Fun Java Applets

These are applets that I wrote either to learn how to do something in Java or to figure out how to implement some particular type of algorithm. But mostly they just ended up being fun to write! Some are now quite old and cranky…

Plain-Text Cryptogram Solver

Every time I solved a cryptogram in the newspaper I realized I followed a pretty consistent approach. Sounded like something a computer could do better than me! Many cryptograms that you encounter in the newspaper use puns with alternate spellings of normal English words. My program attempts to complete as many of the ‘normal’ words as possible and then uses the uncoded alphabet to complete the unknown, alternate words. There may of course be more than one solution in this case; the more words in the cryptogram, the more likely the resulting solution will be unique. I simply print the first one that is found. It can get stuck occasionally—please forgive me! To quote a famous GIS manufacturer, “that’ll be fixed in the next release…”


I used to play Microsoft Mine Sweeper obsessively. So I had to figure out how it worked. Here’s a much more exciting version with deadly consequences…


This is an ancient applet that somehow continues to work in contemporary Java environments. Click letters on the keyboard to guess. If you can’t get it to work on the first click, try pushing the New Word button and it usually kicks in after that.

Cat Clock

This just makes me happy. Enjoy.

Time Calculator

Before Excel and about a million web conversion devices did this kind of stuff, I wrote a program to determine elapsed time between one event and another. I was keeping track of intern payroll timesheets at the time and got pretty tired of calculating how much time had passed from 8:45 am to 3:30 pm.