Hello! I am posting here as a technologically challenged, novice player looking to connect to nethack.alt.org using the Curses interface. I've spent a good chunk of time researching without any luck and hopefully may save someone else the trouble if I can get it solved here.
I am comfortable using PuTTY to connect to NAO and downloading the Windows executable of NetHack with Curses itself works great, I just can't seem to play through the server using the lovely Curses graphics.
EDIT: I successfully got it to work. I'm running Windows 8 Pro x64 and here's what got me going.
First I got PuTTY to run as admin (right click properties, compatibility tab) and also set it to run as Windows XP SP3 (I don't know if this is necessary).
Then, within PuTTY, I set my sessions terminal size to 120 columns and 40 rows in the window section.
Next, I went into Appearance and set the Font to Consolas 14 pt.
Finally, I went to translation and changed the Remote character set from UTF-8 to "use font encoding." NetHack is back to being gorgeous and retro at the same time. Perfect!
Hopefully this helps someone out in the future so I don't feel so stupid. Thanks!