One thing I can rule out immediately is a lateral move to Java or Delphi or whatever other programming language within the Windows ecosystem. That doesn't get at the heart of my issues; if I'm going to do this, I want to leave behind not just the one part of the Microsoft universe, but, to the greatest extent possible, all of it. That pretty much means finding a way to make a living with Mac or Linux (or leaving computers entirely).
I've been in white box hardware sales before. It requires a fair amount of capital, and the profit margins stink. I don't want to go there again.
Sales, Management, Administration...
Been there, done that. I have plenty of sales and managerial experience, both within and without the computer industry, in my background. I suspect that if I tried I could land such a job again. But this isn't a good fit with homeschooling our kids, working at home, or generally staying sane.
Yup, been there done that too. And I'm never going to do that much travel again.
The siren song of becoming a MicroISV, writing, and selling my own software product is always there. But realistically, I doubt this is practical. Even on the Windows platform it's a crapshoot. On Linux, no one pays for software, and on Mac, the potential sales numbers are lower than on Windows. I might do some software writing as self-promotion but I don't see it as a cash cow.
Put this one in the self-promotion category too. Writing computer books hasn't been a viable career for several years. Articles bring in some extra cash but they don't pay the rent.
There's some potential here. The Larkware site brings in a decent second income from advertising. Potentially I could replicate that in a new realm; I know how to digest and present information.
Always the fallback...I suspect there will always be Web sites or line of business apps to be written, and some of those can be written on non-Windows platforms (especially when we're talking about Web delivery). I wouldn't get rich doing this, but I wouldn't starve either.
Decisions, decisions...one thing I do know, though: if I don't put time into Vista/Office 2007/.NET 3.0/"Orcas" then my current income streams will dry up within 2 or 3 years. So there's a definite time limit to figuring this out.