- Sunday 31st May
There were 1,201,622 hits to this site during the month, which is
a new all-time record for this site.
- Saturday 30th May
The live commentary and update went OK - I was the quickest to display
the full results again. Updated some of the background info w.r.t. TV Dreams
games and the recent rule change.
Still didn't have last week's full sales figures, so I phoned
Camelot for them (there's a fax at work, but I took a day off on
- Thursday 28th May
Finally got the print-out of balls in drawn order, machine and ball set
for all draws to date from Camelot through snail mail. Turns out I'd made
two errors with the ball set and one with the draw order. However, Camelot's
official site has the wrong ball set for draw #221 (it's ball set 1, not
ball set 2).
- Wednesday 27th May
The live TV show commentary (80% Spice :-) ) and the Live Update went
well. Camelot's phone line kept giving me a "dead" tone about 50%
of the time, but I still got the full results up before anyone else.
Camelot phoned me at work out of the blue and invited me to their Aintree
centre on 4th June to discuss what data I needed regularly sent to me.
I didn't really see the point in going for a meeting when I could
tell them what I needed over the phone. I'd mainly like electronic
versions of data [floppy disc, CD-ROM, e-mail or Web] I request,
rather than having to use the less reliable and slower phone or fax.
I told Camelot that on the phone and declined a visit to Aintree.
- Tuesday 26th May
Phoned Camelot over the discrepancies the new comparison code found, but
they only had results back to 1st April 1998 on their PCs, which is dismal !
I've requested that they send all the results by post, so I might get them
at the end of the week. Bought two more tickets for tomorrow's Super Draw.
Added code to compare my results (drawn order, machine and ball set)
with the official Camelot site's results and flag up any discrepancies.
It found four differences, which I'll query later this morning. A cron job
will run a couple of hours after each draw to do the results comparison
- Saturday 23rd May
The live TV show commentary and the live update (including the TV Home
Play numbers) went well and I had the full results before anyone else.
Added the TV Home Play numbers to the Live Updates system so that the home
page and chat room HTML now correctly re-generate with the latest
TV Home Play numbers when the Live Updates system is used.
For the week ending today, this site set a new weekly access record
of 320,631 hits in the past 7 days.
- Friday 22nd May
Bought two more tickets for tomorrow's Super Draw.
- Thursday 21st May
Perhaps it was the delayed results on these pages thanks to my concert
attendance, but there seemed to be a rush of people frantically accessing the
site to get the draw info. This boosted the hits to an all-time record
of 73,555 for today.
- Wednesday 20th May
I saw Tori Amos live in concert at Liverpool this evening, so there
was no live commentary or live update by myself. Colin Riddle provided
the winning numbers (and at least 2 other people agreed the numbers,
so the pages were re-generated). However, the estimated jackpot,
ball set and machine were only agreed by 2 people, so didn't get
Surprisingly, the unsupervised Live Updates system did its job pretty
well and I updated the full results at around 12.30am BST. Amusingly,
this was actually some 8 minutes ahead of the official
Camelot lottery site, despite me being at a pop concert :-)
One thing was interesting - no-one else seems to have the exact
jackpot amount that got rolled over (teletext said "£4.4m" on
ITV and BBC and the official Camelot site claims it's "£0" - duh !).
Received the latest sales fax from Camelot and duly updated the pages.
- Saturday 16th May
The live TV show commentary and draw went OK and the TV Home Play and
main lottery balls applet worked without a hitch. I even correctly generated
the off-line copy of the chat room's HTML so that when it was mirrored
forward, it didn't wipe off the info. I spotted a minor error in the HOMES
tag admittedly (displayed %d instead of the first number - oops), but that was
- Friday 15th May
The lottery balls applet now supports TV Home Play numbers - it can switch
between the main lottery and the TV Home Play balls with a command I send
to the applet.
- Thursday 14th May
Most users couldn't connect to our server between 9.22am and 11.41am this
morning because the Cable Internet line was faulty. Some emergency trunking
has been installed by Cable Internet to allow most traffic to get through
and full service should be back soon.
Bought another couple of tickets for Saturday's rollover.
- Wednesday 13th May
Made a mistake with the virtual lottery question - the binary containing
the question wasn't re-generated properly and left the old question from
the previous virtual lottery up for a couple of hours :-( Luckily, only
some eight people answered this old question before I caught the
problem, so I zeroed their entries and e-mailed them all, asking them
to re-enter with the new question. I was expecting to make this mistake
somewhere along the line and it just had to be after the 200th virtual lottery
draw, didn't it ?
Chelsea's Cup Winners' Cup live soccer game (which they eventually won 1-0)
overran and the lottery show was amazingly squeezed into only 2 minutes -
the shortest show ever ! Even the guest star, Gloria Estefan, was
unceremoniously dumped and failed to appear and it was a bit of a scramble
for me to do the live update, but I managed it OK. The generation of the
updated chat room HTML for the offline server didn't quite work OK, but
the compensation was that I beat everyone else to the full results again.
I can now pass the machine, ball set and estimated jackpot as a PARAM
to the chat room's lottery ball applet, so that these details will be
permanently available on the chat room page both just before the draw
and immediately after it. Received the latest sales figures fax from Camelot
and duly updated the pages.
- Tuesday 12th May
The HTML for the Java-based lottery chat room has been re-generated after
each ball was drawn live in recent weeks, but only on the live server. I've
now added code for it to also update the offline server's chat room HTML,
so that when it is mirrored across to the live server, it will be identical
on both machines and won't revert back to its pre-draw state (which has
been annoyingly happening since the lottery balls applet was introduced
on the chat room page).
In case you're wondering why the chat room's HTML has to be modified after
each ball, it's because a PARAM tag to the lottery ball applet needs to
be updated, allowing people who come into the room mid-draw or shortly after
the draw to see the correct results.
Pair, triple and quad message strings have been added to the chat room live
draw system, ready for the near future when the string will be dynamically
generated based on each ball affecting its position in the updated frequency
tables and whether it's part of a pair, triple or quad for this draw
(rather than the current pre-calculated messages
all based on info prior to the first ball being drawn).
It's also planned to
control the Live Updates system via the chat room so that both the Java
lottery balls and the Web pages/GIFs will be updated simultaneously (at the
moment, I have to type every number in twice - once into the chat room and
again into the Live Updates system).
I no longer display the What If...? info on the individual lottery
page (or update the What If...? section) unless the full results have
come in (it makes no sense at all to display it any earlier).
- Saturday 9th May
The live TV show commentary went OK and the revised lottery balls
Java applet in the chat room worked fine too. Most people left the
room not long after the draw though and this meant they missed me
announcing the full results some 2 hours and 15 minutes before
BBC 1's Lottery Update (because they were stuck showing the
Eurovision Song Contest live of course). I beat everyone
else to the full results as usual.
- Wednesday 6th May
I had to do a live Liverpool FC vs. Arsenal commentary tonight,
only taking a break (almost missed the live draw cos it was
actually on just before 8.40pm !) for the lottery draw in the middle.
This delayed my updates somewhat, but I still managed to beat
BBC teletext (talk about plodding...) to the full results despite
the utter chaos that was going on.
Received the latest sales figures fax from Camelot and duly
updated the pages.
- Monday 4th May
Launched a new What If...? section, with the first hypothetical
question being "what if someone bought all 14 million ticket combinations ?".
The answer, is unsurprisingly, "they'd lose 95% of the time".
- Saturday 2nd May
The live TV show commentary and live update went OK, but Camelot messed me
around when I phoned up for the full results by telling me the wrong values
for a couple of figures. Even after I corrected the figures and re-generated
the pages, I still managed to beat everyone else to the full results.