What's New On These Pages: January 1999
Next month: February 1999
- Saturday 30th January
There were a reasonable number of people in the chat room and the live
commentary and draw went fine. I was the first to display the full results
- Friday 29th January
The subscription certificate arrived to confirm my fifth annual subscription,
which starts in a few weeks.
- Wednesday 27th January
The chat room was moderately busy for the live commentary and draw plus I had
the full results up before anyone else.
Rebooted the Web server almost immediately afterwards to install a new
kernel and disk on this Web server.
Fixed the auto-refresh bug that surfaced last Saturday.
- Saturday 23rd January
The chat room was reasonably busy for the live TV commentary and draw, but
I had problems with the auto-refresh code (changes earlier in the week appear
to cause a core dump when trying to generate a page with an auto-refresh on
it). I quickly disabled auto-refresh and did the page updates without it.
I'm looking into the bug and hope to sort it out shortly.
If the auto-refresh problems weren't bad enough, Camelot took a full hour
to release the full results - in fact, BBC 1's lottery update beat them to
announcing the number of jackpot winners (one as it happens). I wasn't sure
if I beat BBC and ITV teletext to the updates though (I checked just prior
to 9.00pm and the only update was BBC 1 teletext saying there was one jackpot
winner, but they didn't have the full results).
- Wednesday 20th January
Sorted out some dodgy auto-refresh tags I'd accidentally coded in
when changing the META tags on all the pages (it only kicks in on
draw nights, so that's I was so late spotting the problem).
The chat room was reasonably busy for the live TV show commentary
and draw, which both went fine (though one of the users said he
had a "giant font" problem, but that went away when he reloaded
the page). Put the full results up before anyone else.
- Tuesday 19th January
Sent off my annual lottery subscription renewal - a cheque for £208
is winging its way to Camelot as I speak.
- Monday 18th January
Finally added META tags for the Description (same as the document TITLE)
and Keywords for this HTML on this site, only 4 years after I should have
done so !
I now auto-grab the official lottery site's News page so that I can
parse the unclaimed major prizes list, which now stored in a header file.
A cron job is now run at 11.00pm each evening to appropriately
update various pages.
Unlike the official site, I ignore any unclaimed major prizes which have already
expired - the official site incorrectly lists them for weeks or months
afterwards ! In fact, after removing those expired prizes, there's only
one unexpired one listed on the official site (for draw 284, which expires
The pages this change currently effect are the hi-res index page (which displays the
oldest unexpired 5+bonus or jackpot prize) and the individual lottery pages,
which now have an automatic comment inserted where appropriate. At some point
soon, there will be a standalone page listing the unclaimed prizes and
how many days there are left to claim them (this too, will be updated at
11.00pm each evening), but I've not coded that yet.
It may also be worth trying to keep a historical list of every 5+bonus and
jackpot prize that has expired after 180 days. I'd have to contact Camelot
to get a complete list of anything more than 180 days old though, since there
may be gaps in my pages on this.
- Saturday 16th January
The chat room was reasonably busy for the live TV show commentary and draw,
which went fine. I put the full results up faster than anyone else.
- Friday 15th January
Received my reminder notice from Camelot about renewing my annual subscription
(this would commence my fifth subscription from Wednesday 24th February 1999
onwards). I'll be sending it off shortly (another £208 to blow on the
- Thursday 14th January
Received the latest sales figures fax from Camelot and duly
updated the pages.
- Wednesday 13th January
The chat room was reasonably busy for tonight's live Internet
TV commentary and draw, which went fine. I put the full results
up before anyone else. Noticed a sales figure discrepancy for
last Saturday's draw thanks to my formula checker, so I
corrected it (it was my fault - a transposition of a couple
of minor digits).
- Monday 11th January
Found a Web site containing a list of the full names of all league and
non-league soccer clubs in the UK (in fact, it got one wrong -
it's Hamilton Academicals, not Hamilton Academical !),
so I adjusted my Easy Play teams list appropriately.
- Saturday 9th January
It was a little quiet until just before the show started, but
we had a usual-sized crowd in the chat room for the TV show
and draw live commentary, which went OK. Yet again,
Camelot let the evening fall down on a flat note by taking
about 45 minutes to release the full results, which meant that
ITV teletext beat me to them.
We had a couple of people banned in the chat room - once I told
them the offensive word censor had been upgraded, they couldn't
resist trying it out :-)
- Wednesday 6th January
It was a fairly busy chat room tonight - 6 or 7 people came in to
watch the TV show commentary and draw live, which went fine.
I updated the full results before anyone else (no delay this time,
unlike last Saturday).
Upgraded the chat room offensive word censor to stop people using
punctuation (e.g. spaces or dots) to fool it. It also now allows
words like "cocktail", which it previously censored because of the
start of the word is in its list. Mind you, people in the lottery chat room
are reasonably civilised - it's mainly for the Liverpool FC chat room :-)
Re-worded the chat room FAQ to avoid the use of the term "swear" because
people argue that several of the words we censor aren't swear words.
- Tuesday 5th January
Received the latest sales figures fax from Camelot and duly updated
the pages, which brought them right up to date.
- Monday 4th January
First day back in the office after the Christmas and
New Year break and I picked up a Camelot sales figures
fax sent to me on the 23rd December, which allowed me to
fill in 3 weeks of sales figures, but still left me some
2 weeks behind of course.
Set an all-time record number of hits to this site in
a 24-hour period - 75,204 hits. It's the first work day
of the year of course and a lot of people will be checking
their Christmas and New Year lottery numbers from their
office connection :-)
- Saturday 2nd January
There were a 5 or 6 people in the chat room for the first
draw of the year and the live TV show commentary and draw
went fine. It then took Camelot a crazy 65 minutes
to release the full results, which meant that ITV and BBC
teletext beat me to them (this only happens when Camelot
has long delays releasing the results).
Interesting to see that the Easy Play sales went up for the
first time ever, even if it was a false dawn created by
the previous week's Christmas sales fall.
Belatedly adjusted the copyright year at the bottom of all
pages to 1999 :-)
- Friday 1st January
It's the year of Space 1999 and only a year to go
to the Millennium bug ! These lottery pages are
Year 2000 compliant before you ask :-)
It was also a national holiday of course and the non-launch
of the Euro currency in the UK...
Previous month: December 1998