I'm pretending that I don't have assignments to get started on, and so I've slowly but surely plodded on with some pet project coding.
The main thing I've been working on is porting our old RCP-based budget app to Swing. I wrote this back in '07 when we were trying to get to grips with our finances in a new country where we had no sense of how much stuff cost, and I did it as an Eclipse RCP app because back in '07 I though that would be a fun thing to learn. By 2008 I'd decided that of all the things could devote my time to, writing RCP apps was not one of them. Development on the app stagnated.
I toyed with the idea of rewriting the budget app in another language, but since most of the Java logic was GUI-agnostic, I decided late last year to settle on whipping up a Swing gui to bolt onto the existing logic, and make do with that. Glad I did - for very little investment in time I've gotten a lot of functionality working in Swing. Swing and I might just - just - be making friends.
The other thing I've slowly started tinkering on is an app which will, if I get it done, scratch about a dozen personal itches. Back in the early 00's I wrote a Notes app which kept track of backed up files (I want file X backed up at time Y, what backup DVD is it on?). In the mid-00's I started thinking and then working on a thing I called 'metalib' - a way to organise metadata about technical documents (and anything else, really). (memory lane, here and here). I got sidetracked very quickly at the time and got no further.
With recent hard drive purchases and data shuffling (come to think of it, the past 4 and a half years in the UK have been an unholy mess of shuffling files from one backup drive to another), I had similar headaches (where are these files? what's changed? is this backup directory substantially different to that directory?)
I got to thinking about all of this stuff again. At the heart of all of these headaches is needing a way to store data about files on a drive (or removable media) and have easy ways to do intelligent things with that information. I'd be nuts to pretend that I've got time to develop anything monstrous... but I reckon something to accumulate data is a useful start.