Last Friday the Microsoft Technology Center in Waltham MA was pleased to again host a group from Year Up Rhode Island. I again gave a career talk. Unlike last time (NUI Whoops) I didn’t get fancy and try to use a Kinect to show off. During the lunch break the students did try out a Kinect and Xbox 360. The young man in the center of the picture below moved much better than I ever could.

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I talk about Kinect during my career talks these days because I firmly believe that we are right at the beginning of how it and devices like it will change how we interact with computers and through those computers with many part of our environments. It is enabling technology. To me computers, and especially software are at the heart of world changing opportunities.

The availability of the Kinect for Windows SDK and the relatively inexpensive Kinect sensor device opens many possibilities for new ideas and creative solutions. Perhaps even to solving “problems” we don’t even know we have.

Something else that I talk a lot about these days is the opportunity for young people with ideas, ambition and brains to start their own companies. Besides free tools for students to learn with (DreamSpark) there is the Microsoft BizSpark program to help start up companies get started on the Microsoft platform. And of course Cloud Computing services like Windows Azure allow new companies to focus on their applications without stressing out over buying and maintaining infrastructure. The people from Year Up (a group of them below staying awake while I talked) were a great audience. They asked good questions as well. That always makes for a more interesting event for everyone. I wish them all the best as they complete the Year Up program and move into the workforce full-time.

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