Getting the Orca Screen-Reader to work under Plasma 5

In case some readers might not know, even though computing is heavily visual, certain advanced desktop-managers can be set up for impaired people to use – which also falls under the category of “Accessibility”. This includes the ability of the computer to speak a robotic description of what’s happening on the screen, in case a user can hear, but not see properly.

There are some users who feel they should stick with Windows, because Accessibility can be so hard to set up under Linux.

There are other users who are sorry they every clicked on “Accessibility”, because now they cannot turn it off.

If a visually-impaired user wants Accessibility set up on a Linux computer, I’d definitely suggest letting a trusted other person set it up, because until it’s set up, complicated things may need to be done, and accessibility will not be set up, so that the end-user will not benefit from Accessibility, while trying to set it up.

Some regular users find screen-readers trying for their patience, because of the fast, robotic voice, until they manage to shut it down again. Personally, I only find screen-readers trying, If I happen to have set one up late at night, because the voice could cause some sort of noise-complaint from my neighbors, droning on until I manage to disable it again. In the middle of the day, I don’t find these experiments trying.

I guess that a good question which some people might ask me, would be why I even do such an experiment, given that I’m not visually impaired and don’t need it. And what I do is set everything up until it works, and then disable it again.

On my recently-installed Debian / Stretch computer named ‘Plato’, which is also running Plasma 5 as its desktop-manager, I just did manage to get this feature to work, and then to disable it again.

(Updated 15h50, 1/17/2018 : )

The first thing I had to do, was install a long list of packages. The list below includes what was installed, but it should not really be necessary to give the command to the package-manager manually, to install everything here, because some of these packages will follow as dependencies from other packages. But here is a roundabout list:

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A Slight Disadvantage To Using LG Tone & Talk App

One fact which I have written about, was that I have acquired an “LG Tone Pro HBS-750″ Bluetooth Headset, which still works, but which had some issues that I do not need to repeat.

In addition, these headsets have a suggested app, which we can download from Google Play, called “Tone & Talk“. That app has come under fire from its users, and any issues I can detect with it, are unrelated to issues I myself may have had with the hardware. Specifically, the new version of the app simply reads out the text which belongs to notifications, rather than allowing in-depth screen-reading, within any one app.

There is a type of error with this app that I have just noticed yesterday afternoon, in which the app just seems to repeat a notification indefinitely.

In my limited experience, this error will happen, if the app whose notifications are being monitored, goes full-screen on the Android device, in order to make the notification apparent.

Specifically, I use an app named “S Planner”, which on Samsung Galaxy devices acts as our Calendar app. I had checked off this app, as belonging to the ones, which Tone & Talk is supposed to read out notifications for. But, S Planner has always gone full-screen, so that when I next activate my phone, I can read in detail, what scheduled event I am being reminded of – even before I unlock the phone. Well in this case, when the next scheduled event was displayed, Tone & Talk also went into an endless loop of notification texts.

The way I solved this problem for myself, was just to uncheck S Planner as one of the apps Tone & Talk was ‘listening to’. And S Planner was also not checked by default.

I find this to be of low importance to me, because when S Planner plays its customized notification sound, like so many other sounds, That notification sound is Also played to my headphones. I can recognize that sound. But I will actually need to look at the screen of the phone, to see the details.

When other users are reporting a similar issue, I now suspect that they may also have set their 3rd-party apps to go full-screen, perhaps hoping to encourage Tone & Talk to work as a screen-reader again. And then, doing so would cause a short text just to be repeated indefinitely.

I cannot be 100% certain of this, but am reasonable sure.

Dirk

(Edit : ) There exists the possibility, that the predecessor to the Tone & Talk app, actually used its remote-control over the supported apps, to change some of their settings, so that this predecessor-app would be better-able to act as a screen-reader. The users may not have noticed this.

But then, when users were migrated to Tone & Talk, there could have been no follow-up, in which the settings of the other, read-from apps would have been reverted to what they would normally be. And this would have failed to happen, because the later app does not have the remote-control / Accessibility Aid status, required to change settings of other apps.

So the task may now be up to Tone & Talk users, to revert the settings of each other app, no longer to go full-screen when they receive a message. And the users would need to do this, to put an end to repeated, few words read out by Tone & Talk.