”Through early morning fog I see
”visions of the things to be
”the pains that are withheld for me
“I realize and I can see…
“that suicide is painless …
That’s the first verse to the theme music for the movie and TV series Mash, by Johnny Mandel and Mike Altman.
Bryan Garaventa is a highly successful software engineer, developer and entrepreneur, the founder of WhatSock.com and creator of the AccDC (Accelerated Dynamic Content) API.
He’s also a senior accessibility engineer at SSB BART Group Inc, which helps companies and organizations design and enhance their ICT (Information, Communication, Technology) systems, including Web sites, web applications, software, hardware, and IT services, making them accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities.
Many of SSB BART’s employees and consultants are themselves disabled in one way or another, which means they’re ideally suited for understanding the needs of people with similar difficulties.
But it wasn’t always like that. In August, 1994, when he was only 14, he held the barrel of a 20-gauge shotgun under his chin and pulled the trigger.
He didn’t die. Instead, he inflicted terrible injuries on himself, ruining his face and robbing himself forever of the ability to fully see the world outside.
“I started building AccDC because I saw a need for a simple-to-use system for developers to include behaviors within their applications, while also ensuring that the behaviors are automatically accessible to disabled Assistive Technology users,” he says.
“This is where AccDC is different from all other programming APIs (application programming interfaces.)
“I specifically designed it to make sure its features are accessible to screen reader- and keyboard- only users. This allows developers, or teams of developers, to incorporate this functionality into their applications without requiring them to be familiar with how Assistive Technologies work to make their applications automatically accessible for all users.
“I hope that AccDC will revolutionize the future of automatically accessible application development in the future in all industries and sectors.”
Bryan’s abiding interest is in writing and developing applications to make online life easier for people with visual and other disabilities. At one point he was responsible for making the bad-boy P2P file sharing application Napster, eventually shut down by the Big 4 corporate record labels, more easily accessible for blind people.
How did that come about?
“It was an accident really,” Bryan explains, continuing “my wife, Cristina worked for a non-profit that accepted donations from technology companies in the area, and Napster was one of the donators.