April 19, 2002

Q: I love to play Pogo on my two-year-old Windows 98 PC. However, the Website that hosts Pogo no longer works for me; I receive a message that says my Java applets need to be updated or something to that effect.

Why doesn't Pogo work? What do I have to download? Help me, I'm addicted!

A: While surfing the Web you often need special browser software, known as a browser plug-in, to view certain Websites. The plug-in software adds features to your browser. For example, many sites require Flash plug-in software to see animation.

In your case, the games you play require Sun Microsystems' Java Plug-in. Like the Flash plug-in, the Java Plug-in adds new functionality to your browser through applets. Applets are small Java-based programs -- such as your Pogo game -- that download from a Webpage.

It sounds like the Pogo Website you visit switched to a newer Java version. While the switch is a bit annoying, adding the new Java Plug-in to your browser is an easy process:

  1. Go to the Java Plug-in download page at http://java.sun.com/getjava/download.html.
  2. Click the big, purple download button; the download should start automatically.
  3. If a security warning box appears asking whether you want to install and run the Java Plug-in, click "Yes."
  4. The installer must first download Java, which could take between 15 and 30 minutes on a 56-Kbps dial-up connection (less for high-speed connections). Once it's downloaded, the Java Plug-in will install just like any other Windows program.
  5. If you need help, read the step-by-step directions on the Java Plug-in download page. But if you want a quick install, simply agree to everything by pressing the "Yes" or "Next" buttons whenever you see them. If you stay away from the "No" and "Cancel" buttons, the Java Plug-in will install without any problems.

For a link to more Java-based games, see Resources.

Tony Sintes is an independent consultant and founder of First Class Consulting, Inc., a consulting firm that specializes in bridging disparate enterprise systems and training. Outside of First Class Consulting, Tony is an active freelance writer, as well as author of Sams Teach Yourself Object-Oriented Programming in 21 Days (Sams, 2001; ISBN: 0672321092).

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