Lottery Post Journal

Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Today Lucasfilm announced the title of the last Star Wars movie ever - Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.  From what I've seen, the movie shaping up to be awesome.  This Star Wars fan can't wait.

I recently picked up some collectable Revenge of the Jedi posters.  Lucas originally named Episode VI Revenge of the Jedi, and then later changed it to Return of the Jedi - but not before producing a few marketing materials (mainly small posters).  Those posters are now highly collectable, and I have two different ones!

9-11 Report Available Online

The entire report is available for free online.  I have read through a few chapters, and I must say it is sad, compelling reading.  The document is extremely well-written, and from what I've seen, strikes a very impartial, factual tone.

Chapter 1, "We Have Some Planes," brings all the emotion of that day back.  Each flight is detailed with exactly who was on board, the situation, and what transpired.  I was glad to finally read in detail about the heroism aboard the flight that crashed in Pennsylvania.  True American heros.

Here's a link to the complete report:

http://www.9-11commission.gov/

New Prediction Graph

I had an idea for a prediction activity graph, so people could see how active a predictor was in the recent past.  I added the graph to the Prediction Statistics page for each member.  It shows a bar graph for the past 90 days, with the total number of picks for each day.

Maybe sometime next year (when we get a longer prediction history) I'll add a rolling 13 months graph as well.

For those who like to know the technical details, I was able to do it stictly using HTML table constructs and 3 1-pixel graphics.  The result is that is should appear consistent in any browser, and it should load pretty fast.

Passengers Give Troops First-Class Seats

Jul 15, 10:01 AM (ET)

DALLAS (AP) - Eight soldiers flying home from Iraq for two weeks of R&R flew in style instead of coach after first-class passengers offered to swap seats with them.

"The soldiers were very, very happy, and the whole aircraft had a different feeling," flight attendant Lorrie Gammon told The Dallas Morning News in Thursday's editions.

The June 29 seat-swap on American Airlines Flight 866 from Atlanta to Chicago started before boarding, when a businessman approached one of the soldiers and traded his seat.

When the swapping was done, "the other two first-class passengers wanted to give up their seats, too, but they couldn't find any more soldiers," Gammon said.

Another flight attendant, Candi Spradlin, said she was impressed with the acts of good will.

"If nothing else, those soldiers got a great homecoming," she said.

Smoker Ignites Portable Toilet Explosion

Jul 15, 7:25 AM (ET)

BLACKSVILLE, W.Va. (AP) - Warning: smoking in the toilet can be dangerous. A portable toilet exploded Tuesday after a man who was inside it lit a cigarette.

Emergency workers said the man was not severely injured and drove himself to Clay-Battelle Community Health Center. He was later transferred to Ruby Memorial Hospital. His name and condition were not available Wednesday.

The explosion, which occurred in Blacksville, resulted from a buildup of methane gas inside the portable toilet. The methane did not "take too kindly" to the lit cigarette, said a spokeswoman for Monongalia Emergency Medical Services.

Ditka no more

Well, too bad.  It looks like Ditka is out of the Illinois Senate race as quickly as he was in.

Ditka for Senate

I just read that Mike Ditka is going to run for the Senate seat in Illinois.  Cool!

Finished Popups and .... Results History!

I finished coding the entire Web site with popup menus for User links and Game links.  It should be much easier to access key features now, and it will be much easier to expand in the future.

Also, All the results history has been loaded and is available online!  Standard members can see up to 10 drawings of history, and Gold and Platinum members have unlimited access.

All winning predictions - since the feature was first available - have been calculated as well, so I can start building those pages now.  Should be fun!

Behind-the-scenes improvements

Lots of stuff going on behind the scenes at Lottery Post.

I've finally finished loading all the results history for all the games, plus the jackpot history.  Both histories go back at least a couple of years - the results go back to the mid- to late-90's.

Although you won't notice the change, I have upgraded the menus to support better popup control.  You can see an example of this on the new Lottery Jackpots page.  Clicking the game brings up a context menu that currently brings you to the Jackpot History page for that game. 

There are lots of other areas I'm going to start coding context menus.  Lottery Post has gained so many new features that it has become important to implement the menus.

Next on the to-do list is the comprehensive prediction stats, so that people can see how they have done (and see how others have done).  Should be interesting.

Also, still working on Gold and Platinum memberships!

Fixed Printable Page

I finally got around to fixing up the Printable Page feature, which has always been a little buggy when there is lots of normatting in the messages.  Now it seems to produce pretty good plain text, suitable for printing or copying.

The Blog feature you were waiting for!

It was much trickier to add than I had anticipated, but the Edit and Delete functions are finally available for Blogs!

They have the same restrictions as Editing and Deleting your messages posted to the forums.  That is, you have up to 20 minutes after you post the Blog entry to Edit and/or Delete it.  I have found this time limitation to be a good balance between giving everyone the ability to fix errors (as well as second-guessing a post after a second read-through) and making sure we don't end up with a bunch of revisionist history by allowing unlimited editing.

I know the next question is going to be about deleting or editing comments made by others in your Blog entries.  I am leaning towards not allowing that.  The reaons are:

  1. Everyone already has the ability to lock their Blog entries so that comments are refused
  2. Allowing everyone to delete other people's comments will discourage people from posting comments
  3. The ability to edit other people's comments would never be allowed, no matter what - imagine someone editing YOUR comments
  4. If someone posts a truly "evil" comment, I can be contacted for removal.  But I will only remove comments in extremely rare cases - only instances where I would immediately suspend the member's account.

Anyway, I hope everyone is helped by the new Edit and Delete functions!

New Blog Feature

Just added a new Blog feature that has been requested a few times.  From the main Blog page you can click a link to show all LP members with a Blog.  Fully searchable and sortable, so when the number of Blogs grows it should be very useful.