Well, it's official now: I'm on my own. The previous place went through some recent turbulence which, combined with the fact that I was once again the only developer working on a product, got me looking elsewhere. And where did I wind up? Right back where I started, basically, except I have much more freedom than before.
Most of my time is contractually spoken for by one of my previous employers, which means stability. But the company I just left is (80% sure) going to hire me for projects and training as well. Hopefully this will be a good excuse for me to get out and meet people and see what else is around too -- something I don't always naturally do.
Before I left, I gave three days of training on the product I've been working on for the last six months along with the whole J2EE/EJB/... framework. It seemed to go well, but I noticed a disturbing tendency in myself to talk in abstractions rather than use concrete analogies. For one of them one of our more creative developers rescued me: in talking about serialization, he made the analogy that you can talk about food over the phone (a serializable object) but you can't send a big mac over the phone (a non-serializable object).
I'm going to miss working in the same office as these guys -- they could be crude at times, but always clever and rarely mean-spirited. We'll see what develops.
(Originally posted elsewhere)