What's New On These Pages: April 1998
Next month: May 1998
- Wednesday 29th April
Well, that was "interesting" tonight. We were upgrading the Net
connection for our intranet from 10Mbit/s to 155Mbit/s tonight and,
well, I just couldn't get onto my work machine for quite a while
to generate pages. I could still do the live TV show commentary
and live update of course, but I couldn't immediately generate
the post-draw stats.
Whilst attempting to phone up Camelot (who took a belated 50 minutes
to release the results), I eventually got onto my work machine via
an indirect route and managed to carefully generate the pages with
the full results. All of this still, amazingly, beat both ITV and BBC
teletext to the full results despite the utter chaos.
- Tuesday 28th April
Received the latest sales fax from Camelot and duly updated the pages.
Bought two more tickets for tomorrow's Super Draw.
- Sunday 26th April
Someone in an obscure Web-based newsgroup has been posting up the answer
to the latest virtual lottery before the closing date, so I made an addition
to the virtual lottery rules to disallow this.
- Saturday 25th April
The TV show commentary and live update went OK - this time Camelot released
the full results "only" 45 minutes after the draw. This meant that my
full results update tied with ITV teletext and beat BBC teletext. Fixed a
5+bonus bug with the Ticket Checker
that seemed to escape my notice for months (it basically wasn't flagging
5+bonus wins !).
- Thursday 23rd April
Bought another couple of tickets for Saturday's rollover draw.
- Wednesday 22nd April
The TV show commentary and live update went OK, but Camelot took over
an hour again to update the full results. Yet again, the BBC update
beat everyone (including myself, teletext and Camelot's phone line)
to announcing the number of jackpot winners - what a crazy situation !
I was annoyed that someone
hogged the phone at my house and wouldn't get off it when I wanted to
phone Camelot, but the delayed issuing of the results luckily meant
this didn't matter.
I've fine-tuned the rollover jackpot estimate to make sure it only
picks the same type (i.e. the same day) of rollover to do its
estimates and I also extended its use of previous rollovers
for estimates from a maximum of 6 months old to a maximum of a year old.
Even after all of this, it still came up with an £11 million estimate
for Saturday's rollover jackpot, which is perhaps a little conservative.
Received the weekly fax from Camelot and duly updated the pages.
It corrected the scratchcard figure from a couple of weeks ago that I got
manually from the phone line last week.
- Saturday 18th April
The TV show commentary and live draw in the chat room was OK, but the
Live Updates system decided not to write out the new data line of results,
so I had to type that in manually (grrr...). Also, Camelot took an
absolute age to issue the full results (just over an hour - twice
as long as usual) and even the BBC read their TV update out before Camelot's
phone line had the full results ! Tied with ITV teletext for the full
results update and beat BBC teletext.
Never received a sales fax from Camelot this week (Julie is off ill),
so had to phone them up today and get the figures.
- Wednesday 15th April
The chat room was at least well populated tonight leading up to the usual
live update. Camelot took an age (well, 40 minutes) to release the results,
so I seemed to tie with ITV teletext for them.
- Monday 13th April
Someone e-mailed me and asked if the headings of the comma-separated data
output from the various sections could have commas too. What sounded like
an easy task soon became a nightmare (you won't believe how much
code I've got just for the headers of the pre-formatted or comma-separated
output !), but I finally managed it.
- Saturday 11th April
Maybe we had network problems or something (Easter weekend didn't help
either), but no-one, apart from me, was in the chat room during the
live draw :-( I still updated live of course, plus put up the full
results quicker than anyone else. Amusingly, "Bernie" the virtual
presenter for the TV Home Play draw (voiced by Kate Robbins, who forgot to
read out the 4th number immediately it was drawn !), broke down for
the 1st and 2nd TV Home Play numbers - ha ha ! Plus they replaced
the drawmaster who messed up the first draw a fortnight ago, despite
Camelot saying they weren't going to sack him...
- Thursday 9th April
These pages set a single-day access record of 62,906 hits today.
Not bad considering some of the network problems we've been having
- Wednesday 8th April
The live TV show commentary and draw update went OK and there were a
reasonable number of people in the chat room this time (it helped that
got the draw time right tonight, unless like last Wednesday !).
Beat everyone to displaying the full results as usual.
Received the latest sales figures fax from Camelot and updated the pages
- Saturday 4th April
Well, today wasn't a good day, that's for sure. When I logged in at
lunchtime, the Web server processes had died, though that was fixable of
course. Next, the DNS name server seemed to be eating CPU like nobody's
business (a bit of a mystery that one). Finally, the chat room system seemed
to be intermittent at best and I had to restart it several times.
Despite all that, I did the live draw OK and also got the full results up
before anyone else as usual. Because it was a rollover draw, I spotted a dumb
sorting bug in the "Rollovers in Reverse Ticket Sales Order" page and I've
duly fixed it. I've transcribed the subscription leaflet I got yesterday.
- Friday 3rd April
Bought two more tickets for tomorrow's rollover. Also received
Camelot's new subscription leaflet (yes, 3.5 years after they started
their subscription service, they've finally released a leaflet about it !)
after a good 10 days sitting in the postal system whilst the Post Office
workers went on strike...
- Thursday 2nd April
Received the latest sales figures fax from Camelot and duly updated the
- Wednesday 1st April
A rather dumb mistake on my part meant that I'd put the old time for the
Wednesday draw on the various pages, despite tonight's show being moved
forward 15 minutes...no wonder the chat room was deserted :-)
Worse was to
come when my browser just refused to submit the Live Updates form to the
CGI after the second ball came out, meaning I had to type the numbers in
a window elsewhere, restart my browser and hack my data file manually
to put the numbers in ! Not a very good evening all round, but I still beat
everyone to the full results as usual (weird numbers and full results though).
It's a shame April Fools Day wasn't last Saturday with the TV Home Play
third ball fiasco, but it's no joke that GTech are to be thrown out of
the Camelot consortium, although they do get £51 million in the
buy-out and will continue to maintain the lottery computer systems
(no doubt charging a hefty fee for that..).
Previous month: March 1998