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Mumble for Windows Users

Mumble is pretty much hands down the best voice chat software on the planet. It has awesome features, and uses the opus codec, so it doesn’t require a lot of bandwidth and yet the sound quality is very high. The problem is, Windows users who rely on a screen reader can’t use it because of some kind of keyboard conflict. So, until y’all can switch over to Linux, where this problem never existed to begin with, here’s a solution.
First, install mumble. Then, after running through the installation, run this registry file that disables some keyboard hooks that interfere with mumble. I’m not even sure why they are there to begin with, but doing this does not, so far as anyone who has tested it can tell, cause you to lose any keyboard functionality. That’s it, from now on your screen reader of choice and Mumble should live together in perfect harmony. Of course, since you’re using Windows, remember to virus scan anything you get before running it. This includes the registry file linked to above. I have the file hosted here on my server, but you can never be too careful.

Simple Orca Plugin System

Chrys has developed a plugin system for Orca. This plugin system allows you to write plugins for Orca in any language you want. Although not as powerful as a fully integrated plugin system, you can still accomplish a lot with what it can do. In fact, the included plugin manager is written in bash, and it allows you to enable and disable other plugins, as well as download and instal new plugins.
To install the simple plugin system, if you use Arch Linux or one of is derivatives, install the package simpleorcapluginsystem-git located in the AUR.
If you use another distribution, simply innstall manually by doing the following:

git clone https://github.com/chrys87/simple-orca-plugin-system.git
cd simple-orca-plugin-system
sudo cp -r SOPS /usr/share/

whether you install via package manager or manually, the final step is the same. To integrate the plugin system with Orca, run the following command:

/usr/share/SOPS/install-for-current-user.sh

Restart Orca, and the plugin system will be ready to use. By default, the simple plugin system includes the plugin manager, bound toorca+control+p, a plugin to tell you which workspace you are currently using, bound to orca+x, and a plugin to tell you what is currently in the clipboard, bound to orca+c.
Using the plugin manager, you can easily install more plugins. Just select Install New Plugins, then check the plugins you want to install and assign them a keybinding. There are several plugins available for download, and more are being added all the time.
If you need assistance, Chrys and I are usually in the #talkingarch channel on irc.netwirc.tk, also feel free to leave question in the comments, or contact me via the contact form.
Information for creating plugins is available in the docu.txt file included in the SOPS directory. Also, a file called hosting.txt is in the tools directory. If you want to host plugins yourself edit the file, placing your information in the variables, then upload the file to a directory on your server and rename it to index.php. Anything in the directory other than index.php will be listed as a plugin. If you host plugins and want them publically available, send me a link to your site so we can review the offered plugins and include the new site in the plugin manager.
If you just want to have your plugins hosted on an already available server, let me know here in the comments, or on GNU Social as @storm@social.stormdragon.tk. You can also contact me on Twitter as @stormdragon2976. Note that I do not check my Twitter all that often, so responces may be delayed.
The Simple Orca Plugin System is easy to use, and very useful. I hope you enjoy it.

Using Speech-dispatcher with Yasr

I was wondering if Yasr could use any other synth than emacspeak. Turns out, if you are using Ubuntu intrepid or later, or if you have the latest version of Yasr installed, it can. For those of you who don’t know, yasr is a terminal based screen reader.
Yasr can now use speech-dispatcher. This means, it can use Espeak, or any other synthesizer that speech-dispatcher supports. To get it, in Ubuntu, type:
sudo apt-get install yasr
Once it is installed, you will need to edit the /etc/yasr/yasr..conf file to get the speech-dispatcher support working. First, you need to be sure that speech-dispatcher is installed and working. To get it:
sudo apt-get install speech-dispatcher python-speechd
Once it is installed, type:
spd-conf
to get it set up. You can accept the defaults on all of the questions it asks except the port. For some reason, on my computer at least, it wants to set the port to 6561. It should be 6560, so be sure to type that into the prompt for the port if it says something else. When that has finished, launch it with:
speech-dispatcher
If you want, you can make it start automatically by going to System, Preferences, Sessions and adding speech-dispatcher to the start up programs.
name: speech-dispatcher
command: speech-dispatcher
Now, for the /etc/yasr/yasr.conf file. Open it with sudo, remove the # at the beginning of the speech-dispatcher lines, there are 2 of them. Then add the # in front of the emacspeak lines. Once again, there are 2 of them.
You can change speech rate, pitch, etc by editing the file:
~/.speech-dispatcher/conf/speechd.conf
Most of the lines are commented out, so remember to remove the # if you want your changes to be applied. To launch yasr, type yasr in terminal.

Installing Speakup in Ubuntu

I was told that speakup isn’t as difficult to install any more because you don’t have to recompile the kernel any more, So, I thought I would give it a go. It took a few minutes, but over all, it was very easy to get it up and running. If you too would like to install speakup, here are the instructions. Thanks goes to Paul Hunt for helping with the instructions. This was done an a Dell Studio 1536 running Ubuntu Intrepid.
First, we need to install the git-core package. In a terminal, type:
sudo apt-get install git-core
After that package is installed, get the speakup packages with this command:
git clone http://www.linux-speakup.org/speakup.git
This one takes a while, so play a game or something, but keep checking back on it. It will finish eventually. After that happens, it is time to compile and install. To do this, type:
cd speakup/src
make
sudo make modules_install
After the above three commands have completed, you need to move some files around because they aren’t installed in the right place. Enter the following commands:
cd /lib/modules/`uname -r`/extra/speakup
sudo cp * ..
Once that has been done, activate by typing:
sudo depmod -a
Now everything should be ready. So to start the module, type:
sudo modprobe speakup_soft start=1
So that you don’t have to type the above line every time your computer is restarted, do the following:
sudo vi /etc/modules
This will open the vim text editor. Press the escape key to make sure you are in command mode. Use down arrow to move to the bottom of the file. Once there, press shift A to get in to append mode. Type the following line exactly as it is here:
speakup_soft start=1
Press the escape key to get back in to command mode. Then type the following to save and exit vim:
:wq
Once you press enter the file will be saved. To get espeak working with speakup, do the following:
cd ~/speakup/contrib
unzip espeakup with the following:
bunzip2 espeakup-0.60.tar.bz2
tar xvf espeakup-0.60.tar
then install:
make
sudo make install
Launch it with:
sudo espeakup –default-voice voice name
So, for US English, the command would be:
sudo espeakup –default-voice en-us
You can add espeakup to /etc/init.d/rc.local, so you won’t need to launch espeakup every time your system is restarted. Place the line at the very end of the file.
You can not use speakup with plain old gnome-terminal. You need to open a text console. You can do this with control+alt+f1 through f6. You can get back to your normal desktop with control+alt+f7. when you bring up the text console you will need to log in with your user name and password. You can read the speakup manual in the ~/speakup/doc directory. For those of us who don’t like using key echo, you can disable it. You need to be root to make this change, so type:
sudo su – root
then, to disable it, type:
echo 0 > /sys/module/speakup/parameters/key_echo
after that is done, type exit to logout from the root account. To do this automatically, add it to /etc/init.d/rc.local. There are other parameters you can change as well such as volume and rate. In the above command change the number 0 to 9 and key_echo to rate to set the voice rate.
echo 9 > /sys/module/speakup/parameters/rate
That’s about it, have fun. Remember, when you find a setting you like, just add it in to the end of /etc/init.d/rc.local to make it happen at startup.

Website Navigation With Orca

orca has a lot of web page navigation keys. If you aren’t the kind of person who has to customize everything you may be unaware of them. There are keys for almost everything you could want, but by default, only a few of them have key bindings. If, for example, you would like to jump to the next combobox on the page you are reading, you can set a key to do so. It isn’t set by default, so you have to open Orca’s preferences for Firefox. To do this, press the Orca key, either insert if you are using desktop layout, or capslock for laptop layout. So, press orca+control+space bar and the Orca preferences for Firefox will open. Use the arrow keys to get to the key bindings tab. Tab over to the function column and then arrow down through the different options. To set a key for one of the choices, press enter while on the item you would like to set a key for and type your choice. Orca will say "Key captured, press enter to confirm". After you have confirmed your choice, tab to the apply or OK button and press enter. You will now be able to use your brand new navigation key on web pages.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Sometimes in Ubuntu, you will want to create global keyboard shortcuts that aren’t possible in the keyboard preferences in the system menu. There are a couple of ways to do this, but probably the easiest is a program called xbindkeys. To get it, open terminal and type:
sudo apt-get install xbindkeys xbindkeys-config
If you are using Orca, the screen reader, you don’t need to get xbindkeys-config because Orca doesn’t work with it.
The first thing to do after the program is installed is type:
xbindkeys –defaults > ~/.xbindkeysrc
This basically creates the initial settings for xbindkeys in the file called .xbindkeysrc
After that is done, type:
xbindkeys
this command starts the xbindkeys daemon. In order to have it start at login, go to system, preferences, session. On the additional programs tab click add then type xbindkeys in both the name and command boxes. Click add then click close and it will start automatically on login.
To create a keyboard shortcut, you can launch the gui, called xbindkeys-config, by pressing alt-f2 to open the run dialog and type:
xbindkeys-config
For Orca user, the process is a bit different. Because xbindkeys-config doesn’t work with Orca, you will need to open the .xbindkeysrc file and edit it directly. To do this, in your home directory, type:
gedit .xbindkeysrc
This will open the file in text editor. Once that is done, use the control-end keys to quickly navigate to the bottom of the file. Move up 3 lines. The bottom 3 lines are basically just a fancy ending for the file. On a blank line above the three bottom lines, you can type in your keyboard shortcut. This consists of two lines. The first is the command you want the keyboard shortcut to execute. To launch orca, for example, you would type the word orca surrounded by quotes:
"orca"
On the second line comes the actual shortcut. In our example, we shall use control plus alt plus o as the shortcut. So, to put it altogether:
"orca"
control+alt + o
Press control-s to save the file and close gedit. Now, control-alt-o will launch orca. This can be done for any program you choose. It works on Kubuntu, Ubuntu, and Xubuntu.

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