I've tried a few HTML5 games and I don't think the browsers are ready yet. Of the games I played there was screen flicker and sound issues (mainly with screen and sound synchronization and sound mixing). You never see that with Flash games.
Are there any Microsoft products of importance that are programmed with
If you search for a Microsoft job, most are working with C# and C++. I interviewed at Microsoft in the past and there appears to be an extreme preference among their programmers to use C# because the majority of Bing/MSN code is in C#. I think Microsoft lacked the commitment because the prototypical Microsoft developer isn't interested in Ruby or Python. Those languages come with the baggage of social stigma: rogue developer, "non-enterprise", web monkey, low pay, low performance, 1 man startups, and "only for prototypes". It was clear to me developers inside Microsoft prefer C#.
I still type with 2 fingers as I am not willing to take the short term hit on productivity in order to change the habit of the last 27 years
I learned to touch type with Mario Teaches Typing. Seriously. Give it a try. It's a lot faster to learn touch typing if you already know the keyboard layout. Probably not more than a few hours to get the hang of it.
I think you should first decide which platform you want to work on then go for the tools commonly used on that. Platforms are basically Linux, Windows, or cellular/iphone/android. With your lack of tool experience and your absence it'll be a tough sell, so you've got to demonstrate you've got desire and motivation. I would first start working on something and setup a website showing off your work. Put your software on sourceforge or equivalent. Make it seem like you're busy and you've got things filling up your day.
You left out SQL on your list of languages. Knowing SQL is a must for probably 80% of the jobs out there. Try out MySQL or Postgres.
I would avoid pursuing a web developer only job. They are commonly populated by teams with young graphic designers and programmers. I think older people 40+ are discriminated against among those circles.
One other thing. It's been a while since you've interviewed for a programming job. Interviewing has changed a lot since the 1980's. Today there is a kind of interviewing culture (or perhaps "language") you should know about. Long gone are the days when recruiters took your word when you said you knew X, Y, and Z. Today you are generally expected to code on the whiteboard and get into nitty gritty details of algorithms and containers. This can really hit you hard if you've not thought about the material in years. Do some interviewing research. Google, Microsoft, Amazon seem to have the model everyone emulates. Read up on Programming Pearls, Programming Interviews Exposed, and reading list and blogs like codinghorror.com
You should know about the riddle/puzzle interviewing fad that swept the industry between the late 1990's and early 2000's. Ala How Would You Move Mount Fuji. The riddle interview fad has mostly passed (at least for programmers), but you never know if you'll get hit with one.
Did someone order waaaaaamburgers and french cries?
And you really think the colleagues using the software were footing the bill? Bullshit. It's about time developers stood up and demanded compensation for their inventions instead of letting idiot stock traders reap the rewards by pushing a few buttons.
Sure, you can find some older sites where it's rooted in their ecosystem (e.g., Amazon),
FYI: Your information about Amazon is old. Mason is disliked by most current Amazon SDEs and generally considered legacy crap. Calling it part of Amazon's ecosystem is just not accurate anymore. Maybe in year 2000, but not today. Sure there might be a couple teams left supporting mason but it's often some obscure admin tool used no one wants to touch. Clearly the vast majority of new Amazon dev work is in Java. A bunch of teams still crank out new Perl code but it's mostly infrastructure stuff without Mason. There is a bunch of C++ code but it's being slowly whittled away with Java replacements. A few a small projects are in Ruby/PHP/Python but those are minuscule.
Easy task have little value while difficult tasks have much value.
Not always the case. It's possible for hard tasks to have very little value. This occurs when the task is hard for the sake of being hard or hard due to poor design or implementation.
Silver Surfer for the NES. One of the most difficult NES games ever made yet it is a piece of trash because it is almost impossible to win. The game isn't worth playing because the reward is not proportional to the difficulty level. Many parts of the game existed only to make the game difficult--not to advance the story or make for engaging game play.
It is your destiny. - Darth Vader