What's New On These Pages: October 1995
Next month: November 1995
- Monday 29th October
Uploaded the results for
Lottery #50. No-one won the first
virtual lottery that had a prize, so it rolls over
to £100 for the next draw. Adjusted most of the external InterLotto
links to point to a
more open site, so that UK and Swiss
users can at least get through to a site with some info.
- Saturday 28th October
Shifting the first mailout by one minute to 8.02pm was successful - the
pages were updated at 8.14pm, a mere 10 minutes after the draw. I will leave it
at this time for the next month or so to make sure that it's reliable and
doesn't beat the ITV page 123 teletext page update. When I'm happy with that,
I'll try for 8.01pm (though that really does have a high risk of missing the
update). Note that ITV teletext got the jackpot pool completely wrong for
the whole of Saturday evening (they put up the individual jackpot prize
instead) and didn't fix it until the next day.
- Friday 27th October
I wanted to more prominently advertise the
virtual lottery on the home page
and InterLotto wanted their logo somewhere there too, so I've duly made it
- Wednesday 25th October
"Trimmed" the UK 7-ball and InterLotto 6-ball GIFs so that they no longer have
any extraneous transparent border. This tightens the text next to the 7-ball
GIF on the UK
home page (doesn't make much difference on the InterLotto
- Tuesday 24th October
Added the first
lottery handout page. Discovered that the
InterLotto site has now had to ban UK
players because of stringent UK gaming laws :-( Substantially updated the
Lottery Links section. Found out that Netscape's
Commerce Server was not killing off my "say" speech CGI program when people
were clicking on "Stop" to abort it. Hopefully fixed it by trapping (and
quitting on) various signals, including SIGPIPE, SIGINT and SIGHUP. Note
that we never had this problem with the NCSA server...
- Monday 23rd October
OK, so now you find out why I really have recently been sluggish
updating the lottery pages ! An R&D/sponsorship contract has been signed
with InterLotto which
has 2 functions. Firstly, a small InterLotto advert is present near the top
of most of the
virtual lottery pages. In return, InterLotto will
sponsor the virtual lottery prize to the tune of £50 per draw. This
is a big relief, because I didn't really see the point of continuing much
longer without a real prize for each draw.
statistics area for InterLotto has been produced,
which is basically a
of the UK National Lottery code (not quite as easy as it sounds because
InterLotto is a 6 from 40 lottery with no bonus ball). InterLotto pays Connect
to maintain the InterLotto statistics area in case you're wondering, although
the updates are provided directly by InterLotto via a complex mail filter.
Oh, uploaded the results for
Lottery #49 of course. I've also adjusted
the first Saturday teletext mail to be 8.02pm instead of 8.03pm and added
a fallback 9.02pm mail-out in case the 8.02pm misses the update. This is
because the return e-mail is arriving at around 8.25pm and I'd like it a
bit earlier than that if possible. Changed algorithm for the virtual lottery
claim security code, which should make it a lot harder to crack (I hope).
I don't think anyone cracked the old algorithm, but this new one has an
extra layer that's even more difficult to suss.
- Sunday 22nd October
HP (and I suspect many other UNIX vendors) had an incorrect timezone setting
for the UK, as did 75% of UK diaries, who all thought it was next
Sunday when BST switched back to GMT ! Needless to say, some of the automatic
pages said BST with today's date, rather than GMT. A judicious hack on
Monday fixed the timezone file and everything's groovy again.
- Tuesday 17th October
The Mersey World launch went well - Liverpool Town Hall was packed out (more
than 200 people there). Of course, the lottery pages aren't actually part of
the Mersey World section, so they weren't really featured (though they remain
more than twice as popular as anything else on the Connect/Mersey World
server !). The Brookside character David ("Bing") Crosby was there, though all
I saw of him was his fancy slacks making an exit for the door :-) I took a
couple of days off to recover from the launch of course...
- Monday 16th October
Amidst the panic for tomorrow's
launch (see above), I uploaded the results for
- Thursday 12th October
Activated [albeit with some problems !] the Netscape Commerce Server in both
secure and insecure mode on the Connect WWW server. There was no change needed
to the lottery CGI code because Netscape's server is compatible with the NCSA
Server we'd been running previously.
In case you're wondering why the October updates to the lottery pages have been
somewhat sparse, well it's because 2 major events are coming up: 1) the signing
of an R&D contract and sponsorship deal for the virtual lottery and 2) there
is a major launch of
Mersey World next Tuesday (invitation only !)
and the past couple of weeks have been frantic to say the least. You might like
to see the fruits of this - the new "shopping basket" principle of
the Mersey Mall for instance,
the ability to browse anywhere in
secure mode (requires Netscape 1.1 or
later) and also the steady stream of
new organisations appearing on
Mersey World - remember that if
you're a Merseyside company, you get free Web space and we'll even scan
in your paper documents and compose HTML for you for free ! I've yet
to see anyone else in the UK do this for their county...
- Wednesday 11th October
Yep, the infamous electricity sub-station broke down again and it took us
half a day to get things working correctly again.
- Monday 9th October
Uploaded the results for
Lottery #47, which had possibly the freakiest
sequence so far (4th consecutive appearance of the number 10).
- Sunday 8th October
A fire broke out in an electricity sub-station that feeds our entire
department, so the Connect server amongst about 200 other machines were
unavailable for the best part of a day :-(
- Friday 6th October
Added a new lottery
calendar page which is a mix of info from
Camelot's Reports and Accounts and from the UK media.
- Thursday 5th October
Received Camelot's Reports and Accounts through the post, which covered
up until 31st March 1995 (I guess the next set of accounts are due soon then).
- Monday 2nd October
Uploaded the results for
Previous month: September 1995