- Monday 30th June
Took a day off (Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, visited our
new Foresight Centre building...so I avoided coming in :-) ) and,
would you know it, my HP workstation on my office desk died
today, meaning I've had to switch the lottery software to another
- Saturday 27th June
For the second time, the Big Ticket TV show (which I commentated on)
was divorced from the main
lottery draw thanks to football. This confused a few people, but there
was still a reasonable turnout for the live draw at half-time in the
Brazil vs. Chile World Cup match. I put up the full results faster than
other Net sites, but a friend came around, so I couldn't confirm if I
beat BBC and ITV teletext.
- Wednesday 24th June
The lottery TV show was bizarre today - they forgot to play
the show's theme tune, they announced the prize fund
and estimated jackpot immediately and then launched into an
awful rap group called Sprinkle. After a filmed report, they
dragged on Olivia Newton John, but not to sing - only
to press the button. After the draw, Ricky Martin sang some
terrible "official World Cup closing ceremony song" (huh ?),
but as I've said before, this is pointless because everyone would
have switched off as soon as the bonus ball came out anyway !
Despite this weirdness, I had no problems with the TV commentary
or the live update and I was the first to display the full
results as usual.
I now use a double instead of an integer for the total jackpot figure,
because it just exceeded MAXINT (and caused display problems).
Received the latest sales figures fax from Camelot and duly updated
- Saturday 20th June
No problems with the live TV show commentary and draw. I even got the
full results fairly quickly compared to last Wednesday and beat
everyone else to putting them up on the site.
- Wednesday 17th June
The live TV show commentary and draw went OK (only a 10 minute somewhat
rushed show which both started early and finished even earlier). Despite
the slightly frantic proceedings on the TV show, Camelot took about 50
minutes to issue the full results - the slowest they've been for a while -
but I still put them up quicker than anyone else.
Fixed a long-standing bug with the index page of the Lottery Links section.
If it had to go back and do a second (or more) link-check pass because some
previously failed links now worked, it would output the index page the same
number of times as passes it had to make ! It now only outputs the index page
on its first pass. This bug was about 2 years old, he says sheepishly.
Received the usual weekly sales fax from Camelot and duly updated the pages.
- Tuesday 16th June
Looks like Internet Explorer 5 has the classic "reload the page" bug
when you choose "save entire page", so I've added it to the list of browsers
with this known bug (Netscape pre-2.0 final also had this bug). A warning
message is displayed when a virtual lottery entry is submitted or a lottery
perm is selected telling users to avoid saving/printing the returned page
from a form submission for this reason.
- Monday 15th June
Corrected table text colours in the CGIs for all the sections (needed
adjusting after TEXT value changed for page). Also re-generated all
individual lottery pages to remove old schemes. Lightened the grass
background tile even further - it's now at about the limit before it
just becomes very faint stripes :-) Hopefully, this should improve
the readability of black text on the pale green grass background.
- Saturday 13th June
My TV Times mag claimed that the live draw was in the Big Ticket
show, but that was a big fib cos that show finished at 7.30pm BST - exactly
when the lottery terminals closed ! In fact, it was on at half-time in the
dire Holland vs. Belgium game (I'd phoned Camelot yesterday to confirm this),
so only a few people hung around the chat room during the Big Ticket show
and most of them came in at the right time for the live draw. No problems
with that and I was the first up with the full results.
Changed the colour scheme for the umpteenth time since the background became
a tile for the World Cup period. This time, I increased the gamma level on the
grass tile using ImageMagick's display utility (i.e.
sort of brightened it) and switch the text to conservative black and
dark blue. Less "exciting" perhaps (in fact, fairly drab now you might
say), but maybe there'll be less complaints too.
- Friday 12th June
The lottery balls applet in the chat room has been updated to avoid the
refusal to display duplicate TV Home Play balls and also to support a
FORECOL param so I can set the text colour inside the applet (it was
previously defaulting to black, which was unreadable with the dark green
background). Also slightly trimmed the width and height of the balls applet
because the applet background is now "noticeable" (i.e. it's solid dark
green, as opposed to the page's grass background). Changed link colours
from yellow to cyan.
- Thursday 11th June
Trying to "dim" the white text wasn't getting anywhere w.r.t. people being
able to print the pages - what is up with PC Web browsers and their Print...
option ? It appears that any light text doesn't get sent to a
printer properly because the browser thinks it's "white on white", despite the
fact that it may be "grey on dark green" ! This problem seems to have been
around for years with Web browsers and no-one seems to be bothered to fix it.
I've change the text colour again to pale green, but I'm not confident that
this will solve it either.
- Wednesday 10th June
The lottery balls applet on the chat room was proving awkward because
although I could change its background colour, there wasn't an option
to change the text colour (so I've informed the author about this
shortcoming). That problem aside, the live TV show commentary and
live update went OK and I was first to display the full results as
Sorted out most of the table background and text colour problems due to
the new grass background. It isn't easy trying to match up colours, that's
for sure. Sadly, the grass background didn't bring Scotland any luck
as they crashed 2-1 to Brazil (a Tommy Boyd own goal didn't help).
- Tuesday 9th June
Received the latest sales figures fax from Camelot and duly updated the
Added a grass background to most pages to indicate it's World Cup time.
It was harder than it looked though - I had to change the "Bonus Ball"
text on the graphics from black to white, the "fall" and "rise" coloured
text on the individual lottery pages became pink and bright green to
show up better, "white" is actually now #eeeeee rather than #ffffff
(because otherwise dumb PC browsers won't print out the text) and I had
to change the hi-res index applet colours.
Set up solid background colour for the pages to more closely match the
green of the grass.
- Saturday 6th June
The TV show commentary went fine, as did the main lottery live update. One
problem occurred with the TV Home Play numbers in the chat room live
update though - the Java applet refused to accept the fourth ball (87),
which was a repeat of the first one (the first time this had happened).
I'll get the author of the applet to fix this problem.
I had to phone Camelot about five times this evening (the first time I
phoned, I was put on hold and a message about "continued patience" came
on six times - I was about to hang up when a human finally answered).
Despite only getting the full results at 8.55pm (the slowest Camelot has
been for several weeks), I still made them available before any of the usual
other media sources.
- Friday 5th June
Received the latest sales fax from Camelot and duly updated
the Web pages with the figures.
- Thursday 4th June
Phoned Camelot this morning, only to find that the old phone interface
(quieter male voice and **14 to get through to a human) had been restored !
The woman who I got through to claimed that they were on the new system
(loud female voice and *14 for a human), so I've asked them to investigate.
By lunchtime, they'd fixed the problem and reverted back to the new
- Wednesday 3rd June
There were quite a few people in the chat room tonight (something
like 8 or 9 at one point) and the live commentary and update was
OK. When I phoned Camelot, they were engaged twice and then the
next two times I tried, the phone rang for a good 30 seconds, which
was unusual (part of their phone system upgrade no doubt !).
When I eventually got through, the new recorded female voice
barked loudly at me as usual (I've complained about this to Camelot
today - it's about 50% louder than the previous male voice...I'm
hoping they can turn down the volume a bit on that recorded message).
Ironically, when I hit *14 to get a human operator, a very quiet
woman answered and I had trouble hearing all the figures properly !
Needless to say, this meant the initial figures I typed in weren't
correct, but my prize formula checker picked this up and I phoned
back straight away and got a more audible woman this time. Despite
this, the corrected full results still went up before anyone else...
- Tuesday 2nd June
Finally managed to pick up a revised TV Dreams info leaflet and duly
- Monday 1st June
I phoned up Camelot this morning, only to find that their recorded voice
introduction had changed from a male to a female voice for the first time
ever. Also, the extension to get a human operator is now *14, rather than