- Friday 31st July
We had a network break for about an hour (5.00pm-6.00pm BST)
as our network connection was being moved to another building.
This month set a new all-time record of 1,396,777 hits.
- Wednesday 29th July
The live TV show commentary and draw update went OK (had about
half a dozen people in the chat room) and I timed the phone call to
Camelot just right to enable me to easily beat anyone else to putting
up the full results.
Received the latest sales figures fax from Camelot and duly updated the
- Tuesday 28th July
Added three consecutive appearances pages to the numerical analysis section -
again these really should have been there from the start (and are useful
to show that the number 18 has yet to appear in 2 consecutive draws [it
appeared last Saturday, so you never know about tomorrow's draw...]).
There are PLUSLotto equivalents of the pages too of course.
- Monday 27th July
I've ordered the latest Reports and Accounts from Camelot and also
asked them to send me any info on Easy Play, the new lottery pools
game they're launching on 15th August. Spotted a quote from me and mention
of my URL in the August 1998 issue of Internet magazine - it was
part of an article on PLUSLotto's
Millions 2000 site (apparently, over
£1m has been spent on the development of that site !).
- Sunday 26th July
Added playslip board row spread pages - I should really have had these for
ages (ever since the board column spread pages were available).
- Saturday 25th July
The live commentary and draw update went fine, though the most
exciting part of the evening for me was discovering that
Mira Furlan (Ambassador Delenn from Babylon 5) had answered
one of my questions (I was "rkl") during an
this evening !
It was a boring question I must confess,
though I did ask far more meatier ones than
"do you use the Internet at home ?" that didn't get past
the chat moderator.
I put up the full results before anyone
else, even though I got them from the slowest operator,
Michelle, on the Camelot phone line...
- Thursday 23rd July
Received the latest sales figures fax from Camelot and duly
updated the Web pages.
- Wednesday 22nd July
The live commentary and update went OK, although there were only a few
people in the chat room.
It's happened a few times before, but tonight was
the worst by a long way - someone phoned my house and another member of my
household (I won't name names, but they should be ashamed of themselves)
answered and stayed on the line for some 30 minutes (gabbing about absolutely
nothing remotely useful), right during the period
that I wanted to phone Camelot for the full results. Despite having ISDN,
there's still one voice line in my house, so the hour after a Wednesday and
Saturday draw are "no-go areas" for the phone - I should theoretically have
priority over this.
My usual tactic of annoying them into submission didn't work - I kneeled
down in front of them and stared at them, hoping to put pressure on them to
hang up the phone. Boy, did my knees hurt by the time they came off the phone
(inside, I was pretty furious at them - I only needed a 2 minute phone call
and they know I do this twice a week) and I may have still beaten
ITV and BBC teletext to the full results (BBC only had the jackpot winners/
amounts and no other categories when the phone finally became free at about
9.35pm), but I was too angry to double check this.
I didn't want to have to do this, but I've been forced to by this latest
annoyance - the phone will now be left off the hook at my house once the
draw has taken place and I won't replace it until I've got the full results.
This should stop any interference
in the future from people phoning in and hogging the line. It's completely
unacceptable for full results transmission to be delayed because someone
else is yapping away trivially on my phone ! Of course, if Camelot had
e-mail, I wouldn't have to take this action...
- Saturday 18th July
It was nice to get back to a "normal" 20 minute Saturday show, even if
Dean "Superman" Cain failed to show up (whatever happened to "The New
Adventures of Superman" ?). Had several people come in for the live draw,
which went smoothly until the new machine was announced (see below).
Made the full results available before anyone else.
The biggest shock of the evening was the use of the Merlin machine
for the first time ever, which meant I had to rapidly change my source code
in several places to allow for this new machine, the fourth one to be used
since the lottery began. The lottery balls applet on the chat room page
already had support for the Merlin machine, much to my surprise.
I now display percentages on the Best Performing Tickets page to two decimal
places, since that's the only way to distinguish all the categories
(i.e. 5+bonus and 6-match had the same percentage of 0.0% !).
Disabled the displaying of TV Home Play numbers on the home page (now a
week since the final draw) and also removed TV Home Play number input from
the Live Updates system.
- Friday 17th July
Bought two extra tickets for tomorrow's rollover.
- Wednesday 15th July
It was fairly quiet in the chat room tonight, with only a
few users watching the draw live or staying in the room
afterwards. The live update went fine and I was the first
to put up the full results.
Fixed a bug with main number triples page (cut-off point was
one too high, so the page only displayed one triple !).
- Tuesday 14th July
Received the latest sales figures fax from Camelot
and duly updated the pages.
- Monday 13th July
Reverted the pages to their pre-World Cup colour scheme.
Updated the PLUSLotto pages to get the results back in sync (they'd been
a week out).
- Saturday 11th July
I think people were a little confused that the last ever Big Ticket show
wasn't disrupted by World Cup football (ITV had that), so only a few people
turned up for the live commentary and draw. I put the full results up before
anyone else, despite having to stay on hold for a total of 15 minutes on
Camelot's phone line (and another 28 callers were in the queue for that one
line !) - the longest
I can ever remember having to wait to get through.
Widened the Range column by one in the Trivia Analysis because the grand total
(including bonus numbers) had exceeded 10,000 and interfered with the sum
grand total. Trimmed the winning number triples frequency table now that
a winning number triple has finally appeared five times.
The week between 5th and 11th July set a new all-time record
of 341,319 hits on these pages, mainly thanks to the two Super Draws
in that period of course.
- Friday 10th July
Bought a couple of extra tickets for tomorrow's Super Draw.
Received the sales figure fax from Camelot
(it had been sitting in the secretaries
office for a couple of days...another reason I'd prefer that
Camelot got e-mail !) and duly updated the pages with the
- Wednesday 8th July
The lottery draw was again squeezed in at half-time in the
World Cup soccer (which France won 2-1 against Croatia, but
didn't play well for much of the match), but the live draw
update went fine.
- Tuesday 7th July
Bought two more tickets for tomorrow's Super Draw.
- Monday 6th July
Received my £10 cheque from last Wednesday's win, so I scanned it in
and put it on the pages.
- Saturday 4th July
The Big Ticket show was again separate from the main lottery draw
(I bet ratings die when this is the case) - due to the Germany (0)
Croatia (3 !!) match messing with the schedules. At half-time, the
draw rapidly took place and I had about half a dozen people in the
chat room at the time. Also got the full results up before anyone
Our name server software crashed at around 2am this morning, leaving the
Web server in a bad state (i.e. inaccessible). I only spotted it when I
logged in after a leisurely lie-in...
- Thursday 2nd July
Bought two extra tickets for Saturday's rollover.
- Wednesday 1st July
The live TV show commentary and update went OK, though the draw seemed a
little rushed to me (possibly because they were short of time thanks to
having Celine Dion, The Bee Gees and Another Level on the 15 minute show).
Camelot took an age to tell me the unconfirmed jackpot rollover amount
(I'd calculated it correctly anyway), despite having all the other exact
figures. It also took quite a long time to clear up the confusion over next
week's Super Draws (turns out to be £15m on Wednesday and £20m
Received the latest sales figures fax
from Camelot and duly updated the pages.
My workstation at the office is back to normal after having a disk problem
for a couple of days - it can now resume compiling and running the
lottery software I've written to maintain these pages. The C pre-processor
was "broken" on the repaired machine though, so I copied it from another
workstation and everything's hunky-dory now.
Whilst my UNIX workstation was down, I switched to using a PC and it was
painful trying to Web surf. Why doesn't selecting text automatically put
the text into the cut/paste buffer - it's stupid Windows 95, that's why !
Also, the scroll bar is a total joke - if you move the pointer into the
window by mistake whilst scrolling via the scrollbar, it jumps haphazardly to
somewhere else in the document...how do Windows users put up with it ?
Getting back to UNIX and Motif was a total joy after that...