10 Questions with Michael Washington

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Michael Washington, a decade-long Microsoft MVP out of Southern California, created one of the first blogs devoted to HoloLens development in 2016 called, conveniently, hololenshelpwebsite.  In those first few months after the HoloLens was released, he addressed many of the scenarios we are still struggling with today such as capturing room meshes and communicating between devices. I still don’t completely understand how he figured so much out about the inner workings of the HoloLens development platform in such a short period of time.

Besides his incredible work, though, what I find most fascinating about Michael’s relationship with the HoloLens is that he has moved on. While many of the rest of us early adopters are waiting to see how augmented reality, virtual reality, mixed reality, and x-reality all shake out – and amid conflicting and confusing news stories from companies like Meta and Magic Leap – Michael actually sold his HoloLens to help pay for a new car and is patiently waiting for the HoloLens 2 to come out. In the meantime, he has written a book, Azure Machine Learning for the Non-Data Scientist, and is digging deep into AI.

While most of the profiles in this series are about people currently doing development work around the HoloLens, I wanted to profile Michael because he also represents a significant portion of our ecosystem. He hasn’t abandoned the technology, but he has put a pin in it for now despite having invested a significant amount of time in it at one point. It’s worth remembering that the HoloLens device is pretty expensive (about the price of a family vacation or a used car), and the barrier to entry was substantial for developers who just wanted to get their hands on it to learn how to make holographic apps.

 

What movie has left the most lasting impression on you?
Unforgiven (Clint Eastwood) – It is a simple movie but actually deep and complex. They set off to do this simple thing to make some money. Along the way they run into “people” who have fears and motivations. They have to make hard decisions. It is an allegory for every software project I have ever worked on

What is the earliest video game you remember playing?
Asteroids on a table top in a hotel lobby.

Who is the person who has most influenced the way you think?
The Dalai Lama. Want to be happy, let go of attachments and expectations and have acceptance.

When was the last time you changed your mind about something?
I didn’t think it was important to have transgenders in the military until they threatened to take that away. Now I think it is important .

What’s a skill people assume you have but that you are terrible at?
SQL queries. I still use the designer even to do simple joins.

What inspires you to learn?
Knowing that I can use that knowledge to make people’s lives better.

What do you need to believe in order to get through the day?
That having acceptance of all things at all times will relieve all suffering.

What’s a view that you hold but can’t defend?
That having acceptance of all things at all times will relieve all suffering

What will the future killer Mixed Reality app do?
It will allow me to answer my emails while driving.

What book have you recommended the most?
Super Powereds. This guy is one of the best writers alive.

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