I used to be a Java programmer and believe it or not that was a cool thing to be back around 1996. I came straight from assembler programming and started by writing all the usual graphics hacks (plasma, water, rotating texture, etc) as applets. Symantec used my Plasma applet to demo the effectiveness of the very first JIT for Java. My reward was free copies of the Symantec Cafe IDE -- the sales guy would slip me a copy on some out-of-the-way FTP server after each new major release.
Then I was paid real actual proper money to write the video game Araknoid for some crazy Norwegians. Then I wrote a bunch of menu applets for a local ISP that were marketed as Menus on Rocketfuel and even appeared shrinkwrapped in some shops in Brisbane (but admittedly they were pretty lame).
Java was actually cool all the way up to the point when the Enterprise this Enterprise that people arrived on the scene. Now they're knocking on Erlang's door so there goes that neighbourhood too! It's hard to find a safe refuge these days :-)
(I'm reminded of all this after playing some Puzzlefarter.)