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Flying Blind, LLC Newsletter - Volume 16
Current Information on the Adaptive Technology Industry
is always available on the Flying Blind, LLC Website at:

PRESS RELEASE: Flying Blind, LLC and Optelec BV Release "In Touch With Alva: A Guide To Unleashing the Power of Your ALVA Braille Controller", Version 1.0
Launch a Reversed Version of this Article for Low Vision and Vision Impaired Subscribers
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RELEASED: May 11, 2009

Monday, May 11, 2009
Flying Blind, LLC ( and Optelec BV ( are pleased to announce the release of "In Touch with ALVA: A Guide To Unleashing the Power of Your ALVA Braille Controller, Version 1.0", a Flying Blind, LLC publication.
This comprehensive tutorial has been designed for users of Optelec's ALVA Braille Controller, as well as both sighted and vision impaired service professionals responsible for training users in how to integrate this life-changing technology into their adaptive technology journey.
Both Larry Lewis, founder of Flying Blind, LLC, and Optelec enjoy a rich history with refreshable Braille technology. Lewis attributes his educational, professional, and personal successes largely to the advent of refreshable Braille, a technology that Optelec's founder pioneered in the late 1970s.
The ALVA Braille Controller, the sixth generation of ALVA Braille terminals, began shipping in July of 2008, and has been embraced by users as more than just a traditional Braille terminal. The ALVA Braille Controller not only allows users to interact with their PC and accessible mobile devices via a Braille display, Braille keyboard, and optional audio input/output via either USB or Bluetooth connections, but it's built-in system and flash file storage options enable the user to portably manage information as well as host a Screen Reading session directly from the ALVA Braille Controller when connecting to a PC that does not have a Screen Reader installed.
"We are excited to have assisted Optelec with this necessary effort," states Lewis, whose company developed the tutorial. "The ALVA Braille Controller's vast degrees of functionality offer users many flexible, powerful, and above all, accessible options for use within the classroom, workplace, and throughout their community. A tutorial such as this will enable both users and trainers to fully realize the potential of this exceptional solution."
"We are most pleased that such an innovative, unique product like the ALVA Braille Controller now has such a succinct, yet comprehensive tutorial to provide guidance to its customers." stated Ivar Illing, International Product Manager, Optelec BV. "Such a resource mirrors Optelec's commitment to provide responsive post-sales support to its end users, as well as to those who train them in the utilization of this device."
The "In Touch with ALVA" Guide is comprised of lesson plans which will guide both the user and the service provider through:
  • Familiarization with ALVA Braille Controller, its internal menus, and "Notes" functionality.
  • Utilization of the ALVA Braille Controller to interact with a laptop or desktop computer.
  • Incorporation of the ALVA Braille Controller into one's accessible mobile phone experience.
Photo of the Alva BC640 Graphical representations and coded illustrations have also been integrated into the early sections of the tutorial to provide visual affirmation to sighted service professionals. This Tutorial has been designed to become an evolving and dynamic resource intended to compliment the ALVA Braille Controller as new features and functionality are implemented, and future lesson plans will be updated accordingly.
Anyone wishing to download Version 1.0 of "In Touch with ALVA: A Guide To Unleashing the Power of Your ALVA Braille Controller", may do so by clicking on one of the following links:
Optimized for Web Reading / Viewing (764 K):
Optimized for Printing (6.33 MB):
The above links offer the "In Touch with ALVA" Guide in PDF format for easy access. If you do not have the free Adobe Reader software already installed, the most current version can always be downloaded and installed using the following link:
For detailed specifications on the ALVA BC640, click the following link:
For an audio overview of ALVA features, you may download Flying Blind, LLC's EyePod TechnoCast, Volume 6, titled: "The ALVA Braille Controller: A New Generation of Refreshable Braille Solutions" here:
For those interested in comprehensive distance or on-site training, please e-mail and you will receive a response within 24 hours of your request.
Larry L. Lewis, Jr., President, Flying Blind, LLC
Ivar Illing, International Product Manager, Optelec BV

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