What's New On These Pages: March 1995
Next month: April 1995
- Wednesday 29th March
Increased GIF cache to 6MB of disk space, which keeps about 14 days
of generated 7-ball GIFs.
- Tuesday 28th March
Bought a second ticket for
because of the rollover, adding one to all my numbers as usual. Meanwhile,
Camelot today announced that the estimated jackpot for next Saturday's draw
is a potential record £19m and may even hit £20m if
high sales are sustained during the week. If you're a regular reader of these
What's New pages, I'll just recap that I'm still waiting for a response
from ITV teletext to my letter asking for formal permission to extract the
lottery numbers/jackpot pool amount from ITV teletext page 123. In the
meantime, I'll continue to extract such numbers [disk faults and teletext page
re-designs permitting] - you'll probably have noticed that I've added a
credit to ITV teletext in the updated home page at the weekend, although
last weekend they never put up the correct jackpot pool (£10.1m) !
A little rant about teletext and the National Lottery here... Both BBC and ITV
teletext departments get "spoon-fed" lottery information via the Press
Association News [plus Camelot fax results directly to the BBC].
Hence, there is no excuse for
the sloppiness in teletext reporting of the National Lottery that I've
witnessed from day one back in November. I simply don't trust BBC/ITV teletext
for correct lottery information any more and get my info from Camelot's phone
line directly instead. Mind you, even Camelot don't seem to watch the live
TV show because when I phone them on Sunday morning, their staff often
don't know what draw machine and ball set was used (and I have to tell
- Monday 27th March
Uploaded the results for
Lottery #19. Discovered
that the Personal Computer World magazine (April 1995 issue)
had a photo of my lottery pages and some sarcastic comments in the write-up.
First of all, PCW wondered where Camelot's "official" WWW lottery page is and
the simple answer is that they aren't connected to the Internet yet and only
have internal e-mail at the moment.
Next, they wondered why an "academic" person would run such a set of pages
for no financial gain (this is because I'm providing an information service
that manipulates data from the public domain). Finally, they were mystified why
I don't mention the myriad of PC lottery programs you can now buy (because
they are a waste of money, that's why !).
- Saturday 25th March
As an "after-effect" of Wednesday's disk fault, my workstation wasn't mounting
the correct local software disk, so all the weekend's results updates failed to
generate correct info. This problem has now been fixed and I can take a
little comfort in the fact the updates would have been correct if the right
disk was mounted ! ITV's teletext
page 123 decided to ditch the full set of previous results, although you can
just tune into BBC 2's teletext page 750 for them anyway.
- Wednesday 22nd March
Filestore problems on the WWW server meant the CGI stuff failed. This
problem has now been rectified.
- Monday 20th March
Uploaded the results for
Lottery #18. Adjusted monetary display
routine to allow for values exceeding £1,000,000,000 (i.e. the ticket
sales). Further adjustment to teletext parsing code to allow either a rounded
or exact jackpot figure to be parsed, although I can't work around the bad
updating problem easily (see below). Added a new FAQ for the
Instant Scratchcard Game. Spread out
the options on the forms page.
- Sunday 19th March
The remaining ITV teletext sub-pages had the correct results finally updated,
so my Sunday cron job fixed the numbers at last.
- Saturday 18th March
ITV's teletext decided to play silly beggars and only put the results on the
first sub-page, leaving last week's results on sub-page 2 onwards ! I only
pick up the last sub-page's numbers, so none of the updates picked up
the correct numbers :-( Teletext also decided to give the exact jackpot
amount at the top of the first sub-page, rather than last week's rounded
figure, so my parsing wasn't happy about that and ignored it.
- Friday 17th March
Fixed mosaic blank table line problem (removed a <TR>).
- Monday 13th March
Lottery #17 results. ITV teletext page 123
changed its "forecast" string to "prize" instead, but still failed to give the
exact jackpot amount. Fixed the dropped bonus number problem and also
incorporated new parsing of the #<number>m format ready for next Saturday.
Added millionaire 5+bonus winners to the millionaires count (none so far,
but I was only counting millionaire jackpot winners until today). Added page
update cron jobs for 08.30/09.00 on Sunday morning and Monday morning.
- Saturday 11th March
Oops - accidentally dropped the bonus number info when parsing the teletext
mail in its new format, so that came out as zero ! First mail came back at
20.26, so the 20.30 update was the first to change the pages. Annoying that
ITV's teletext fails to give the exact jackpot amount anymore, instead
preferring to say "March 11 Jackpot forecast - #13.1m".
- Friday 10th March
Altered teletext winning number parsing code to cope with the new page format.
Have temporarily disabled the estimated jackpot pool parsing until I find out
how it's displayed tomorrow on the teletext page.
- Thursday 9th March
Added a new
table version of the winning numbers
page, but it was such a pain to do that I'll just do that page for
the moment. It highlighted a couple of mosaic 2.5beta5 bugs with tables too.
- Tuesday 7th March
Added individual lottery page links to both the returned page from submitting
form and also to the
further draw details page. Finally
got my Subscription Certificate through - one set of 6 numbers for 52 draws,
Bought 2 tickets for this week's
draw (added one to my numbers for the second ticket) because of the
- Monday 6th March
Uploaded the results for
Aaargh - teletext lottery page 123 just changed its format during
Monday afternoon to include
the 7 winning numbers on EACH sub-page !! A frantic week of re-coding looks
Removed 20.30 Saturday teletext mailing because it used the mail server
cache, rather than getting live pages. Add 20.20 and 20.25 mail reading jobs
to pick up on slow mail. Added Millionaires line to the
winning numbers page to indicate how many
millionaires have been created by the lottery so far.
- Saturday 4rd March
Sent off a letter to the editor of ITV's teletext asking for formal permission
to automatically extract info from teletext page 123 (no, I didn't stop the
automatic updates though !).
Teletext mail server was a little slow, so no update until 20.30. The 20.30
mail sent out was cached by the mail server (it was 28 minutes after the
first mail), so I got a fast reply, but it was the same as the 20.02 mail !
The exact jackpot pool was updated at 22.45 (the 22.00 mail picked it up).
- Thursday 2nd March
Further enormous disruptions to the Liverpool University's external network
connections meant you were lucky if you got to these pages today (not
our Department's fault, I hasten to add).
- Wednesday 1st March
Generated GIF cache exceeded 4MB for the first time and the daily cron job
kicked in correctly to delete the oldest accessed ones and bring it under 4MB
again. From the growth rate, it looks like this will happen on a daily basis
now - I may have to consider upping the cache because they are only lasting 9
days at the moment ! Updated the
lottery FAQ with the latest scratchcard
details. External network connections for the entire campus were dead for 5
hours, wonderful huh ?
Previous month: February 1995