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Orca is a scriptable screen reader. This means, if you have the know how, you can add extra functionality to Orca by adding your own scripts to it. For details, see the Orca Frequently Asked Questions page. This is great for people who have the necessary technical skills to expand Orca to meet their needs or wants. For people with out the necessary programming skills, it’s not quite as useful. Orca is designed to provide access to existing desktop functionality. This means things like time and date aren’t built in to the screen reader. It’s not a big deal, because this information is available right on the desktop, but it can be a pain to have to stop working on your current project, use control+alt+tab to get to the top panel, tab around until you find the info you want, then move back to what ever you were working on and find your place to continue working. It would be much easier to have a single key to tell you the time, date, weather conditions, etc. This is relatively easy to do with Orca’s scripting capabilities, but if you don’t know Python, you’re kind of stuck. There is a script pre-written that can be downloaded from the Orca FAQ, but once the script is downloaded, it has to be edited to get weather information working, and unless you know enough about scripting to change the keybindings, you are stuck with the Keys built into the script.
I have attempted to solve this problem with a web based application that creates an orca-customizations.py file. When you access the application, you will be able to select keys for each item. All commands include the press of the Orca key. The Orca key is either insert for desktop layout, or capslock for laptop layout. So, if you select d as the key to speak the date, the key press to make orca speak the date would be insert+d for desktop layout or capslock+d for laptop layout. Once all the information has been entered, You will be able to download the orca-customizations.py file. The only steps left after that are moving the file to the .orca directory and restarting Orca.
So far, the script includes keybindings for battery status, date, time, and weather conditions. If you would like to give it a try it is located at: