theLogBook.com History

theLogBook as a text file - circa 1992In the beginning, I was 17 years old and had a lot of time on my hands.

theLogBook.com has a longer history than many readers may realize. The origins of this site lie in a plain text file called TNGLOGBK.TXT, a simple Star Trek: The Next Generation episode guide in an easy-to-read format (inspired by the format of Jean-Marc Lofficier’s Doctor Who Programme Guide). It was originally created in the no-frills text editor of the ProTERM terminal program on an Apple II computer. It went over well in the Fort Smith, Arkansas BBS community when first introduced in 1989. Then it went national via the OGG-NET mail/file forwarding network, and when the host BBS, Pseudocode, turned into a PC-based system called Jackalope Junction, the LogBook was unleashed on a worldwide audience.

People actually liked this thing I originally created as a reference tool for myself.

Updates started out monthly and then went quarterly as new guides were added (the first episode guides to follow the Next Generation LogBook covered Blake’s 7 and Classic Star Trek). The TXT file became a ZIP file to accomodate the new guides. Deep Space Nine, Babylon 5 and Red Dwarf LogBooks followed in 1993.

In mid-1994, I started to make plans for a printed version of the LogBook. It was originally planned as a newsletter taking up both sides of a single sheet of paper; news and rumors about upcoming episodes would be printed on the front, and the latest LogBook episode guide entries would appear on the back.

It didn’t quite work that way. Thanks to Fidonet, I had tons of news to print – and very little space in which to print it. The LogBook ‘zine bloated from a single-sheeter to four sheets to six sheets, where it remained most of the time. It was laid out on an unwieldly DOS desktop publishing program called EnVision Publisher, which met two requirements for me: it was dirt cheap, and I could use keyboard commands for everything (vital since my mouse was broken). The LogBook ‘zine played a major part in my gradually going rather desperately broke at the age of 23.

theLogBook ‘Zine: A History In Print

theLogBook 'Zine, Volume 1, Issue #3 - October 1994Volume One, #3
(October 1994)

This six-page ‘zine, printed on lovely lavender paper donated by Robert Parson, offered reviews of the second year of Babylon 5, reviews of Fox’s Alien Nation reunion movie, and news of  Genevieve Bujold’s hasty departure from Star Trek: Voyager.

Archived articles from this issue are available in the site’s news archive.

theLogBook 'Zine, Volume 1, Issue #4 - November 1994Volume One, #4
(November 1994)

Trying to be different from every other Trek ‘zine on the block (which, at the time, seemed like they were all practically printing the entire Generations script), the first eight-page issue offered no previews or spoilers for the first Next Generation movie.

Archived articles from this issue are available in the site’s news archive.

theLogBook 'Zine, Volume 1, Issue #5 - December 1994Volume One, #5
(December 1994)

A brief jump to ten pages, with news of Tim Russ joining the cast of Voyager, the infamous Siskel-and-Ebert-style review of Generations, and a panic piece about nobody running Voyager in the Fort Smith area. (I jumped the gun on that fact, actually…someone did show Voyager.)

Archived articles from this issue are available in the site’s news archive.

theLogBook 'Zine, Volume 1, Issue #8 - March 1995Volume One, #8
(March 1995)

Back to eight pages with pieces on VR.5, TekWar, and Blake’s 7. The cover story was a teaser for a local convention benefiting a terminally ill girl, but the convention was later cancelled under some suspicious circumstances.

Archived articles from this issue are available in the site’s news archive.

theLogBook 'Zine, Volume 1, Issue #9 - April 1995Volume One, #9
(April 1995)

The incredibly expensive-to-produce (though nice) full-color artwork cover actually had a decent little ‘zine inside. This was the LogBook’s second – and last – full-color cover. (The first color issue had been a murky screen grab of Voyager which was so illegible it was barely worth printing, let alone printing in color.)

Archived articles from this issue are available in the site’s news archive.

theLogBook 'Zine, Volume 1, Issue #10 - May 1995Volume One, #10
(May 1995)

So much for RoxCon. News of a rumored upcoming Doctor Who revival on Fox, some series renewal/cancllation news, pieces on seaQuest and Earth 2, and Rob Heyman’s profile of the Die Hard films. At the bottom of page 1: a little blurb about the launch of a LogBook web site on a University of Arkansas server…

Archived articles from this issue are available in the site’s news archive.

In the end – September 1995 to be exact – the LogBook ‘zine was put to sleep. The combination of astronomical printing costs and a very small subscriber base didn’t bode well for its future, and I had put myself in serious financial jeopardy by carrying on as long as I did. But the ‘zine would live on via the net.

theLogBook logo - circa 1995
A History In Electrons
The old LogBook web site logo, used from 1996 to 1998, was actually a video grab; it was a 3-D still generated by a Video Toaster on an Amiga 4000 at work. This logo was used for a long time, and the font is still in use.

theLogBook.com - The Text File Days
The Text File Days
(1989-1996)

theLogBook.com Original 1995 Homepage
bubblegum.uark.edu/~cbray/logbook
(Fall 1995)
The original LogBook site – or “homepage” as the graphic proclaimed – borrowed its logo and look from the ‘zine, of which it was intended to be an online archive. The main menu was a mammoth image map which – in the day before 56k modems, DSL and T3 lines – took ages to load.

theLogBook.com at ExecPC
www.execpc.com/~logbook
(October 1998)
Yeeee-ikes! The image map menu on the left side of the screen was a huge file (as was the GIF animation header). The site had been on ExecPC in Wisconsin for about nine months at this point – but was still getting lots of visits.

theLogBook.com - 1999-2001
www.theLogBook.com
(Summer 1999-Spring 2001)
Once moved to its own domain, theLogBook.com went through any number of design changes. I refer to this one as “v2.0,” or “the colored block design.”

theLogBook.com - 2001-2006
www.theLogBook.com
(2001-2006)
Ahhhh…this is more like it. A unified design across every page of the site, with plenty of options to differentiate between sections by background graphics and other features. This design lasted until the recent switchover to WordPress.

theLogBook.com - 2007-now
www.theLogBook.com
(2007-present)
With a massive effort spanning more than two years, the site’s content is being shifted entirely over to (in some cases very heavily modified) WordPress blogging software. Using WordPress as a content management system has allowed us to unify the site’s look further, get everything into searchable and sortable databases, and set up a system where we can just concentrate on writing and producing neat stuff for you to look at. The new version of the site also has powerful multimedia potential, with the ability to add video and audio clips to review sections, and the ability to quickly add (or remove) advertising banners across entire sections of the site where needed.

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