« The Rural LifeAngus King Tours The Country »
01.06.2003

Powerball

Because part of my plan for financial independence hinges on getting a windfall of $300,000, I made sure to get a ticket for the PowerBall drawing on my way to Maine over Christmas. I'm not usually a gambling sort of guy, but the jackpot was nearly $300 million, comfortably over the amount I require, and the drawing was to be held on Christmas Day. It sounded like the right present for me.

Winning numbers are drawn at 11 P.M. Eastern time, but it took me over ninety minutes to actually get the winning numbers over the Internet. When I finally got through to the lottery websites the next day, I understood why. Every state lottery webmaster, along with the web savants manning PowerBall headquarters itself, seemed to have gone through the same thought process:

  • We know that millions of people play our lottery
  • We know that every Wednesday at 11 PM, our website will get flooded with traffic
  • We know that the ONLY information those visitors will want is the winning numbers...
  • ..so let's put those numbers on a bloated page filled with images...
  • ..and serve it using IIS!!!

Yes siree, the Powerball web page clocks in at 183K, has duplicate <html> tags and no <body> tag, and dies every Wednesday night at 11:00:01 PM. In fact, so do the other state lottery websites. They contain twenty bytes worth of useful information, but none of them can handle the load. Instead, they go down each week, during the only time anyone has a need for them.

I don't know how long they stay down, because I got lucky and found the winning numbers on the AP news wire.

I also found this wonderful guide to choosing winning numbers. It would have given my high school math teacher a stroke. They keep stats of which numbers have been "hot", and tell you the best ticket to play.

Me, I always play 1,2,3,4,5,6, just to piss everyone off should I win.

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