- Monday 31st May
Started coding on a couple of main sections for Thunderball - the individual
lottery page and the Ticket Checker. I've dropped the TV Home Play checking
from the latter and put in a menu option for Thunderball instead, but the coding
isn't finished yet. I've actually spotted a bug that's been in the old
Ticket Checker for ages, but since hardly anyone would ever come across it,
it's not vital to fix it yet.
- Saturday 29th May
The chat room was reasonably busy for tonight's live TV show commentary and
draw (unusually presented by Carol Smillie - her first ever Saturday show
I believe) and everything went fine. I put up the full results before anyone
Received both the Thunderball How to Play leaflet and the Rules and Procedures
booklet, so I'm starting coding on a new Thunderball section today. The
"overflow" rules if too many people win in the Thunderball game are amazingly
complex ! Added a Thunderball section with a How To Play leaflet transcription
and a FAQ.
- Friday 28th May
Bought a couple of extra tickets for tomorrow's rollover. Phoned Camelot and
they are going to send me a How to Play Thunderball leaflet
(surprisingly unavailable at Liverpool lottery retailers, despite other
point of sale material being displayed for Thunderball) plus, more importantly,
the Rules and Procedures booklet for Thunderball (this is needed because
there's special rules about prize tier reductions if there's loads of winners
in a particular tier or overall).
- Wednesday 26th May
The chat room was only moderately busy for tonight's TV show commentary
(not much to that - the show was under 3 minutes long !) and live draw.
In fact, the show was so quick, people came in afterwards thinking it hadn't
taken place yet !
Obviously the BBC gave up against ITV's live European Cup Final coverage
(Manchester United were rather lucky to win that 2-1) and decided to rush
the show through, ironically making it a perfect lottery in the show in
the process. I was the first to put up the full results as usual.
Received another sales figures fax from Camelot today, with
a corrected scratchcards figure for 3rd April (it was normal
after all) and also the latest week's figures to complete the
set. Adjusted the main and winning number pairs pages to cut off a couple
of the tiers because the page was getting too long.
A second (clearly manual) update of the unclaimed prizes list
in the News page by the official Camelot site's Webmaster
yesterday meant that the last table row (for draw 344) had
different HTML from all the others. This threw my parsing
code for a loop and it initially ignored it, but I've adjusted
it to compensate for the manual hack.
- Tuesday 25th May
Received a sales figures fax from Camelot for the first time
in a couple of months
(and that was only because I phoned them up and reminded them).
Sadly, they didn't include the figures for last week, but there
was also a surprising scratchcards figure for the week ending
3rd April - only £5,665,969 (half the normal sales) !
I'm not sure if that was a mistake or not, so I've asked
Camelot to double-check it.
- Saturday 22nd May
The chat room was reasonably busy tonight for Brian Conley's
final lottery TV show (hooray !), in which he sang an excruciating
four numbers and sadly didn't choke on the marshmallows
(yes, this is high-quality entertainment from the BBC) that
were thrown into his mouth. The commentary and live draw
went fine and I was the first to put up the full results.
- Friday 21st May
Downgraded my ISDN Pipeline 50's firmware and all is normal with my home
Net connection again.
- Wednesday 19th May
I upgraded the firmware in
my ISDN Pipeline 50 last night and that might have been
a mistake because I couldn't connect directly to our intranet from
my ISDN connection again. This time it wasn't quite as serious because
I could jump from our Internet to intranet via an extra machine, but
it was just very inconvenient indeed.
People began to arrive in the chat room just prior to the TV show
starting and trickled in leading up to the live draw which went
OK tonight. Unlike last Wednesday, it was straightforward enough to
re-generate the Web pages and everything was fairly smooth on the
outside even if somewhat more painful behind the scenes. I was the
first to put up the full results as usual.
- Saturday 15th May
The ISDN finally "behaved" today and everything was fine for the live
lottery TV show commentary and draw, even if no-one turned up for the
first 5 (of 25 !) minutes of the show :-( Eventually, there were half a dozen
people in the room and I was the first to put up the full results.
- Thursday 13th May
As soon as I got into work, I re-generated the site fully, so that the
analysis, ticket checking and other Web pages were available with the
Wednesday draw info. Still had ISDN problems connecting from home both tonight
and the following evening - it wasn't until Saturday morning that
I finally managed to connect successfully.
Received subscription info about Camelot's new Thunderball lottery game that
starts next month, though the one piece of info missing from it all was
when the first draw would take place (Saturday 16th June 1999, but I found
that out by phoning Camelot). The game looks very poor indeed - fixed
prize tiers (jackpot is £250,000 but it's nearly 4m to 1 to win it),
tickets still cost £1 and there's no rollovers. I'm not going to
play it because, like the scratchcards, you can't be a millionaire [plus
it doesn't help that my main UK lottery tickets all have at least
two numbers above 34 in them meaning I can't use my "favourite" numbers for
- Wednesday 12th May
We had problems with our Ascend Max box this week and a new box we put in
its place "misbehaved" for several days until its configuration was sorted
out. All of this meant that I only just got connected via ISDN from home
before the TV show started and I couldn't get access to our intranet in
order to build the lottery pages on my work machine.
This meant a hairy set of manual page edits (though the actual live TV show
commentary and draw in the chat room were fine) to sort out the home page
and individual lottery page (minus the full analysis) with the winning numbers
and the prize amounts/winners and ticket sales. I couldn't even get back
on at all from home after 10pm !
- Saturday 8th May
It was pretty quiet in the chat room until about half way through the
lottery TV show when people started to trickle in. The TV show commentary
and draw went OK, but Camelot procrastinated with the full results for
about 45 minutes. ITV teletext put up the upper tier (jackpot/5+bonus) info
by the time I updated my pages with the full results, but they strangely
omitted the lower tier results for a few minutes, allowing me to beat them
to displaying the full set. With BBC teletext having no updates at all, I
therefore was the first to put up the full results.
Today marked the final day of Vernons Easy Play - this flop has been pulled
by Vernons due to the spectacular disinterest shown by the UK public towards
this rather poorly conceived game. Being neither a lottery where you can
pick your own numbers nor a soccer pools game where you can choose the
fixtures, Vernons Easy Play sat very uneasily inbetween the two without the seeming
benefits of either (small jackpots and not being allowed to pick your own
fixtures made this a very unappealing game). I pointed all of this out
before even the first game took place on my Web pages, but I doubt Vernons
bothered to check them out :-)
- Wednesday 5th May
It was a tough evening because I was doing live soccer commentary
in our Liverpool FC chat room on the Liverpool vs. Manchester United
match in addition to popping into the lottery chat room at half-time
to do the lottery commentary and draw, which went OK.
Because of the soccer comms, I phoned up Camelot later than usual
(full-time was around 9.50pm - 2-2 draw if you're interested),
but I still got the full results up quicker than other Web sites.
- Sunday 2nd May
Phoned up Camelot and got the Vernons Easy Play ticket sales (belatedly !).
- Saturday 1st May
The chat room was pretty busy tonight thanks to the £20m Super Draw and
the live TV show commentary and draw went fine. The lottery TV show announced
that there were 8 jackpot winners just before it ended, but then Camelot
stalled and stalled for over 100 minutes before issuing the full results.
In fact, ITV teletext (and BBC teletext shortly after) had the full results
some 80 minutes after the draw, so I used those provisionally until Camelot
confirmed them. Also, there was no ticket sales info for the Vernons Easy Play this week
(due to Vernons sending a fax to Camelot when Camelot's fax machine wasn't
working), so I'll have to contact Camelot about that tomorrow.