Re: HELP! Advice needed on "Am I too old for this industry"?
Some things might be harder at your age - but don't let that put you off, it should definitely be possible for someone like you to get in the field. Sounds like you've got a knack for problem solving, you're hard working and you're eager and keen. With the right qualifications and portfolio of work, you should be able to get your foot in the door and work up from there.
One piece of advice when it comes to interviews and the like - in the above you seemed to write off your current work / certification as something you couldn't use and isn't really relevant. Instead of that try and highlight all the areas that relate to programming (eg. problem solving) in your current area of work, talk about how you were good at that and therefore decided to investigate the programming field further. Something along those lines anyway - it looks much better than saying "I did x for a few years, didn't really get on with it and want to try something else."
Find an area you enjoy, build up a portfolio of work and go for it. If a company makes excuses and writes you off because of your age without looking at your skill set, then chances are that's not an environment you want to be working in anyway. Whilst there are (unfortunately) companies out there like this, there's many more, big and small, that do take the right approach and look at skills independent of age. If you were heading on for 60 I'd say it might be more of an issue (since then it gets to the point where companies don't want to train someone up for 2 years before they retire) but as you are now, the majority of companies shouldn't see that as a problem.
Save the whales, feed the hungry, free the mallocs.