Becoming a member

Welcome to Jumbalaya! Please send mail if you have suggestions, questions, or bug reports. There is a Jumbalaya Yahoo group that serves as a discussion area. Anyone is welcome to join.

Jumbalaya will keep going for now while I figure out the answers to a few technical questions (such as how much it's using in terms of resources). While it requires little in the way of maintenance, I honestly didn't think anyone was still playing. -Conrad

03:01:52 Play | Games | FAQ | Help | Contact

Frequently Asked Questions

* How do I chat?

After you start or join a game, you'll get a "Waiting for the game to start" page. Type your message in the box next to the Check Time button then press the button. You can also chat after the game, on the results page.

* How do I join the mailing list?

Just send the message subscribe jumbalaya to

* The results are incomplete.

Try the "Check Results / Chat" button. Results are updated as players submit their lists of words they found, and pressing that button will get you a fresh copy.

* There's something wrong with the dictionary
Valid words are missing from the dictionary
There are bogus words in the dictionary

If you found a word that the computer didn't recognize, check the Merriam Webster site and see if it recognizes your word - if so (and it's not capitalized), send us a note. You can also send us a note if the computer got credit for a word you're sure isn't actually a word (look it up in the MW dictionary to check). Note that proper nouns aren't valid in the game, and aren't in the dictionary for that reason.

* Someone's being really rude in chat

You can keep their chat from showing up on your screen by using the "block" command. Just type /block badhandle into the chat box. To unblock them, type /unblock badhandle. To see who you're currently blocking, type /blocks.

* I join a game then my machine crashes

Seems to happen to Windows machines, and might be related to client-pull messages (which cause your browser to go grab the warning telling you to go Back and do something).

keefer reports that Windows browsers leak resources when handling forms, and suggests that you check your Resource Meter (win95). When your system resources dip below 20%, restart your browser. recordman and Hockey_Freak report that using your Back button after a game to get back to the games page (rather than using the button bar) helps. Also, if you're using MSIE 3, upgrading to MSIE 4 may help.

A report from recordman: If at the end of each game, you return to the start page via Jumbalaya in your favorites menu you should have no problems with crashing. I, along with Ratamacue have been doing this for months now and have had no problems since. We both used to crash constantly before doing this.

A newer (12/02/98) report from recordman for those running MSIE under Windows: Hi gang, I notice quite a few people are still crashing and I assume they are using MSIE with Windows. I found a much easier way to avoid this. I have Jumbalaya as my home or start up page and at the end of each game instead of following the links provided I simply click on "HOME" to get back. I have been doing this for the better part of a year and have not crashed once. Hope this might be of some help.

The use of warnings is optional. They're on by default for taking you from the "Waiting" page to the game, but you can turn them off by updating your handle info.

* What are the rankings?

They hopefully represent how strong a game you played apart from the actual score you got, and is the formula we're using to handicap the computer when you play against it. So a ranking of 5 is saying that you played as the computer would have played if you had it play at level 5. It takes into account the # of words appearing in the grid, how long the game was and the length of the words that you found.

For those who just have to know, here's the formula. Don't say we didn't warn you.

Rank is figured separately for each length of word in the grid, then they're summed (in a pro-rated way, so if 5-letter words are 30% of the words, that ranking is 30% of the total ranking).

N = number words of that length in the grid
D = duration of game in minutes
L = word length
P = percentage of words of that length player found

Rank = 4.95 + (P - (74.6 / (N + 185)) + (.05 * (L - 5)) - (.05 * (D - 5))) / .0516

* What the heck is "Fibonacci"?

It's either
  • A new item on the Starbucks menu, or
  • Lamborghini's low-end commuter car, or
  • A mathematical sequence in which the next number is the sum of the previous two: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55 ...

* How do I update my handle info?

Just go to the update form.

* Can I use warnings? What's client-pull?

Client-pull is a way for the server to tell your browser "ask for this page in a little while". To see if it works, go to the client-pull test page. If it works, you can use warnings.

* How do I know if the timer works for me?

The timer is an animated GIF. To see if your browser can handle those, go to the timer test page. If it can, you can use the timer when you play.

* Okay, the timer's SUPPOSED to work for me, but it doesn't
I'm having problems getting pages/authenticating/going back
My browser is Microsoft's Internet Explorer (or the AOL browser)

Some users have reported a problem with the timer working a few times but then no longer counting down, or just counting down part way and getting stuck. It seems to happen mostly with Microsoft Internet Explorer (MSIE), so the best fix is actually to switch to Netscape. MSIE does things kind of strange that we've seen cause various problems for users, and in our opinion Netscape is a better browser in general, and certainly causes fewer problems for our users.

If you don't want to switch, there are some options in your browser you can try changing that might help - under the "View" menu item, go to "Options" then "Advanced" then under "Temporary Internet Files" select "Settings" and on that page see what your setting for "Check for Newer Versions" is. If it isn't "Every Visit to the Page", go ahead and switch to that, and try whatever you were having problems with again.

If you've got MSIE 4.0 and can no longer get to some pages (for example, this one), you may need to turn off the use of HTTP/1.1 in View/Internet Options/Advanced, and then restart Windows.

* How do I build one of those cool 6-by-6 racks?

Leonard Kaufer has written plans for building a 6-by-6 board. Check it out!

* The timer works for one game, then stays red.

This appears to happen most often with Netscape 6.2. Check the cache settings and make sure that it is set to check the URL every time. The vendors usually set that to "Once per session" and then you get the image from your local disk cache and not from the server.

03:01:52 Play | Games | FAQ | Help | Contact