Next month: August 2002
No problem with the live chat room commentary and draw, plus the official Web site, after dubiously being unavailable for about 30 minutes immediately around the draw [overload again I suspect because of tonight's rollover], did get the full results first, albeit about an hour after the draw.
Well, it's the end of an era - after 7 years of being part of the University of Liverpool (strictly speaking, we were part of the Department of Computer Science, but that's on paper only - we are about half a mile from them and have no CS staff working in our building), the Connect organisation will be spun off at midnight tonight into a new company - "Connect Internet Solutions Limited".
We remain on the campus of the University of Liverpool (but may eventually move into new off-campus premises in the medium term future) and this site continues to be hosted from our campus premises under its usual Web address, so no change there. Our ISP connections (to Telewest and Legend) have been commercial for years anyway, so it means nothing needs to be changed w.r.t. connectivity.
Bizarre things then happened w.r.t. to the full results - Camelot were generally pathetic on their phone line as usual, taking 75-80 minutes to deliver full results which their own official Web site had some 30 minutes earlier (though the official site strangely only had the number of Pick 4 HotPicks winners [no Pick 2 or Pick 3 winners] for a good 30 minutes). BBC teletext nestled inbetween the two as you might expect.
The official lottery site was, for the second consecutive Wednesday, surprisingly sluggish, failing again to have the full results before any of the usual sources. BBC teletext got the full results up first, but they got the number of HotPicks Pick 2 winners wrong.
Although the official site was indeed the quickest this evening, they accidentally transcribed the lottery machines for the main and Extra draws (swapping over Vyvyan and Guinevere). I phoned up Camelot and told them about the problem, although it hadn't been fixed by midnight.
A couple of minor notes about the official site's HotPicks results page (sorry, can't link to it because of the dynamic nature of the site):
Firstly, the draw number for HotPicks should surely be 682 less than the main Lotto draw number (e.g. main draw number 685 is HotPicks draw number 3, but the official site dubiously claims it's HotPicks draw number 685).
Secondly, the terminologies "Match 4 of 4", "Match 3 of 3" and "Match 2 of 2" are strange. I can understand "Match 4 of 6" and maybe the convoluted "Match 4 of 6 from 49", but the official site's way of stating it just seems eccentric to say the least. I ended up just calling them "Pick 4", "Pick 3" and "Pick 2", which is what the HotPicks playslip designates them as.
If that wasn't enough, the Extra "mini balls" on the home page refused to be generated with this evening's Extra numbers (they had Wednesday's), so I removed the image and displayed text numbers until I got it sorted [and don't ask me how I sorted it - they just eventually decided to be generated when I asked them nicely]. Fixed another home page w.r.t. the number of 4 from 6 Hotpicks winners (wasn't displaying the right number).
After all that code fiddling, it was interesting to see that tonight's fastest source of full results was actually the official lottery site, which had them about 15 minutes before Camelot's phone line and an amazing 30 minutes before BBC teletext.
Fixed the Lotto HotPicks table in the hi-res versions of the individual lottery pages.
Started coding bits'n'pieces for HotPicks - I initially thought I should have a separate data file from the main Lotto and also a completely separate section, but then I thought that was pointless because there's a direct tie-in between the main game and HotPicks. Hence, the table of HotPicks results was put on the appropriate individual main lottery page and comments on each Hotpick game will be on each individual main lottery page too. Interesting to note that the game has basically cancelled itself out w.r.t. overall ticket sales across Camelot's online games - what HotPicks gained was almost all lost by drops in the main and Extra games.
Amusingly, on the very day of the first HotPicks draw, I received my annual main Lotto subscription form through the post. I was a bit surprised that the form failed to mention HotPicks at all, so maybe you can't subscribe to that game ?
This allowed me to beat BBC teletext to them, but the official site is (finally...) becoming a force to reckon with, because I suspect that they are now getting the full results the same as the Camelot phone line that I ring gets them. This allowed them to beat me by a couple of minutes, which is pretty unusual.
Camelot re-ordered their phone line options again (presumably in the build-up to next week's launch of the Lotto HotPicks game) - it's now *14 (like it was until the Lotto re-launch) at the end of the phone number rather than *15.
Previous month: June 2002