|What happened to Who's Doctor Who?|
Allen Robinson passed away on June 7, 2001 (see the In Memoriam page). His family was not able to maintain the costs of keeping the site, so it went down on August 1, 2001. I have taken over the site for Allen and in his memory.
|Who are you?|
My name is Louise Lobinske. I've known Allen since my then-fiancé (now husband of 21 years) introduced us in 1986. For the last ten years or so of his life, Allen was one of my closest friends.
|Who owns Who's Doctor Who now?|
I do - and I take just as dim a view to plagiarism as he did. While I don't say I feel entirely comfortable claiming the copyright on these pages, I do so because the copyright must be enforced, and because I am the one with whom that duty now rests. Be assured that Allen will get credit for all the work he's done - that's the whole idea.
|What took so long getting the site back up?|
I'm putting this in because I'm sure someone will wonder, if not ask. And it's a valid question - after all, it never would have been down this long if Allen were still alive (although it never would have been down at all if Allen were still alive). If you'd rather skip this one, that's okay; otherwise, go get your drinks and popcorn now...
Ready? Here we go:
I think that about covers it. I certainly didn't want the site to be down for four months. It embarrasses and frustrates me that this site's many fans (as well as Allen, wherever he is) have had to wait so long. (And I'm leaving some work undone for the moment in the hopes of getting the site up that much quicker, like updating code to account for deprecated tags and such, not to mention finishing the updates to WhoLINK.) I hope "better late than never" can somehow still apply.
First, I was never in line for this job. Allen had other people in mind, but they couldn't be contacted when the time came. I received permission from Allen's mother to take over the site, and I began saving it (see the next point as to why we couldn't do a data transfer). That was on July 31st, the day before the site was scheduled to be taken down.
As luck would have it, I had something else to do that night too: My husband, who on July 31st was a Ph.D. student anxiously getting his dissertation ready, needed me to proofread it before he submitted it to his university...on August 1st. Somehow his deadline had managed to escape my brain...So I was in a frantic hurry, both because Allen's site was going down at July 31st on midnight - so his mother had been told, and so she told me (in reality it went down on August 1st, during the day) - and because after that I had 160 pages of proofreading to do (I used to be a professional proofreader). This led me to do something that would ultimately be very stupid because it created a lot of headaches for me later, although at the time it was almost a godsend: I saved most of the site through AOL using "Save as Complete Web Page." (Yes, I knew about Site Grabber - no, I didn't download it. I didn't think I had the time to mess with a new program that very night.) I didn't really have access to Allen's files because his backup system and mine were incompatible, and I was NOT taking 30 floppy disks over to his mother's house. She was computer illiterate and couldn't e-mail me the files, so I had no choice. (The consequences of spending over an hour saving Allen's site and then spending another six proofreading my husband's dissertation, after an eight-hour day at work, are an even longer story that I will spare you. If you're really curious, e-mail me.)
Web Site Snag #1: Getting a web host. This part took me over a month because the first people I lined up to do it suddenly refused to contact me when I was ready to give them money. This was right around September 11th, and I found myself thinking, "Coincidence?" I never did tip the FBI, but I guess they know who they're after by now. So after that fell through, I spent another few days soliciting another company, and finally found one. This led to:
Web Site Snag #2: What to use for a domain name? As you can tell, Who's Doctor Who ended up with something a little less than intuitive. This was because I took the time and trouble to write the BBC asking for permission to use my first choice and, on getting an answer that I had a little trouble interpreting (although they were courteous in responding promptly and I do appreciate that), deciding on a suitable substitute.
Real Life Intrusion: Consequences (okay, you'll get the short version). August 1st I was not well enough to go into work (to my complete non-surprise, having had only an hour's sleep, if that). I have fibromyalgia so it was not a simple case of fatigue, but my employer wasn't convinced, so I spent a lot of time fretting and looking for another job. I haven't been fired, and later in August I suddenly got better (again, details available by request).
A big part of the delay was me coming to terms with Allen's passing. I had to fully accept that he was gone and that it was okay to change his pages, if only to change links and add what needed to be added (like this page, for example). That took some time.
At some point I realized exactly what I had done in saving through AOL: Now most of the images were ART files. Internet Explorer and Netscape users with the current versions would be fine, but what about everyone else? So I had to convert all the images, and in doing so I realized the logos were coming out bad, so they are still ART files. I'm sorry, but I will probably have to do a reformat of the site anyway and at that point all the logos will be redone. (As I learn about HTML, I realize the problems tables create for the visually handicapped, who depend on devices to read the pages to them. These devices usually have trouble with tables. Allen used tables throughout the site as an easy way to organize material, and I'm sure he had no idea he was limiting accessibility to the site. I don't know how many visually impaired Doctor Who fans are out there, but I don't feel I should be assuming there aren't any. I will happily solicit input on this topic: Is there a market for handicapped-accessible Doctor Who sites? Do you know of anyone who has tried to access this site and been frustrated? Are you one of the ones who have had trouble? Please let me know.)
Another delay was the HTML class I took at Barnes and Noble University, without which I would not have bought the book which told me the above, nor would I have made it this far into editing the site. I'd been wanting to learn HTML anyway, so this gave me the excuse I needed.
- Also, I had to learn how to make logos for the new pages.
|Why do you still have the awards pages up?|
The awards meant a lot to Allen. He worked hard to get them, and as time went on he became more and more deliberate about which awards he applied for. I want to keep them up to show off the deserved accolades this site has received.
|Will you be applying for awards for Who's Doctor Who?|
No. However, the site has gotten a few unsolicited awards since Allen's passing, and those are up here.
|So what's in store for the site?|
Right now, very little. I'll be
maintaining the site, checking links and so forth, and someday, hopefully soon, the
day will come when I will be ready to add material to this site. It is my intention
to not only maintain the site in Allen's name, but to finish it. He's done
all the hard work; I just have to pick up where he left off.
Unfortunately for me (and for this site's many fans), that means I have a lot of homework
to do. You see, I'm a latecomer to Doctor Who, and I don't have the resources Allen
did starting out (nor do I have access to Allen's material). For instance, the list of
Doctor Who episodes that I own was embarrassingly small when I started. It is growing, and
I'm watching and buying tapes and DVDs as quick as I can (as well as recording the Tenth
Doctor), but it'll be a while yet before I feel equipped to add material, especially in the vein which Allen has already established. So I'm asking you all to be patient with me for a while. Don't worry, there will be new material. In the meantime, I'll have to change the site templates to keep a record of both author and maintainer when it comes time to add new "meat and potatoes" pages, plus whatever changes may be needed for accessibility purposes. So there will be at least one facelift in the site's future.
|Will you be changing the philosophy of the site?|
Nope - sorry, book fans. :) Allen's definition of canon for Who's Doctor Who will stand, except, of course, that it will also include the new series. I keep vacillating on whether I want to count Death Comes to Time as part of canon.
|What sources are used in the part of the biography you're writing?|
Eventually I hope to say, "Everything that Allen was using", but for now my answer is: my growing collection of Doctor Who stories, The Timetables of History, Compton's Encyclopedia, The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, and The New York Public Library Desk Reference. I will also certainly be visiting the online archive of
Missing Scripts (although all the missing stories have already been done by Allen) and The Universal
Databank by Jean-Marc Lofficier.