- Saturday 31st August
There were a moderate number of people in the chat room as we waded
through the 45 minute Chinese water torture otherwise known as the
Winning Lines lottery show (why does the BBC have to have these quiz
shows on the Saturday show when it doesn't do the same on Wednesday ?).
The live TV show commentary and draw went fine - the official Camelot
when it wasn't unavailable or generating an Internal Server Error
(both are sadly now common on draw nights), did manage to put up the
full results first, some 45 minutes after the draw.
However, I only managed to get the main and HotPicks
info before the site went into convulsions for the following 30 minutes -
if the official site Webmaster is reading this, stop using
so many dynamic pages - the load appears to be killing your server at
peak times. Generate more of it as static HTML - there seems to be no
reason why a lot of pages need a POST method for example (which makes it
very hard to bookmark a sub-page on the official site too !).
BBC teletext actually lagged quite a bit tonight - no quicker
than Camelot's phone line - both about 15 minutes after the official
- Wednesday 28th August
There were a reasonable number of people in the chat room for tonight's
draw (which was in the middle of a load of soccer games, including Newcastle
United's emphatic Euro win live on Channel 5), which went fine. The official
site had the full results fairly quickly (about 35-40 minutes after the draw)
and when I phoned Camelot up about 5 minutes later they had the results too.
- Saturday 24th August
As is usual when the lottery show is aired at a later time than normal,
we had a lot more people turn up in the chat room than usual for the draws,
which went ahead quite smoothly. BBC teletext was the first time put up
the full results about an hour after the draw, but they got the number of
4-match winners wrong (they said 41,850, when it was actually 41,580).
Meanwhile, the official
site starting generating error pages shortly after the draw took place
and then refused connections for about an hour after that ! Well, I guess
it meant more hits for me, so no harm done :-)
- Wednesday 21st August
I suspect that tonight's very "early" draw (7.55pm) threw a lot
of people because there were only a few people in the lottery chat
room for tonight's main and Extra draw. It was mentioned that
it was the 100th rollover draw (if you sum up the single and
double rollover draws), but nothing special was done about it.
The official site won the full results "race" tonight - they beat
BBC teletext by about 5 minutes and the Camelot phone line trailed
in last at about 20 minutes after the official site.
- Tuesday 20th August
Bought two more tickets for tomorrow's rollover draw.
- Saturday 17th August
There weren't a lot of people in the chat room tonight until the Thunderball
draw was about to start, then people drifted in until the end of the
lottery show (which did manage to announce that the main Lotto hadn't
been won tonight). No problems with the live commentary and draw - the
official Web site was the first to post up full results, albeit with
incorrect Extra ticket sales (which I later fixed when double-checking the
figures via a phone call to Camelot. I told Camelot and later in the evening,
the Extra sales figure was fixed on the official site).
BBC teletext was slower than the
official site, but faster than the phone line.
- Wednesday 14th August
There was a reasonable showing in the chat room tonight, probably because
Manchester United's live BBC 1 game (which they lost 1-0) pushed the
lottery show back to 9.55pm. No problems with the live TV show commentary
and draw - I checked the official site first and they seemed to have
the full results up quickly (certainly before the Camelot phone line, but
I didn't check teletext tonight).
- Monday 12th August
Added a "better" (covered more 2-match combinations) 19-ticket wheel from
Robert Perkis to the site. I've added a tie-breaker rule to the Wheeling
Challenge so that if two wheels use the same number of tickets, the one
that covers the most 2-match (or 3-match) combinations is the one that
- Saturday 10th August
My ISDN connection was intermittent again tonight (just like last
Saturday), but it got so bad, I had to switch to a dial-up modem as
an emergency backup. Still, I did manage to do the chat room live
commentary and draw as usual, but trust my luck to have the worst ISDN
connection problems just as the full results came through :-(
BBC teletext had the full results about an hour after the draw (and
it's possible the official site got them around the same time, but I
couldn't confirm that thanks to a bad Net connection). Frustratingly,
I had to mess around with modem dial-up as the full results came through
(confirmed about 10 minutes later on the phone to Camelot).
- Friday 9th August
Bought two more tickets for tomorrow's rollover draw.
- Thursday 8th August
Well, after a few phone calls back and forth with Camelot this
morning, it was all sorted out. It turned out that I'd put a
special rule in my formula calculations to cope with draw #351's
freaky "no 5+bonus win" event, but it had spilled over into
affecting the main jackpot formula - I corrected that problem
now, so the jackpot was actually just over £3m and not just
under £4m, but the £4m figure is indeed what gets
rolled over to Saturday's draw.
I had a little wander around some other (unofficial) lottery
sites out there this morning and most of them just had no info in either
the 5+bonus or jackpot tiers or they quoted the £3,988,859 figure
I'd had for the jackpot on my pages until this morning (I only kept
that figure up cos that's what Camelot actually said to me on the
phone late on Wednesday night - turns out they had the wrong info
too :-) ). It'll be interesting to see if any of the other sites
pick up the "real" figure today of £3,050,304 for the jackpot.
- Wednesday 7th August
Tonight was going to be fairly straightforward lottery Wednesday -
a 5-minute TV show, less than an hour for full results and some
manual results uploaded later that evening before I went to bed.
How wrong I was ! The chat room wasn't hugely populated tonight and
most left as soon as the draws took place, only to miss arguably
the most dramatic full results ever.
It began when BBC teletext announced - within about 40 minutes of
the draw - that there was no jackpot winner of tonight's main Lotto
draw and that Saturday's estimated jackpot would be £9m (somewhat
conservative I thought). However, the real excitement was to come when
the official site, about 10 minutes later, announced that there were
no jackpot or 5+bonus winners - the first time that had ever
The official site then displayed a most bizarre prize table - 0 winners,
£0 jackpot and a £1 prize pool for both the jackpot and
5+bonus tiers. Well, 2 figures right out of 6 is 33.3% right :-)
They did manage to correct the £1 figure (setting it to £0,
which was correct), but they never fixed the £0 jackpot
or 5+bonus individual prize figures all evening (and even repeated
- in a big font - "£0 jackpot" above the table too !).
BBC teletext then chimed in a little later with an unsurprisingly
identical prize table to the official site, complete with the £0
figure for the unwon jackpot and 5+bonus amounts and this stayed
up all evening. Note here - a later check on ITV teletext showed that
they left the jackpot and 5+bonus individual prize amounts blank,
which I suppose is better than making it up as £0.
By this time, I was bewildered - BBC teletext and the official site
simply had no info on the individual 5+bonus/jackpot prize amounts,
so surely Camelot's phone line would have it ? Well, no, not for
almost 2 hours after the draw would you believe it and, when they
finally got their full figures through, they still couldn't tell me
the unwon 5+bonus individual prize (though they happily confirmed
the unwon jackpot equivalent...inconsistent or what ?) !
It turns out there'd been a fair amount of internal turmoil and lots
of multiple re-checking of prize figures during Wednesday evening
because of the unique circumstances. By 11.00pm BST tonight,
Camelot sadly still couldn't even confirm whether or not the 5+bonus
unwon prize would be additionally rolled over to next Saturday's draw.
Stay tuned on Thursday morning for the hopefully definitive
conclusion to this mildly amusing prize fiasco...
- Saturday 3rd August
Tonight's show was the first of the Winning Lines quiz jobbies, so it
was strangely shifted back to 8.15pm, which meant that the latecomers
to the lottery chat room were actually early for a change :-) My ISDN
was peculiarly pausing most of this evening (quite frustrating) and the
mirroring of pages from test to live wasn't working too cleverly, so it
was amazing I got anything updated at all !
By suffering with the lottery show to the bitter end, we did indeed discover
the number of main Lotto jackpot winners and approximate jackpot prize
before the TV show finished, but it didn't stop Camelot's phone line from
being well and truly beaten by both BBC teletext and the fastest source
tonight, the official site (even if they did get the main Lotto machine
- Thursday 1st August
Changed the footer to mention the new company I work for -
"Connect Internet Solutions Limited" (basically, it's the old
Connect organisation spun off into a company rather than being
wholly owned by the University of Liverpool). Yes, it's an overly long
company name and an equally painfully long domain for
its corporate e-mail (@connectinternetsolutions.com - ugh).