First time with Orca
Welcome to the spoken tutorial series on the Orca screen reader! I am Krishnakant Mane from the Spoken Tutorial team at IIT Bombay. I am a totally blind person and absolutely depend on this wonderful software. Orca is a powerful state-of-the-art FOSS-based screen-reader for the GNU/Linux Operating system. With the help of this assistive software, a totally blind person can perform all the desktop activities without sighted assistance.
In these series , we will start from the initial set-up of Orca and then move on to do some advanced personal and professional activities. So let us get started! In my case I am using the Vinux version 3 of GNU/Linux operating system because one gets the initial feedback when you are using this distro. But you can use other distros such as Ubuntu, fedora etc.
Also note that if you are using the Vinux distro of GNU/Linux then you might not require to follow the instructions in this tutorial because orca is already configured and set up for you. Assuming that you have entered your user name and the password, you will now be on the desktop. So let's start setting up Orca.
Press alt + f2 to get to the run dialogue . This is the place where you would enter the commands to be executed immediately. Here type Orca and press enter. So now you can hear Orca asking us a few questions.
The first question is about selecting the speech synthesizer. Enter 2 for Espeak speech synthesizer after which Orca will ask us for the language selection. As you notice, Orca has a lot of languages from which you can choose. There are more languages getting added with every version of Orca. So enter 12 for the English voice.
Now Orca is asking us us if we want to hear back every word as it is typed. We will answer Yes for this question. For this enter the character y . Now Orca asks us if we want to hear every key as we press it. We will answer yes for this question.
Now Orca is asking us if we want to have Orca echo every alpha numeric and punctuation key which means every character including punctuation. So if we enter Yes for this question, we will exactly hear that. So let us press Y.
Orca now asks us if we also want to hear the keys including shift, Alt and control keys to be echoed back. Let us enter Y as in Yes. This is a similar option. In this case, Orca is asking us if we want to hear the capslok, numlok and the scroll lock key be echoed. Lets enter Yes for this as well.
Now Orca asks us a similar question again. This time it is about the echoing the function keys. Let us Press Y as in Yes. The action keys are Escape and Enter. So answering Yes for this question will tell orca that we want to hear the keys Escape and Enter be echoed. So let us answer Yes. Now we have come to a very important option. Orca is asking us to choose a keyboard layout. There are two layouts from which we have to choose. First there is a desktop layout and then there is a laptop layout. The reason for having two different layouts is that, a laptop key board does not have a numeric key pad while a desktop has a numeric key pad to the right of the arrow keys.
Since many orca navigation key are associated with the numeric key pads, they have to be adjusted on the laptop. So enter 1 for selecting the desktop layout or enter 2 for laptop layout.
I am going to enter 1 for the desktop layout. Now Orca is asking us if we wish to enable Braille. Since these tutorials are concerned with text to speech audio output, Braille is not within the scope of these tutorials. So I will enter No as in N.
This option is also related to Braille. A Braille monitor is a place where, a visually disabled person can put the hand and see the embossed dots. Since we are not using the Braille monitor, we will type N and enter as in NO.
Well! Now Orca asks if it should start automatically when you log in . You might be tempted to answer Yes but its is recommended to answer No for two reasons. Firstly if you keep orca running at the start up, it consumes a lot of memory at the start up and might slow down the system. The second reason is that if a sighted person is also going to use the same machine, he might perhaps be irritated to hear the initial Orca output. So we will enter No for this. Hey! Can you hear this, Orca tells us that the accessibility set up is complete which means orca is ready for work but we need to log out and log back in again to the same user account to start using Orca. So we will answer yes for this question as in type Yes as in Y and press Enter.
We are logging out now. As you heard the machine gave a bang, which means we are at the login prompt, so we will have to again enter the user name and the password which I will just do. So we have logged back in to the machine where we have set up orca and now let us start orca itself. What I am going to do is, What I am going to do is, I will press alt + f2 and Enter Orca. So here we go! Alt+F2and 0-r-c-a and Enter.
As we can hear, orca has started. It is running and we can start using it. When you are on the desktop, the most fundamental thing is a Menu. So just to give you a feel of how orca responds, I am going to open the Applications Menu which actually contains all the Applications. So I will press Alt+F1.
Ok! Here we go! We are in the Applications Menu. We are in the Applications Menu and we can press the up and the down arrow to actually see what is around. So let us press the down arrow. It says Accessories Menu.
So you can Press down again . So press down again and againt he down arrow. Again down. So you can see that there are a lot of categories in the menu such as internet, office, games, accessories etc.
So you can open any of these menus and see what is there inside. So let us go up till we locate the accessories Menu. So I will keep pressing up arrow and every time I press the up arrow, you will notice the changed focus.
So let us open this sub- menu called the accessories by pressing the right arrow. So the first option here is the calculator. We have the CD/DVD creator. There is a character map which is used for calligraphy activities. There is a disc user Analyser. And there is a Text Editor called gedit. So we are going to open the gedit Text Editor now. So lets press Enter on this Option to actually open the Text Editor. So orca gives us a lot of information. It says that the gedit text editor is open with an unsaved document which is named as unsaved document one. So you can type in this text editor and save the file but that will be for a later tutorial. So did you enjoy setting up Orca?
In the next tutorial, we will see how to do more adjustments to Orca, including the speed at which it speaks, the pitch, volume and many other basic configurations. So until then, this is Krishnakant Mane signing off, Goodbye and have fun! Spoken Tutorials are a part of the Talk to a Teacher project, supported by the National Mission on Education through ICT coordinated by www.spoken-tutorial.org and developed at IIT Bombay. More information on the same is available at the following link http://spoken-tutorial.org/NMEICT- Intro.