News: April, 2006

April 29, 2006
"Now More than Ever" Airs!
Ever since "Tales of a Small Town Thug", fans have been impatiently waiting to hear why Mandy seems to be so sad. The answer to that question has finally arrived, which you can hear in today's episode "Now More than Ever"! If you can't tune in on the radio, remember that you can always listen to the show on the internet by visiting Oneplace. Enjoy the show!

April 23, 2006
David Griffin Interview Announced!
As promised, here's the big announcement: I have been in contact with David Griffin, the actor who plays Jimmy Barclay on Adventures in Odyssey! He has agreed to take part in an audio interview in May and we have decided to let you, the fans, decide which questions I will be asking! This is your opportunity to ask anything you'd like to know about one of Adventures in Odyssey's most beloved characters and an actor who was with the show since it first began. I encourage everyone to use this submission form to send in the questions you'd like me to ask. This will surely be an entertaining and informative look at your favorite radio series, so please put your thinking cap on and fire off a question or two! ;o)

The interview will be released in May and will be available for download here on The Soda Fountain.

April 22, 2006
"Switch" Airs!
Today "Switch" airs, an interesting perspective on what it's like to be a parent! You can listen to the episode on Oneplace.

And check back tomorrow for a special announcement! :)

April 17, 2006
Gold Audio Artwork
Thanks to Focus on the Family, I have now posted better versions of the artwork for "Meanwhile in Another Part of Town" and "A Place of Wonder":

As usual, click on the images for a higher resolution!

April 14, 2006
Nathan Carlson Returning
School's winding down now, which is great, though I still have a few things I have to do (one essay and three finals) in the next week and a half. However, a great amount of pressure has been lifted from my shoulders and I look forward to starting my future plans for this site!

I also have some real news for you today! Nathan Carlson will be reprising his role as Stephen Straussberg in the upcoming episode "Now More than Ever". Nathan hasn't appeared in an Adventures in Odyssey episode since 2000, so this is great news for Odyssey fans!

And don't forget that "Three O'Clock Call" airs tomorrow... a brand new show!

April 08, 2006
Low-res Gold Audio Art
Low-resolution artwork is available for "Meanwhile in Another Part of Town" and "A Place of Wonder" over on The Official Site. So I suppose aside from "The Lost Episodes", that's the last Gold Audio art we're going to see! Unless of course Focus on the Family decides to continue with the Gold Audio albums, but that remains to be seen (and is probably unlikely).

April 06, 2006
Lack of Updates
So I build a new site and then I never update it ;)... I apologize about the lack of any new news recently, I'm just absolutely swamped with homework right now and will be for at least the next week (my last day of classes is next Thursday). Once school is over with, I promise to add some cool new features to the site and finish up the last 69 episodes I have to do for the character/actor information. So check back soon, and thanks for being patient with me :o).

April 01, 2006
The Soda Fountain Reloaded!
The Time Has Come! After months of preparation and a project that has been years in the making, I am proud to present the new and improved Soda Fountain! At first glance, it looks like just a new layout... but it's what lies beneath the layout that is so important. The entire website has been re-coded from the ground up and runs 100% on a database back end. What does that mean? Well, the character/actor database I talked about for what seems like years now was never intended to be a "real" database. It was simply a collection of links and html that gave the impression everything was connected. I spent hundreds upon hundreds of hours working on that database and never really got to show it off publicly because it just took long to do. It was also rife with errors (broken links, misspelled names, that kind of thing) that if I decided to update one portion, I would have to back track and spend countless time trying to make sure everything was up to date. As a result, the feature never saw the light of day.

But that changed this semester, with one of my classes requiring me to build an actual database. A database that would be efficient similar to a message board, where the content changes based on how the user wants and is also incredibly easy for me to update. So for the past two months, I've completely revamped the site and have rewritten it using a combination of PHP and MySQL. For those who don't understand what those are, The Town of Odyssey uses such a system, as do many messages boards. So after I created the code, I had to go through and transfer my static HTML pages into dynamic HTML pages and in the process was able to bring over the Character / Actor database that has, until now, never been seen! So let's put an end to my rambling and discuss the features:

Character / Actor Database

Since most of my free time in the past two months was spent coding the new site, I haven't been able to finish the character/actor database yet, but I was able to upload all that was completed. What this means is there are biographies for over 1,250 characters complete episode appearances and actor information. There are 400 cast & crew entries (the majority of names never before released), and they come complete lists of characters they've played. Of all 595 shows thus far, 80% of them have complete Character / Actor information, with 20% still awaiting completion over the next month. With the new system I have in place, this process will be dramatically faster and you'll have access to the characters/actors I add instantaneously, so you won't need to wait for the next installment.

Statistics Generator

A wonderful feature of the new database is the Statistics Generator page. It's fun to play around with and generate stats that you're interested in (though keep in mind the actor/character information is incomplete after "Leap of Faith"). You pick the start and finish episodes and let the generator spit out information related to that time frame. For example, did you know that Nathan Hoobler has written more shows than anyone but Marshal Younger since he joined the team? No? Well, there's more useless trivia you can generate by fooling around with the Statistics Generator, so have some fun! And let me know if there are any statistics you'd like to see incorporated (no promises, but if it's possible and useful, I'll try and put it in!).

Sortable Displays

When viewing episodes, you can sort by an episode's rating, title, or number. This will allow you a little more control over the order of the content listed on this site.

Still to Come...

Old Soda Fountain Stuff: Archived News, The Bruce Day Art Gallery, The Odyssey Scrapbook, Quizzes, Guestbook, Talk to the Paw, Novacom Q & A, Games section, and reviews will all return to this site in the near future. Due to time constraints (and school project constraints) I didn't have a chance to convert that content to the database, but will certainly be bringing everything over to the new format soon. A database will actually be a huge help with the News, Talk to the Paw and Novacom Q & A sections in particular, and I look forward to revitalizing the Talk to the Paw feature soon!

Wiki-Style Episode Info: This will allow you to submit information such as Goofs/Trivia/Quotes/Notes for any given episode. My role will be to approve user based entries by pressing a button, making them available for all visitors. The goal is to build the most informative Adventures in Odyssey website possible and allowing users to submit content in an efficient way is the best way to achieve this.

Search:Surprisingly, one one of the best features of a database is not yet available. I intend to build a useful search tool to allow you to easily access particular content that you want to look up. I want to implement episode categories as well (Imagination Station, Biblical, Kid's Radio, B-TV, etc...) and provide quick lists for shows that are of a particular interest to you.

Merchandise: No time frame on this project yet, but I would eventually like to add all Odyssey merchandise (videos, books, non-mainstream albums, etc...) to this site.

Possible Additions:These are in the "big idea" department, but are certainly possible. I would love to link the Soda Fountain and the Town of Odyssey together, letting users of that board log in here and rate episodes, easily create lists of albums they own, view other people's collections/ratings, view different skins, and be able to find out which episodes are the most popular and which are the least. Again, all of this is possible, and I could create such a thing using just this site and ignoring The Town of Odyssey, but having people register in two places seems kind of silly. So this is an option I will be looking at sometime during the summer, though I won't make any promises.

As a final note, one major change which is bound to please visitors is the ability to link to anything on this site (the old site did not allow linking, which wasn't by design but by virtue of the embedded frames that needed to load with every page visit). The site is also optimized to look decent on an 800 x 600 resolution, a resolution that looked pretty terrible with the old site. And I'd also like to note that Internet Explorer 6 currently does not support some of the nice enhancements which have been coded here. If you really want the best Soda Fountain experience, I would recommend either using Firefox or Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2, both of which support some major tweaks that make the site look much cooler when scrolling :o).

And as usual, if there are any issues with the new site, please contact me and let me know. The site has grown exponentially in size and I know I haven't found everything there is to find. I would also like to thank Kim, my class partner, for helping me with this site. Without him, I don't think I would have gotten it ready in time!


Album #50: The Best Small Town

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