I think this might be a bug (or feature). If I make the columns_name parameter equal to 0, the applet will not display (although I have columns_description = 50). Any ideas?
I just double-checked by creating a test page with the "columns_name" parameter set to "0" and the "columns_description" parameter set to "50".... and everything appeared to work fine for me.
I would suggest double-checking that your CODEBASE is set correctly ... otherwise, give me the URL and I will take a look at it.