10 Questions with Rene Schulte

rene

René is officially the Director of Global Innovation at Valorem – unofficially he runs their mixed reality practice, has done an amazing job of attracting top HoloLens talent to Valorem (like Stephen Hodgson), and acts as an ambassador between the Unity world and the Microsoft world. In the past year he’s spoken about mixed reality at leading conferences such as //build, Unite and the Vision VR/AR Summit. He also has serious coding chops, having created and maintained the open source projects WriteableBitmapEx and SLARToolkit. He has been a Microsoft MVP since the Silverlight days.

 

What movie has left the most lasting impression on you?
David Lynch’s take on Dune. I love how the story is told as this surreal, dystopian future, as well as the visual style and the FX back then.

What is the earliest video game you remember playing?
The Great Giana Sisters on the Commodore C64. Of course I loved Cryo’s Dune game on the machine. In general all the games on the A500 were amazing but I enjoyed the Lucas Arts adventures the most back then, especially Monkey Island I + II.

Who is the person who has most influenced the way you think?
My wife! She helped me to get my life right and well, she is just an awesome person. How she plans, organizes everything, the love she shares and hard work is really the key to everything in our life.

When was the last time you changed your mind about something?
Well, just before writing that sentence. I think it is crucial to reflect on your thoughts and be able to change your mind and not be stuck. Be open minded. Say no to dogmatic thinking.

What’s a programming skill people assume you have but that you are terrible at?
JavaScript. But in the end, every developer should be able to pick up a new language and skill within a reasonable amount of time. They all share the same core principles.

What inspires you to learn?
Exploring innovative technologies and helping to change how people will interact with computers. All the innovations with VR/AR/MR (xR?) and AI will make a huge impact when it all comes together. It’s an amazing time to be a developer.

What do you need to believe in order to get through the day?
That our bet on the technology is going to really help us in the future.

What’s a view that you hold but can’t defend?
That AI won’t kill us. Super intelligent AI that outperforms any human intelligence in the not too far future won’t be interested in humans but rather will explore the universe, spread itself and spend time with each other. Humans will also talk with each other and not with apes right? 🙂

What will the future killer Mixed Reality app do?
Cover the full Mixed Reality spectrum and understand the real-world. Augmenting your real-world with virtual holograms using real-world reference points leveraging computer vision but also being able to transport you into another virtual world.

What book have you recommended the most?
Computer Graphics by Foley and van Dam. But it’s been a while.

10 Questions with Jesse McCulloch

jesse

Jesse founded and moderates the HoloLens Developers Slack group (signing up is easy), which currently has close to a thousand members. It is hard to overstate the importance of this community in fostering a sense of shared vision among mixed reality devs. While Microsoft’s official forums are a great place to go to get your technical questions answered, Jesse’s Slack Team is the place to find camaraderie, mentoring, and the occasional pat on the back when you really need it.

Jesse is also a fulltime mixed reality consultant (Roarke Software) and has a Patreon page where you can follow and sponsor his MR endeavors.

 

What movie has left the most lasting impression on you?
Les Miserables is one of the movies that I go back to over and over for the story and for the different stages of life, changes, and redemption shown.

What is the earliest video game you remember playing?
The Legend of Zelda – I remember play this as a kid when we first got our Nintendo.  At the time the puzzles and the amount of time it took to win the game felt like such a feat.  I remember my mom playing it, and drawing a pretty detailed map of the world so that she understood it better.  Thinking back on that memory, it shows how she approached solving a large problem with a fairly simple yet effective solution.

 

Who is the person who has most influenced the way you think?
I would definitely say my parents on this one.  They both have unique ways of looking at the world, and I talk to them often to get advice and work through my own thought processes.  I often call them to gut check what I am thinking before I react or move on a decision, and I am sure I have managed to avoid some painful situations because of that.

When was the last time you changed your mind about something?
I try not to be so static in my thoughts and opinions that changing my mind is a rare occurrence. I tend to be an optimist, so if anything, I dislike changing my mind to a more negative thought…

What’s a programming skill people assume you have but that you are terrible at?
Programming – People assume I’m good at it, but I feel like I’m not.  That may be the impostor syndrome talking though.  In all seriousness, I think I am terrible at some of the soft skills. Time Management, Focus, Organization – Those are definitely things I struggle with daily.
What inspires you to learn?
I have a very natural desire and curiosity to learn new things and how they work in general.  This has served me well in being a self-taught developer because I just want to learn all these new things that I come across.  If anything, I have a harder time with deciding which things I don’t need to learn right now!

What do you need to believe in order to get through the day?
More than anything I need to remember that I have accomplished much in my life, and that I have more ahead of me.

What’s a view that you hold but can’t defend?

I still rock at Windows Phone… 🙂

 

What will the future killer Mixed Reality app do?
I actually think that with Mixed Reality we will still use apps, but they will be less effort to use, because they won’t seem like apps.  Right now, I have to consciously open my To-Do app to see what is on my plate. 

However, as the platform emerges and all of this technology starts to really integrate (AI/Bots, IOT, Mixed Reality) then we start to see apps that behave more naturally in our world and take less effort to use.  My To-Do list app will just look like a To-Do list on my wall, or even just be me conversing with my AI assistant, who can even notice when I am getting off task and remind me what my real priorities of the day should be.

What book have you recommended the most?
I actually recommend The Count of Monte Cristo to everyone.  It’s a HUGE book, with so many layers of story and character development that it takes reading it multiple times to even come close to noticing all of the different ways everything is tied together.  When you look at the fact that it was written in 1844 is really impressive.  How did Alexander Dumas even keep track of such a large and complicated story in his head?

10 Questions with Michael Hoffman

mhoffman

Someone has to be first. In the world of independent mixed reality development, that honor goes to Michael Hoffman. In the summer of 2015, Michael left his development job with the Microsoft HoloLens team and partnered with Raven Zachery to found Object Theory, the first boutique agency to specialize in HoloLens design and development. Besides doing some of the most beautiful work today in mixed reality, Michael has also pioneered the field of MR collaboration and avatar representation in augmented reality spaces. For many of us currently working with mixed reality, it was Michael who first gave us the idea that we could actually make a living doing this thing.

 

What movie has left the most lasting impression on you?
Schindler’s List.

What is the earliest video game you remember playing?
Space invaders (1979). I often hung out at our small town greyhound bus station slash greasy spoon as a 17 year old after high school playing space invaders for hours. Although not a video game, for what it’s worth, the first actual computer game I played was my own implementation of blackjack that supported all rules of the game including doubling down, splitting pairs and insurance betting, that I wrote on a Data General Eclipse in 1974 when I was eleven.

Who is the person who has most influenced the way you think?
Steve Jobs

When was the last time you changed your mind about something?
Trivial? All the time. I’m an options guy. Important: Microsoft. Satya has transformed the company and it is emerging as a true innovator and market leader (again).

What’s a programming skill people assume you have but that you are terrible at?
Commenting code. I make sure my code is readable without comments using well organized objects, clear interface contracts, highly descriptive method and variable names and consistency.

What inspires you to learn?
Thirst to know how the world works. Almost became a physicist.

What do you need to believe in order to get through the day?
That I’m making a difference, learning, connecting with people, and changing the world in some way.

What’s a view that you hold but can’t defend?
That my combination of ADHD, intelligence, compassion and generally being an unstructured, “messy” human being compared to societal norms has advantages and is what makes me a valuable contributor.

What will the future killer Mixed Reality app do?
Unobtrusively annotating my world with only the metaverse information that is truly relevant to me via intelligent agents. Example: I love history of architecture. Make it possible and easy to experience what the history is of every historic building I walk by.

What book have you recommended the most?
Lean Startup by Eric Ries.

10 Questions with Dennis Vroegop

dennis

Dennis is the managing director of Interknowlogy Europe and has given hundreds of talks and presentations on the HoloLens over the past year throughout Europe and the United States. He has discussed the HoloLens on Dutch television and even demoed the HoloLens for the Queen of the Netherlands. He authored the upcoming Microsoft HoloLens Developer’s Guide as well as a soon to be released Lynda.com / LinkedIn Learning HoloLens course (full disclosure: the course is co-authored by me).

 

What movie has left the most lasting impression on you?

Blade Runner. For a lot of people the bleak future has made an impression, but I always enjoyed the part where we are shown how in the future people interact with computers. “Zoom in. Go left. Further. No, back out…” Loved that stuff.

What is the earliest video game you remember playing?

Pong. Yes, the original one. The two paddles (well, rectangles) and the ball (well, square) on our old black and white TV. Man, have we evolved since then….

Who is the person who has most influenced the way you think?

Tough one. A lot of people have, but I think the one that influenced me the most is my daughter Emma. Before her, I was more a typical developer. Thinking along straight lines, being pretty one-track minded. She taught me to think out of the box, to be open to more than the things I already know.

When was the last time you changed your mind about something?

About an hour ago. I am always open to learning new stuff. You have to come with some good arguments though, but if you do I change my standpoint or my opinion. 

What’s a programming skill people assume you have but that you are terrible at?

Despite everyone knowing that I complain about dynamic  programming languages in general and JavaScript in general, people still think that’s just a pose and that I do know how to program in JavaScript. Well, I can do HelloWorld but that’s about it. I don’t even know the difference between == and ===. That stuff is hard! 

What inspires you to learn?

I get my inspiration from a lot of things. I read a lot of books, I read a lot of blogs. I watch movies and they all show me new ways of doing things. I love going to meetups and user group meetings where I get to talk with people who teach me new stuff. That is always a reason for me to dive into something new. Great speakers at conferences have that same effect.

What do you need to believe in order to get through the day?

That I make a difference. Being an entrepreneur I want to make sure that the things I do are for the benefit of others. That might not be visible in the short run but I want to know that I am making a difference in others people’s live. Those people could be the people working for me, but also the people using the software we build. 

What’s a view that you hold but can’t defend?

I think computers as we use them now are really, really inefficient and actually pretty useless. The moment they can be a part of our everyday life without thinking about them, they will be so much more useful. Yet, every time I share my view of the future with others they look at me as if I am mad. 

Another one is that nobody can predict the future. I get the same question over and over again: what does the world look like in 5 or 10 years. The answer is : we do not know. We didn’t know years ago, we do not know now. Yet people always seem to think we can extrapolate and make a prediction. Never mind the fact ALL of those predictions have been wrong. I am not sure if this anecdote is true or not, but apparently the head of the patent-office in New York has at one time stated that everything that can be invented has been invented by now. All that is left is refinement of the things we already have. He is supposed to have said this in 1890…. 

What will the future killer Mixed Reality app do?

Be useful for people who are not used to using computers, smartphones or any technology. The killer app will just be there and add value to our lives. It will help us become better people, or at least have a bit more fun. But it should be invisible and very natural to use.

What book have you recommended the most?

Well, for starters: Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy. Even if you want to understand why you run into the number 42 so often in manuals and programming guides. 

Next to that: Steve O’Connels Code Complete. Still valid and teaches a lot of basic things you need to know as a developer.

Lately, the book Advanced HoloLens Development by Dennis Vroegop… 🙂 

10 Questions with Bronwen Zande

bronwen

Bronwen is a HoloLens developer from Brisbane, Australia where she runs her technology consulting firm, Soul Solutions. Like many people working in the Microsoft mixed reality stack, she got her feet wet in previous emerging technologies like Silverlight and the Microsoft Kinect 1 & 2. She has been awarded the Microsoft MVP ten times for that work. She is fond of big cats.

 

What movie has left the most lasting impression on you?

If you actually forced me to pick one I’d say Empire Strikes Back but I’m going to cheat and say the movies that provided my female role models growing up were Star Wars, Aliens and the Terminator series of movies.

What is the earliest video game you remember playing?

Names- no idea but there was a car driving game on my cousin’s computer and he had a hand held game that was catching eggs. Of my own that I can remember the name of: Leisure Suit Larry. I distinctly remember my brother and I being very smug any time we could “trick” it into thinking we were over 18 so we could play.

Who is the person who has most influenced the way you think?

Formatively – my parents for sure. Getting a bit older my best mate since school. He and I have very different views/opinions but this leads to interesting conversations/debates. I guess the influence there is to not be afraid to have a different opinion but still respect. In the last 15 years my boyfriend for sure.  We’ve done so much together – travelled the world, built a house, a company and many projects together.

When was the last time you changed your mind about something?

All the time. I think this type of job lends itself to that mindset more than most…don’t be afraid to take a new opinion and try a different way.

What’s a programming skill people assume you have but that you are terrible at?

Technically – Low-level 1’s and 0’s.

Generally – Office politics

What inspires you to learn?

I get bored easy…learning something new stops me from being bored.

What do you need to believe in order to get through the day?

That what I’m building is going to help somebody. Doesn’t have to be “life-changing”—generally it’s just make their work easier/more efficient.

What’s a view that you hold but can’t defend?

If your number is up, it’s up but you don’t have to give it better odds.

What will the future killer Mixed Reality app do?

If only I had a magic ball to see the future! I’m sure it’ll be something we can’t even imagine yet.

My gut says ability to present amazing amounts of information instantaneously in ways that are understood immediately in a format customised to the person needing it.

What book have you recommended the most?

It has to be a tight race between Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger.

10 Questions with Kyle “G”

kyle

Kyle Gomboy is among a class of entrepreneurs who hopped on the the mixed reality train when the HoloLens pulled it out of the station a year ago and has been hustling ever since to create a niche AR business in that slice between large scale projects and indie dev freelance contracts. Founder and CEO of Wavelength, LLC, he is the head curator of the open source Project-Infrared for HoloLens as well as a prominent member of the HoloDevelopers.slack community.

 

What movie has left the most lasting impression on you?

Easy. Star Wars. I’m 47 and have a wall full of my childhood Star Wars toys. But more recently Ghost in the Shell blew me away with an accurate view of holograms and mixed reality.

What is the earliest video game you remember playing?

Pong. My grandmother learned she could beat me by rotating the controller really fast.

Who is the person who has most influenced the way you think?

For life my mother. For art Syd Mead. For software Bill Gates.

When was the last time you changed your mind about something?

It changes constantly. It’s really annoying. Or maybe it isn’t.

What’s a programming skill people assume you have but that you are terrible at?

I don’t think anyone assumes I have programming skills. I have kind of a dead eye stare like nobody’s home.

What inspires you to learn?

The work of others. I’m jealous of everyone.

What do you need to believe in order to get through the day?

Nothing. I have come close to exiting the planet many times for various reasons and am now just happy having a day to get through.

What’s a view that you hold but can’t defend?

That I’m good at C#. Or anything else.

What will the future killer Mixed Reality app do?

Teach people in new and better ways. Like Lucas Rizzotto’s chemistry app.

What book have you recommended the most?

Jason Odom’s HoloLens book.

10 Questions with Joost van Schaik

joost

Joost is the winner of the 13th HoloLens Challenge and the author of the Dotnet by Example blog, which has provided some of the best intermediate HoloLens tutorials available on the internet. He’s also been a Netherlands Microsoft MVP for almost a decade. Here are Joost’s answers to the 10 questions:

 

What movie has left the most lasting impression on you?

The Neverending Story, 1984. I still love it. I strongly identify with the kid Bastian. It feels like my younger self.

What is the earliest video game you remember playing?

Not sure, I think Donkey Kong on one of those mini LCD consoles (remember those?). It may also have been “Manic Miner” on a friend’s Sinclair Spectrum.

Who is the person who has most influenced the way you think?

My wife. She taught me that there’s an important difference between being intelligent (having raw IQ) and actually being smart and that women can be just as tough (if not more) than men. She also taught me that people who believe other things than you can be smart people as well.

When was the last time you changed your mind about something?

A few weeks ago. I finally caved in and bought an Android phone. My 950XL started to have hardware issues and I could not buy replacements anymore. It sucks, but it does what it needs to do and I can get by with it.

What’s a programming skill people assume you have but that you are terrible at?

Almost everything. Self-doubt is my second name. I actually continue to surprise myself when I pull something off.

What inspires you to learn?

Shiny new things. Something that really catches my imagination. No well-travelled roads. I love to be at a place where trail blazing still can happen.

What do you need to believe in order to get through the day?

Two things: 1 – I can make a difference 2 – (vulnerable moment here) there’s someone waiting at home who loves me no matter what.

What’s a view that you hold but can’t defend?

Hard one. My political view is that prosperity should be more equally distributed for the good of all. Even in the Netherlands that’s pretty left of center; in the USA I would probably be scaled to the left of Bernie Sanders. I also know this will never happen because of human nature.

What will the future killer Mixed Reality app do?

Collaboration. I imagine a meeting room with no one actually there. I imagine seeing people there that literally seem to be present. I imagine working, talking, socializing with people from all over the world with no one actually needing to board an airplane and go through all that hoopla. I imagine this getting so ingrained into society that the value of actually and virtually meeting are seen as (almost) identical. The impact this will have on productivity, social interaction and – leftist again – the environment and thus the climate will be amazing.

What book have you recommended the most?

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Especially to people who say they understand the monomaniac geek’s mind – which they invariably never do. They also never read it, because it looks too geeky on the outside.

10 Questions with Gianni Rosa Gallina

gianni

Gianni is a Windows Embedded, Emerging Experiences and now Windows Development MVP from Turin, Italy. He is perhaps best known for his Pluralsight courses on virtual and augmented reality. An expert on Kinect programming, he moved on to HoloLens development and architecture at about the same time that the Microsoft Kinect team evolved into the Microsoft HoloLens team.

 

What movie has left the most lasting impression on you?

Back to the Future (fate is not written and if you really want to do something, you can).

What is the earliest video game you remember playing?

“Sopwith” on my very first PC when I was 3, an Olivetti PC1.

Who is the person who has most influenced the way you think?

My parents. “Think well before talking or acting, and you will never regret the consequences.

When was the last time you changed your mind about something?

Earlier this week.

What’s a programming skill people assume you have but that you are terrible at?

Very low level programming. I can do that if really needed, but I don’t very much like low level stuff with 0s & 1s and raw signals. Fortunately, there are lots of people who love it.

What inspires you to learn?

I love learning because tomorrow I can create something new by mixing & matching skills or—the most important—teach or explain something new to somebody else.

What do you need to believe in order to get through the day?

That what I do is something useful for somebody else.

What’s a view that you hold but can’t defend?

Technology is the key to solving most human needs and problems.

What will the future killer Mixed Reality app do?

Seamlessly assist and help in our everyday life with tasks, adapting to context and knowing (or guessing) what we are about to do and anticipating our requests or needs.

What book have you recommended the most?

Michael Crichton’s sci-fi novels.

10 Questions with Dwight Goins

dwight

Despite living only a short drive from Magic Leap headquarters, Dwight is a hardcore HoloLens developer. More than that, he is a huge advocate for programming Mixed Reality apps using Direct3D for improved performance. He has also dived into HoloLens Remoting to display 3D models composed of over a million polygons. Here are Dwight’s answers to the 10 questions:

 

What movie has left the most lasting impression on you?
It’s not 1 but a couple… The Matrix, Hidden Figures.

Matrix because of the hacker turned save the world only to realize the real world is really a hack of computers and virtual reality is what we think is the real world.

Hidden Figures because the original “computers” at NASA were a group of African American Female mathematicians, just to think that is my mother, sister, wife, and daughters, and I am from them, the original compute-ador…

What is the earliest video game you remember playing? Ping Pong, Moebius, Leisure suite Larry, and this EA sports baseball on an Atari 2800 where you had to take a cassette tape and load it to play it based on stats and probabilities.

Who is the person who has most influenced the way you think?
My Godfather – a Humanities and religious master teacher from the University of Cairo. Interestingly enough he has nothing to do with Computers or tech, but he is the person who advised me to go into computer programming.

When was the last time you changed your mind about something?
Right before typing this sentence you read now.

What’s a programming skill people assume you have but that you are terrible at?
Problem with this question is I’ll never let you know, because if I don’t know it, I’ll learn it, either I’ll get a book, or take a course on it and you’ll never know.

What inspires you to learn?
The better question for me is what expires me to learn. I’ll answer the inspire first. The first is my relatives. Because they relate to me on so many different levels. The internal conversations, and thoughts provided give me advice on what to do and not to do. However sometimes the internal communication is lacking because I don’t know enough, thus I must continue learning. 

The external factors or what expires me is the previous question above. People make a lot of assumptions and they prejudge you on the color of your skin, or your hair texture, your eyes, your sexiness, handsomeness, or your dress, or gender. Rather than looking at the fruit of your labor: works, applications, speeches, and writings. I’ve always been taught to assume is to be an ass of you to me, and the ignorance that comes from assumptions should be a learning experience. Sometimes I’m the learner, sometimes I’m the teacher. It goes both ways. Watching and learning others’ assumptions and removing mine is what expires.

What do you need to believe in order to get through the day?
I don’t accept the need. The day will happen with or without you. The better question is what can you do to make the day a day of remembrance for someone else.

What’s a view that you hold but can’t defend?
Not a view worth discussing.

What will the future killer Mixed Reality app do?
Hopefully it won’t be a killer app, but rather a growing and learning (AI) one that enhances your every day life to make things easier, healthier, and all around better. For example, an AI assistant that monitors and displays your vital signs and notifies you when it would be a good time to get a glass of water, or there are toxic gases around so it would be a good time to leave the immediate area.

What book have you recommended the most?
Still counting…

10 Questions with Sean Ong

sean_ong

Sean is a fixture on the HoloLens Developers Slack group and probably one of the busiest freelance HoloLens devs in the business. He is based out of Seattle, already a hotbed for AR and VR innovation, works on cool community projects like myxd3D, and recently did the first known unboxing video for the new Acer MR headset.

What movie has left the most lasting impression on you?
Minority Report comes to mind. I remember thinking that the future depicted in that movie looked very cool, but somehow very achievable. Sure enough, I’ve seen a majority of that technology come to fruition over the past several years. Holograms and AR are what’s next!

What is the earliest video game you remember playing?
My first game system was the Nintendo Entertainment System (I used the Japanese version of it, called Famicom). I think it was the original Super Mario Bros.

Who is the person who has most influenced the way you think?
Probably my dad. He always had great advice and made me focus on the bigger picture. The “why” of what I do, and not the “what.”

When was the last time you changed your mind about something?
Just a few minutes ago. I keep an open mind, and not afraid to change my opinions based on the best available information.

What’s a programming skill people assume you have but that you are terrible at?
Coding in C#, and software engineering in general. I can hack my way through anything, but I don’t have a background in software development.

What inspires you to learn?
The excitement of seeing things progress, pushing new frontiers, and knowing that I’m at the forefront of building our future.

What do you need to believe in order to get through the day?
I need to take a step back, get my head out of the “now” and look forward into the future. I need to remind myself why I do what I do, and how today is only a small but necessary step in the journey.

What’s a view that you hold but can’t defend?
I don’t like holding views I can’t defend. Some of my moral, religious, and social views may not have definitive right/wrong answers – but I can still defend why I hold those views while still understanding why others may not.

What will the future killer Mixed Reality app do?
Enabling everyone to be part of a shared mixed reality experience that can be viewed through mixed reality devices. An augmented world that co-exists in the same location as our physical world.

What book have you recommended the most?
I’d need to think a bit more about the book question. 🙂

Authentically Virtual