Listen well to the voice of experience. I went straight from high school to work as a programmer. Anyone who tells you that lack of a degree will not hold you back or will not get you a job - or that you wouldn't want those jobs anyway - has been fortunate or short-sighted. You need the degree for upward mobility and continued job security.
I worked full time while getting two associates, a bachelor's, and a master's (of sorts - long story). It's hard, even harder if you're married and have kids, but this is something you have to do for yourself and your family.
If you live in any sort of a big city, there's bound to be a college that offers night classes. That's the right way to do this. It won't be a diploma mill but the professors will care about you and will not be trying to wash you out or just see you as a paycheck. One side benefit is that you'll learn while going through the process. Maybe you know all there is about computers, but learning all the other courses you might think are BS, they'll help you think and speak and write.
Daley died years ago and he didn't write many books but his two-book Coramonde series is fantastic. Strongly suggest you pick up Doomfarers of Coramonde and try it. The book looks short but he builds a terrific world within it.
On a recent vacation, I used my HTC Thunderbolt as: a phone, a text message device, a satellite navigation unit (GPS), a web browser, an MP3 player, a game console, and a camera. Seven functions. When I started thinking about it, it can also be: a calculator, a flashlight, a notepad, a WiFi hub, a voice recorder, an FM radio, and a bubble level. I'm sure there's many more. Having all that functionality in one device in your pocket is incredible.
It's the computing equivalent of a Swiss Army knife. Get a smartphone and you'll love it.
What's next? The Cardboard Tube Samurai switching to steel?
The FDA has just approved for military use a shunt which allows partially-severed limbs to continue to get circulation. According to the article, "For most, it won't be a matter of saving a limb outright but rather salvaging the quality of a wounded leg or arm." This is because "The tubelike device is designed to connect the two ends of a severed blood vessel, providing a temporary bridge or shunt around a wound to restore blood flow to an
"We want to create puppets that pull their own strings." -- Ann Marion "Would this make them Marionettes?" -- Jeff Daiell