In keeping with my tradition of posting here approximately once per year, I'm going to note for posterity what I've been up to in recent months.
In the last year I have divided my time between lucrative consulting clients and unpaid work on my own business. My clients often hire me to help out on projects built primarily in Java; my theory is that rates for Java-related work outstrip those for other languages because they include "mental health danger money" that is required to compensate for loss of brain cells and pulled-out hair.
The greatest danger to a highly pragmatic consultant is the presence of Enterprise-minded "Architect" types. The cult of Deep Knowledge surrounding - and cultivated by - these over-serious individuals hinders the consultant's goal of just doing what is most appropriate. These types are characterised by the monotonically increasing complexity of their codebases, and their stressed response to requests for business-driven changes.
In contrast, bootstrapping my own business pays poorly but affords me the luxury of freely choosing and optimising my toolset, along with the satisfaction of moving faster and getting feedback sooner. Powered by a heady cocktail of Darcs, Rails, PostgreSQL, Debian, Trac and coffee, I have single-handedly built and launched a commercial baby web log site in a matter of months.
I expect to soon be blogging on my own site about what has worked for me, in the hope that other enterprising programmers will be encouraged to step up to their obligation to maximise their creative output.