What's New On These Pages: April 1997
Next month: May 1997
- Wednesday 30th April
The draw went reasonably well, although ITV teletext almost pipped me to
putting up the full results for a change (there were only seconds between
us !). BBC teletext was surprisingly sluggish with the full results - only
presenting a rounded summary (and no exact table) until about 9pm.
- Tuesday 29th April
Received Camelot's sales figures fax surprising early (2.27pm today), but
I was so busy at work in meetings/seminars that I had to wait until I got
home to update the pages (but was still the quickest on the Net to make
- Saturday 26th April
The draw went fairly smoothly tonight - I was fastest on the Net
to get the full results (it helped that I had a "proper" ISDN box
(Pipeline 50), rather than the Mickey Mouse Arpeggio Lite), plus
Camelot actually had the results at their usual time and not
15 minutes late like on Wednesday.
- Friday 25th April
Got the remaining two sales figures to complete last week's set and was the
fastest on the Net with them too.
- Thursday 24th April
Phoned up Camelot for the "delayed" sales figures from last week,
but they only had the scratchcards and Lucky Dip figures (hopefully
I'll get the Good Causes and Unclaimed Prizes figures tomorrow).
Finally got my Pipeline 50 ISDN box back (which is much better than the
junky Arpeggio Lite), so my Net connection is now back to normal.
- Wednesday 23rd April
Well, the draw's been one disaster after another tonight. I only got a
(temporary) Arpeggio Lite ISDN box connected 15 minutes before the 7.30pm
and had no time to check things out properly really. Firstly, DNS lookup
failed on my home machine, so I've been typing numeric IP addresses this
evening, which is a real pain believe you me. Next, the lottery show started
two minutes early and caught me by surprise (I was just switching on my
TV and it was already in the studio !). To cap it all off, the live updates
system refused to believe it was after 8pm and wouldn't update the numbers
(so I had to re-compile the program without a time check, FTP it across and do
a delayed live draw 2 minutes late !).
Meanwhile, Camelot played "silly beggars" and didn't release the full results
until shortly after 9pm (almost 15 minutes later than usual), so it was a just
a question of phoning them every 5 minutes from 8.45pm until 9.05pm until they
got the results. It meant that I wasn't the fastest on the Net this time,
but I'd put some of the blame on Camelot for such tardy results :-)
- Monday 21st April
Finally sorted out my lottery pages by about noon today at work. Still had
no home ISDN connection yet though.
- Saturday 19th April
I returned from the States early this morning, only to find that my
Pipeline 50 box had been "reclaimed" by Connect for use elsewhere, so no
Net connection and hence no live commentary or virtual lottery draw.
- Friday 18th April
PlusLotto draw took place at 3pm BST today and my
automatic results update system seems to have worked.
- Wednesday 16th April
This is the second consecutive draw
that will be automatically updated on these pages. No virtual lottery draw
will take place tonight.
- Saturday 12th April
This will be the first draw that will take place automatically on these pages
for quite some time (since I got my ISDN connection in December 1996 in fact).
There will be four automatic systems in place to cope with the
- The ITV and BBC teletext e-mail requests. This is the oldest of the
four systems and I've been keeping an eye on this despite doing manual live
updates - it still seems fine.
- The WWW site scan. I grab other sites' results using lynx and then parse
them for winning numbers (and jackpot pool amounts if available). If 2 or
more agree, then I use their information. Unfortunately, most other UK lottery
sites carrying results have either disappeared or failed to update their
results for many months :-(
- The Live Updates system. I've never run this with just the general public
supplying the winning numbers, machine, ball set and jackpot amount. At least
3 submissions have to agree before the update is used, so I doubt this will
be successful (but I'll leave it enabled until midnight on the draw evening).
- A new fourth update system has been developed for when I'm away in the US.
I don't intend to reveal any more about it because it's highly experimental,
could be prone to errors and is only going to be used when I'm not around
to provide "in person" updates.
Remember that there will be no virtual lottery draw tonight - the next
virtual lottery draw will be a Super Draw on the 19th April.
- Friday 11th April
I leave for Philadelphia in Pennsylvania (in the States) for a week-long
These pages will run entirely automatically for the two draws
I'm away - this includes automatic results less than 30 minutes after the
draw has taken place and maybe one or two other tricks I've got up my sleeve.
- Wednesday 10th April
The draw went reasonably well, although I struggled for quite some time
with the virtual lottery pages immediately after the draw (getting the right
code and data to skip the next two draws wasn't as easy as I thought !).
It took me about 15-20 minutes in all to fix various problems. I still
beat the rest of the Net (and tied with ITV teletext) for the full results.
Launched the new PLUS Lotto statistics section, not that
there's any stats yet of course ! Received a fax from Camelot and updated
the sales figures as usual (strangely, we got the fax at 5.11pm today,
which is outside of the normal lottery phone line hours).
The first ever virtual lottery Super Draw will accept entries from
this evening onwards, with the draw taking place on Saturday 19th April 1997
(so there are no virtual lottery draws on 12th or 16th April) and the
prize will be boosted by an extra 100 Swiss Francs in the kitty in addition
to the usual 50 Swiss Francs added to the rollover (if there is one !).
- Saturday 5th April
The live updates went reasonably well, although Camelot was surprisingly
sluggish to issue the results (took me three phone calls, five minutes
apart, to get them !). Of course, I was the only place to have the
full results (apart from Camelot's phone line) before 9pm yet again...
Put the final touches on the page generation code for PlusLotto - that is
now complete, ready for the stats launch on Wednesday (first draw is on 18th
April, but I'll only just have returned from the US and might not be in a fit
state to do anything on that day !). I'm now going to turn my attention to
the PlusLotto automatic update system, which needs re-working because of
the new bonus ball that's involved.
- Friday 4th April
Continued work on the "PlusLotto" code - I'd nearly finished the page
generation goodies by the early hours of the morning.
- Thursday 3rd April
Got last week's full sales figures from Camelot. Started work on a
"PlusLotto" section to add to the frozen InterLotto section (because
InterLotto are now partners with the International Red Cross and have changed
their online lottery (includes a bonus ball for the first time, plus the
jackpot is now 1.5m SFr rather than 1.2m SFr).
- Wednesday 2nd April
The draw went pretty well...nice to have an "exclusively live" update
because Chris Prickett's site wasn't updated tonight :-) There was a slight
delay from Camelot w.r.t. issuing the results (I got them all up at about
Fixed the "say" CGI program - I hadn't put the sound samples in place on the
new server attached to the Cable Internet line :-( Also fixed the old
Yell submission form after they changed it on me to try to stop me submitting
via my "quickie" form...
Installed a new cron job that's run on each draw evening at 7.50pm - it
adjusts a data file to indicate the next draw day and automatically puts a
"manual draw comments will be available here shortly" message in the
evenings draw comments file. I used to do those two tasks manually, but it's
pointless when there's cron and shell scripts around. The main reason I did
it, of course, was that everything has to be automated during my US trip and
this is one of the few manual things I do each draw evening.
- Tuesday 1st April
It may have been April Fool's Day and I was suffering from a choc-fest
over the Easter weekend, but the good news was that I got back my original
Pipeline 50 ISDN box and can get rid of the Arpeggio Lite rubbish at last.
Previous month: March 1997