Next month: July 1997
Received confirmation from Camelot that my unwon jackpot figure for Lottery #62 was correct and they'd made a mistake (their incorrect figure was exactly £2m too high).
All winning numbers, ticket sales and prize amounts checked out OK with the list Camelot sent me on Thursday. There were three discrepancies in the scratchcard sales figures, but I suspected they were errors on Camelot's part and this was confirmed when I phoned them up and they matched my figures. The reason for the disparity is simple - the paper list that's sent to me is, rather amazingly, compiled manually on a PC spreadsheet and hence is prone to mistakes, unlike the PC system on the phone line which hooks into a database.
Later on in the day, I completed my checks on Camelot's paper info and there was another discrepancy, this time for the size of the unwon jackpot in draw #62. I phoned Camelot again about this and they "confirmed" their paper copy figure (exactly £2m higher than mine), but I refuse to put this on my pages because it's clearly wrong and actually invalidates two sets of formulae calculations (#62 and #63). Camelot will investigate this further and get back to me tomorrow.
Getting tired of hearing PC users complain, I reluctantly switched the Numerical Analysis section to be white text on a black background. Apparently, PC browsers/printer drivers are so poor that they can't print yellow text on a black background on a Web page ! Annoying to have to workaround a huge deficiency in PC printing on Web pages generated on a UNIX system, but that's life for you :-( Now if PC's can't print white text on a black background, well it's tough luck, I'm not changing the text colour again !
Well, using both the Java chat room and updating HTML pages at the same time was really tough tonight and I suspect both sides of it suffered a little bit. It's probably worth persevering with for a while, although only 6 or so people turned up for the live draw itself (and I suspect some of them were watching TV too !). Live updates went OK and Camelot took until just after 9pm to release the full results (I was quickest on the Net and I think I tied with ITV teletext, though BBC teletext still had the 18th June Wednesday results on their page at that point !). Received a fax from Camelot with the latest sales figures and duly added them to the pages.
Changed ticket entry grid background to purple instead of black in the Ticket Checker. Also fixed a background colour bug when you filled an entire row of the grid - it's now navy instead of the incorrect cyan colour. Fixed a bug whereby a single Wednesday draw wouldn't be checked if the latest draw was a Saturday one or vice versa (a bit of a major mistake that one !).
Fixed a bug where bad tickets would be displayed if you had the auto-sort option on and entered a mixture of lengths of tickets (some one number long, others 4 and yet more 6 numbers long) - I wasn't zeroing the remaining unentered numbers, so it was mixing in numbers from memory hopelessly :-( I've now restricted the number of tickets that can be checked to 43 because there's a 256-char limit in Netscape w.r.t. URLs that can be composed and submitted.
When a draw number is "incorrectly" stated (i.e. you give a Wednesday draw number when you've selected Saturday draws or vice versa), the Ticket Checker will now force the draw number to the correct draw not only in the draw range stated at the top of the main menu, but also in the hidden values in the form (it wasn't doing the latter prior to today), which will then be passed onto the ticket checking CGI of course.
The more devious amongst you will have realised that clicking on the "Main Menu" icon on the returned page from submitting the new Have You Won ? form actually places you into the new Ticket Checker system with your chosen ticket anyway. From there, you can add extra tickets, change to pre-formatted text and so on.
The "prior jackpot ticket history" link on the individual UK lottery pages now links into the new Ticket Checker system. Improved the relative ticket sorting option in the Ticket Checker - if you add tickets in an unsorted order, it doesn't sort them in the URL even if the relative sorting option is switched on. This means you can now freely toggle the option on and off and the tickets will sort and unsort themselves as they should.
A fairly smooth live draw (Chris Prickett had trouble with his live balls though !) and full results update (the latter was the quickest again), although I didn't really find anything special to say stats-wise about it.
Finished the multiple ticket check for a single draw and all single ticket checking code in the new Ticket Checker (yes, I've dropped the "Super" bit) by this evening. I've just got to add an auto-ticket sort preference and code multiple tickets checked against multiple draws and the Ticket Checker will be ready for launching ! Fixed a date range bug in the new code (when going from the preference page to the main menu, the draw range would be reset to the latest draw until I fixed this).
The live updates and post-draw full results (quickest on the Net for the latter, despite a bizarre delay until after 9pm) went reasonably smoothly. Looks like we're going to have a string of Super Draws until 9th July after all...means yet more tickets I'll have to buy :-) Both Chris Prickett and myself were told the wrong number of 3-match winners, but since I don't type the total prize pool in (I should do, it's a useful double-check and I always ask for it for every draw), I didn't spot until Chris mentioned it to me. It's now been fixed.
Camelot threw me for a loop when they announced that tonight's draw is a Super Draw (so I've bought 2 tickets for it at the last minute). I phoned them up to confirm this, but the woman at the end of the phone didn't know exactly when the Super Draw was announced (it was probably Monday, but there was nothing on ITV or BBC teletext lottery pages by 2pm today, so Camelot have done a bad job of publicising this Super Draw). She also couldn't confirm the rumour that all non-rollover Wednesday draws from now until 9th July inclusive would be £5m Super Draws.
Had a few more spare hours to work on the forthcoming Super Ticket Checker, which is now 40% complete (ticket deletion coding now works). I've only got draw date range editing to finish and then it'll just require the actual ticket checking code to be written before it can be launched. The user interface is now really coming along nicely and is much better than the existing Have You Won ? or Ticket Checker pages.
Had a day off and finally got some time to look at the Super Ticket Checker for the first time in some 4 months. I'm now 30% through the coding (and it still doesn't actually check the tickets !). Performed the usual battery of page and software testing - weblint, gcc, lint, ispell and an internal link checker were all involved. I'm no longer building Yell-related code into the CGIs now since the Yell nominations closed several weeks ago.
I should clean my desktop more often - I just found the fax for the sales figures for the week ending 31st May (I'd phoned Camelot up for them anyway and that also allowed me to get the Lucky Dip sales figures for the week ending 7th June, which weren't on the fax). Bought a couple of tickets for Wednesday's Super Draw (from a different place compared to last Thursday) and yes, you've guessed it, the back of the ticket instructions were still the old ones (obviously the store hadn't got some new of the new-style ticket rolls in yet).
Previous month: May 1997