Frequently Asked Questions about the Lottery Chat Room
- What's the URL for the Lottery Chat Room ?
http://lottery.merseyworld.com/Chat.html, but be warned that this could change soon if I expand its features.
- What browser do I need to enter the Lottery Chat Room ?
The Lottery Chat Room is powered by a Java applet, so you require a WWW browser that
supports Java. Initial reports suggest that Netscape 3.X browsers may have
problems connecting, so I would suggest at least Netscape 4.X or
Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.X. Make sure that you have enabled the Java
option on your browser of course !
- Who wrote the Java applet used by the Lottery Chat Room ?
For the first time on these pages, a program is being used that wasn't written
by me ! Neil Harkin, an ex-colleague,
wrote the Java applet.
- When I go to the Lottery Chat Room page, no-one's ever there ! Why ?
Confusingly, the current release of the chat room applet doesn't list who's
connected or any of their chat messages unless you actually connect to the chat
room by typing in your Nickname and pressing Return. You must actually join
the chat room to see the list of connected users.
- So when are you in the Lottery Chat Room then ?
Every UK lottery TV show will be commentated live in the Lottery Chat Room, so
you will find me there every Wednesday and Saturday evening (see the Lottery Chat Room
for the exact times). Yes, you can ask me questions during that time too and
I'll do my best to answer them whilst juggling with the lottery page updates.
- Why is there an idle timeout ?
This is because the applet remains running throughout your
browsing session unless you click on the "Close" button in the applet.
If you connect to Lottery Chat Room and then browse other pages for a
couple of hours in the same session, you would remain connected to (and
idle on) the chat server for that time if there wasn't a timeout, which
would be wasting a connection that could be usefully used by someone else.
The current idle timeout for the Lottery Chat Room is 20 minutes - you will be warned
with one minute to go that disconnection is imminent.
- Why is there sometimes a discrepancy between the "Who's In" list and the output from the "Who" button ?
Looks like a bug to me :-( It appears that when users leave the chat room,
they aren't always removed from the "Who's In" list. The "Who" button is
always accurate though.
- Is there a limit to the number of connected users ?
Yes, this has been set to a grand total of 50 across all the chat
rooms we support on this Web server.
- Do you log what goes on in the chat rooms ?
Yes. Everything that's ever typed in ends up in a log file. We keep
the last 31 days of conversations, which probably need analysing in various
ways when I get the time to write something to do that !
- Why am I temporarily disconnected from the Lottery Chat Room at about midnight ?
We restart all chat rooms across the Connect domains at approximately
midnight GMT. This is for two reasons - one is that it's "cutting
edge technology" (the server side is written in Java too) and is known to
crash on rare occasions and the other reason is that it allows for the
rotation of the aforementioned log file.
- Can I use offensive words on the Lottery Chat Room ?
Use of offensive words in a chat room is such an anti-social thing to do that
we have implemented a "3 strikes and you're out" policy w.r.t. offensive words
in addition to censoring all the common offensive words.
If you use an offensive word three times in a single session (each time you do
so, you get an increasingly stern warning from the applet), then you are
thrown out of the Lottery Chat Room and your IP address is permanently banned across all our
- Why can't I type entirely in capital letters ?
Typing words entirely in upper case is anti-social - there's no need for it
at all in a chat room. Hence, entirely upper case words are now forced to
lower case (mixed case words remain the same). Also note that the first
letter of the first word typed in a line is auto-capitalised now.
- Why are there 7 balls below the chat room on draw night ?
There's a second applet below the chat room applet between 7.30pm GMT and
midnight GMT on Wednesdays and Saturdays. This applet shows the 7
balls graphically - as each
number is drawn, the applet graphic updates appropriately and I can force
a sort at any time. Also, the chat room itself relays the winning numbers,
along with a TV show-like phrase (pre-generated, just like Alan Dedicoat
has !) to accompany each number. It's just like being there ! This second
applet was written by a colleague, "Fish".