microsoft.com/globaldev/tools/msklc.mspx
and you will find instructions on how to map the keyboard. To physically shift the keys - well they just pop off if you lever them gently with a flat blade.

Find a key to move will be the challenge - perhaps you could change the settings so that crtl-alt-del functions are triggered by hitting crtl-alt-z for those using the left hand ant crtl-alt-/(?) for those using the right hand.

Also - that login sequence is common to windows logons everywhere - I wonder if Microsoft has been made aware of this barrier?

"Grendel" said...

I really should finish my research eh?

Apparently you can set "StickyKeys" to allow pressing one key at a time
sequentially instead of pressing multiple keys (like Ctrl-Alt-Del)

Sounds much easier as an option

"Grendel" said...

When a shortcut requires a key combination, the StickyKeys feature lets you press a modifier key, such as Shift, Ctrl, Alt, or the Windows Logo key, and have it remain active until another key is pressed.

To activate StickyKeys

1. Press the Shift key five times. A dialog box opens with nstructions on how to set up the StickyKeys feature.

2. If you click OK, an icon (a group of squares) appears in the notification area.

To turn off StickyKeys, press the Shift key five times.

1735099 said...

Thanks very much Grendel. It looks as if your simple suggestions will do it. The funny side is that the IT gurus I asked were all looking for much more complex solutions. I'll try it and let you know.

"Grendel" said...

I tried it here at home - seems to work OK for me, will have to wait and see how the kids like the solution however.

As long as they remember to turn sticky keys OFF after using crtl-alt-del I don't foresee any problems.

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