how to make ping audible, and equally more useful for both blind and sighted users

Ping is a little network troubleshooting command on operating systems that have any command line capability. Ping sends an ICMP packet to tell you if a specific network connection is up if the device pinged is configured to send back a reply. Back during my Cisco networking days I was annoyed that I couldn’t see if network connections were up while configuring them in a separate router window; my sighted classmates and coworkers would just display 2 windows and look between them. My friend Sean Randall was learning programming at the time and wrote a cool little autoit script for me that could ping and beep when it got replies and we called it sping; then I moved to the mac and missed that utility.

about a year ago a friend Jacob White, who is fully sighted but spends time under desks plugging networks together, told me about the ping command flags -a or uppercase -A that totally resolved that function. The -a flag will emit the system default beep when a reply is received, and the -A flag   beeps if no reply comes back. Just type out the ping command and add one of those flags e.g.

ping -a
or -A if you’re looking for lost packets.
As far as I know this is present in the ping command for all current versions of Unix Linux or macOS. There is also a nice little utility for Microsoft Windows called bping that beyond adding beeps to ping can also scan a subnet for you. Actually, any ping command can scan a subnet for you if you ping the network broadcast address.

e.g. ping


Adding audible beeps to ping make the command more usable for blind users, but it also is convenient for sighted people under their desks, another example of where some “accessibility” features are also convenient and useful for those without any disability.


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