Dumb post to the Stargardts Facebook group

Bill Cox waywardgeek at gmail.com
Mon Apr 8 21:33:22 EDT 2013

Hi, Jason.  That is an amazing background.  People like you refused to let
the crap life threw at them hold them down.  I find these stories amazing.

On Mon, Apr 8, 2013 at 9:13 PM, Jason White <jason at jasonjgw.net> wrote:

> Bill Cox  <speakup at linux-speakup.org> wrote:
> >At one point I wanted to collaborate with Sina on a book about being blind
> >in the age of technology, where stories like your's and Sinas would make
> >excellent examples throughout the book.  Then I got busy at work, and now
> >I'm more busy than ever.  I still like the idea, though.
> I'm sure you can find wonderfully inspiring people, such as those who have
> already contributed to this thread, to share their experiences for the
> book.
> Here's a brief personal account, for what it is worth. I am very fortunate
> never to have undergone the experience of losing sight: I simply didn't
> have
> it in the first place. I divided my time between the local school for the
> blind and a good private school chosen by my family, switching full time to
> the latter after the primary years. I was also active in music at the
> time; a
> highlight of those years was the opportunity to travel to Europe as a
> violinist in a chamber orchestra. (Visiting the then divided Berlin shortly
> before the collapse of the east German regime is an experience that I shall
> always remember.)
> I completed secondary school with sufficiently good results to enter a
> combined Arts/Law degree program at university. My first year of university
> also entailed discovering UNIX, the Internet, and becoming an observer in a
> group known as the International Committee for Accessible Document Design
> (ICADD), which was developing Document Type Definitions and a
> transformation
> technique to enable publishers to make books accessible to people with
> disabilities. I started reading all of the papers I could acquire related
> to
> accessibility research. Four years later I entered the Honours program in
> Philosophy, a subject in which I had become deeply interested. At this
> point,
> the World Wide Web was also expanding rapidly, and I was invited into the
> inaugural W3C Web Accessibility Initiative Working Group, the beginning of
> what unexpectedly became quite a career in Web accessibility
> standard-setting
> work that I continued while studying law school subjects in subsequent
> years.
> The W3C work involved negotiating technical standards as well as editorial
> and
> administrative responsibilities, notably as Co-Chair of the Web Content
> Accessibility Guidelines working group from 2000-2004 during the
> development
> of WCAG 2.0. It was all highly enjoyable and engaging, with superb people
> involved and a lot of work to be done. I contributed to technical work in
> the
> Daisy Consortium as well, principally associated with Daisy 3.0.
> Having completed law school, specializing in public law (international law,
> human rights, Constitutional interpretation), it was time to pursue my
> childhood dream and embark upon a Ph.D. I chose a topic in philosophy, more
> specifically in contemporary analytic semantics of natural language, that
> was
> relevant to both my interests in public law and moral philosophy and to my
> Web-related work. Unfortunately, it wasn't possible to keep up with the
> workload attached to my Web accessibility responsibilities while focusing
> on
> research toward a Ph.D., so I had to set aside my W3C commitments entirely,
> just to concentrate on research and thesis/dissertation writing.
> Notwithstanding the difficulties along the way, I ultimately graduated with
> the Ph.D., and have since returned to more Web accessibility work. I am
> also
> attempting the academic publishing process while looking for the next
> research
> opportunity and pursuing a number of smaller projects, with an intention to
> contribute at both a theoretical and practical level to issues of human
> rights, social justice and of course accessibility as a special case of the
> above.
> That's rather long as a summary but it covers the essential points.
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