NJ Radio Station Uses New Content Platform To Revamp Website


A New Jersey-based public radio station is releasing a new online program in an attempt to bring their online presence into the modern age. The station, WFMU, plans on rolling out their new program titled Audience Engine, along with a new webpage layout, to make it easier for journalists and digital web marketers to insert the company’s webpage into various types on online platforms, thus expanding their audience.

One of the important features of Audience Engine will be a fundraising widget, which will appear as part of the radio webpage and will also have embedding capacities so staff members and supporters can encourage donations on social media sites like WordPress and Tumblr. A fundraising widget like this not only promotes the radio station itself, but it also encourages community participation and allows the radio station to give back to its community as much as possible.

One representative involved in the development process also notes that the webpage will include a revamped comments section, allowing listeners to communicate with each other without being dragged into “a pit,” which seems to happen all too often on social media pages like YouTube and Facebook.

The biggest benefit of this development seems to be simply increased freedom, on behalf of the listeners, to choose which pieces of the site they want to promote, rather than being forced to copy-paste the URL and directing others on how to locate certain pages on the site. Audience Engine will essentially allow internet users to pick apart WFMU’s new website so that they can re-post whatever they feel comfortable posting. There will be more emphasis on listener interaction and involvement with the station, as well as the ability to create various types of new content.

As the internet evolves, certain functions become obsolete while other functions become almost essential for a page’s functioning. Even though different industries often require different methods of marketing and advertising, it’s clear that certain functions, like widespread user participation, are becoming more important for any company attempting to maintain a strong online presence. A company’s website is becoming part of the product created, and companies like WFMU are realizing that it cannot be ignored.

Police Now Need Warrants to Search Cellphones

In a recent decision authored by Chief Justice Roberts, the U.S. Supreme Court determined that cell phone data of an individual who’s been arrested may not be be searched by police without a warrant, addressing concerns about Fourth Amendment rights.

“This is a bold opinion,” said George Washington University law professor Orin S. Kerr. “It is the first computer-search case, and it says we are in a new digital age. You can’t apply the old rules anymore.”

The country definitely seems to have entered a new digital age. In fact, 90% of Americans own a cell phone; 25% of whom are making online searches with these mobile devices. That’s not to mention the fact that 29% of cellphone owners can’t imagine living without their devices.

However, perhaps the biggest indicator of a digital age is that this ruling has broader implications. According to the Adam Liptak of the New York Times, it almost certainly applies to other mobile devices, which means that police will also need warrants to search tablets and laptops. 

According to the ruling, “The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought.”

Though this ruling is definitely a win for privacy rights in the digital age, it will also make law enforcement more challenging, which Chief Justice Roberts acknowledged. 

“Cellphones have become important tools in facilitating coordination and communication among members of criminal enterprises, and can provide valuable incriminating information about dangerous criminals,” wrote Roberts in the ruling. “Privacy comes at a cost.”

However, the ruling may not make it that much more difficult, considering the fact that similar technologies can make it easier than ever for police to get their warrants. The Chief Justice noted that using email and tablets, officers can sometimes obtain their warrants in just 15 minutes time.

Donald Trump Fights California Officials Over His American Flag

How much drama does a golf course create? A lot, apparently, even when it has nothing to do with golf. Donald Trump, who is no stranger to creating waves with the American media, is now bring his ferocious attitude onto his California golf course and fighting for his right to display an American flag.

The flag in question flies on a 70-foot pole at the Southland Trump National Golf Course, and according to state officials, Trump has not filed the proper paperwork to receive a permit allowing him to keep the flag up. Additionally, Trump has been accused of not paying a $10,000 fee to fly the flag on such a tall flagpole. Trump’s attorney is arguing that the investment mogul has, in fact, paid the fee, and that the flag has been flying on the pole for many years without complaint.

A proposed plan is that the golf course would lower the flagpole to 26 feet, but it appears that residents around the course would actually be upset by this move — if they care about the tall flagpole at all. As resident Scott Winters has noted to CBS Los Angeles, “There’s a lot of other local issues that are far more important than the height of a flag.” Trump, on the other hand, sees the issue as one of the utmost importance, and he has personally patriotically stated that he “will fight for the American flag.”

Local Councilman Jim Knight claims that the flagpole situation isn’t about being able to display the flag, but about not following city regulations. The proposed lowering of the flag does not technically violate the U.S. Flag Code, which is a federal law stating that no disrespect is to be shown toward the American flag; even if the proposed lowering did violate the Code, there are actually no penalties for violation.

It is likely that Trump and his supporters do not want state officials to succeed because the case could serve as an example that regulations and monetary fees seem to be more important than patriotism and the American right to freedom of expression.

At One Indiana National Guard Base, Communications Devices are Truly State-of-the-Art

Communications are always changing in the United States: just a few years ago in 2000, the U.S. reached a peak in the number of phone lines at 186 million. Today, however, there are approximately 100 million fewer copper landlines, with more consumers using cellular phones and fiberoptic cable services.

The communications for the military are not impervious to change, either. At one military base in Terre Haute, Indiana, the communication devices utilized by soldiers are evolving, too.

Senior Airman Joseph Bowlin showed off the Indiana National Guard’s 181st Intelligence Wing and some of its radio and communication equipment. 

In military uses, Bowlin said, communication equipment helps the U.S. target enemy sites.

One example of this is the a device the size of a laptop computer, which can show live video from either a manned or unmanned aircraft.

Some of these items were on display at an invitation-only domestic operation expo last week, which was hosted by the Indiana National Guard’s 181st Intelligence Wing and Indiana State University. The event was held at the Terre Haute International Airport-Hulman Field.

Bowlin explained, “We also have radios, with the ability to communicate if power goes down and there are no cellphones or no phone lines.”

Such radios can be either satellite radios or even HF tactical radios, which allow for long-range communication.

The unit also has access to thermal-imaging devices, which can help emergency response teams find people under rubble or in remote locations. Some of these devices can take these images from unmanned aerial vehicle, or drone aircraft, about 12 feet long with 14-feet wingspans.

Such aircraft can fly for six hours for 70 to 75 miles with a speed of up to 127 miles per hour. They are designed to be “purely reconnaissance,” says Spc. Tyson Pelo, who is training to fly one.

The devices are controlled by two people: the aircraft operator and the camera operator, the former of which can make the plane go as high as 15,000 feet into the air.

The drone’s purpose is to show an overview of damage from wildfires and other natural disasters.

The wing at Terre Haute employees personnel from 62 of 92 Indiana counties and 18 states and has a payroll of over $50 million per year. In addition to its employment roster, its use of technology adds much revenue to the nation’s economy, according to some Indiana National Guard members.

As Eyewear Becomes More Fashion Focused, Sunglass Sales are Picking Up

Sunglasses: are they the next lipstick? Historically, economists have observed that in times of economic strife — such as the recent U.S. Recession — sales of makeup go up rather than down, as consumers search for relatively inexpensive ways to boost their morale and update their look.

Over the past few years, a new, related trend has emerged to accompany this: the rising sale of sunglasses. While women’s apparel experienced a 4% overall sale increase from 2012 to 2013, sunglasses revenue rose 9%, more than double the pace. About a billion pairs of sunglasses are now sold each year.

There are, according to industry experts, a few reasons this trend is taking off. One reason is that eyewear has become more fashion-focused. Instead of just buying a pair of shades at the drugstore, people are searching for upscale designs that complement their overall look. Retailers like Warby Parker and the rise of the Google Glass have helped to keep glasses fashion on consumers’ minds.

And again, the Recession plays a part in this. Many consumers want high-end brands, but can’t afford a $3,000 handbag. Sunglasses represent a happy medium where they can access the brands they love, without paying the higher retail price. Gucci handbags, for example, typically cost more than $1,000, while their sunglasses frequently sell for $300. For the price-savvy consumer, it’s comparatively a bargain.

“We know that [the] average American owns lots of shoes and handbags,” says Kristen McCabe, VP of the Sunglass Hut North America. “They’re starting to think about eyewear in the same way, which is really important.”

Rumors of Radio’s Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

People have been talking about the death of radio for years. AM lost its social clout when FM began to dominate the airwaves. In 1979, one-hit-wonder Buggles claimed that video killed the radio star. Then cars began to have cassette players. Then CD players. Now, they have USB ports, Auxiliary outlets, and Bluetooth capabilities, all of which allow MP3s — the figurative villain in the analog v. digital debate — to be streamed through the car’s audio system.

Yet, it seems that rumors of radio’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. According to the latest data from the Pew Research Center, 92% of Americans age 12 and older listened to the radio at least once per week in 2012, which is down by only two percentage points from 2001. This means that for over a decade, people have continued to listen to the radio despite having other listening options available. 

In America’s major cities, radio also continues to ride shotgun on people’s daily commutes, or at least for a portion of it. Of New York’s 34.7 minute daily commute, more than three minutes is spent listening to the radio. Of Chicago’s 31.1 minute daily commute, three and a half minutes is spent listening to the news on the radio. Of Boston’s 28.9 minute commute, more than three minutes is spent listening to news and talk radio.

What’s more, it’s been found that 80% of people spend between one to three hours listening, and 40% of people are listening for one to two hour sessions at a time

Although people proclaim the death of radio so often that the very phrase “radio is dead” has become cliche, it simply isn’t. Despite new technologies and changing listening patterns, radio has continued — and will likely continue in the future — to be a part of our everyday lives.

Free Wedding Gowns for Military Brides; Brides Across America Is At It Again

For military brides, and fiancés of deployed military men, a fairy tale wedding is usually only a dream. Being stationed across the world for months or years at a time can hinder any grand wedding plans that a bride has imagined her entire life. 

But not all her fantasies will necessarily go by the wayside. In fact, she can get the perfect wedding gown, thanks to Brides Across the America, a six-year-old organization that supports military brides. 

In Oakville, Connecticut, the organization will team up with The Wedding Embassy to roll out their annual drive on July 12 and 13, to offer these brides a free wedding dress.

Brides Across America founder, Heidi Janson, stated that the event helps remember the sacrifices fiancés make when their husbands-to-be get deployed, as well as when engaged military women are sent overseas for duty. 

“A wedding is something everyone loves and to give a wedding gown to support our troops makes perfect sense! This is our gift to them, to say thank you for their service and sacrifice,” Janson says. 

The Wedding Embassy is also just one of over 60 bridal salons working with Brides Across America to fit military brides with the perfect gown for their big day. In Ankeny, Iowa, the Bridal Connection will host its annual red carpet event for military brides on July 3. The company expects that 20 designer gowns will reach the hands of these brides during the soiree.

Brides Across America was founded in 2008 by Janson, who wanted to do something to help men and women that serve in the armed forces. The first year of Janson’s efforts saw at least 50 gowns distributed to military brides, but the campaign has ballooned in recent years, with 2013 garnering 12,000 dresses. 

The organization was also featured in People Magazine last year, and in 2012, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Dr. Jill Biden, recognized the company during an event to celebrate organizations that help military families. 

These bridal giveaways could be the key to helping fiancés of deployed soldiers, and military women, save money on the expenses a wedding incurs. Studies show that couples spend an average of $28,000 on weddings in the U.S

In order to qualify, brides must either be currently deployed, have a future deployment scheduled, a fiancé serving the military, or have been deployed to Middle East, Iraq, Afghanistan, Japan, or Korea in the last five years. Brides will also need to prove their eligibility with deployment papers and proper identification.

New Study Indicates That Consumers Will Avoid Businesses That Provide Inefficient Mobile Apps

According to a new study by AppDynamics and the Institute of Management Studies (IMS), the majority of people will delete an application if it operates too slowly.

The study findings are key for understanding just how much speed and efficiency matters when it comes to consumers engaging with apps on a routine basis. The researchers found that 86% respondents had already deleted an app because of slow or inefficient performance, and 33% said that, if their bank’s mobile app performed poorly, they would switch banks rather than deal with an alternate way of doing their banking.

The study was conducted out of both the U.K. and the U.S., and involved about 2,000 participants. The study is large enough that its findings can be extrapolated as representative of typical user interactions with smartphones.

Although these findings might seem worrisome for companies that tend to struggle with app speeds, there were indications that organizations with great mobile apps tended to benefit from it. About 30% of people surveyed said they would spend more money on a company that provided a great app.

This sends a fairly clear message to companies looking to make a profit through mobile conversion: investing in a great app can help ensure the sale. Considering that already, 28% of mobile users access the internet with a mobile device more frequently than they do with a desktop, this factor will only become more important as a shift to increasingly mobile-based internet usage continues. Mary Meeker’s 2014 announcement of annual internet trends echoes this — Meeker and her team have shown that, while the total number of internet users worldwide is growing at a rate of less than 10% annually, the number of smartphone users is still growing by about 20% annually.

“With Forrester analysts projecting U.S. mobile commerce sales alone to top $100 billion in 2014, our study underlines the importance of well performing apps,” said Tom Levey of AppDynamics.

Bedbugs Infest Library, Cause Human Bookworms to Flee

Everyone’s heard of bookworms — but what about book bugs? The City of Warren in Michigan had to temporarily close the Miller Branch public library after a bedbug infestation was uncovered there.

According to Detroit Free Press, a patron had originally reported that a man sitting next to her in the library had bugs crawling all over his body. A librarian escorted the man out, and asked him not to come back. She reported the incident to Mayor Jim Fouts, explaining that the man had previously been a frequent visitor.

Fouts hired Griffin Pest Control to inspect the branch, and the inspection confirmed that there was a bedbug infestation. Bug-sniffing dogs brought in revealed additional hiding bedbugs located throughout the library. Both chemical and heat treatments have since been scheduled in order to eradicate the pest.

Libraries are supposed to be clean and safe,” said Fouts about the infestation, adding that librarians are now trained to recognize bedbugs, and they will inspect any items being returned to the library for potential insects. “Everyone has the right to use the library, but no one has the right to infect the library and cause it to be shut down because of personal hygiene or whatever the case may be,” added Fouts in an interview with the Detroit Free Press.

While books are an unlikely vector for the pest, the libraries are most concerned about couch cushions located in area libraries where patrons are likely to sit for long periods of time. Bed bugs are a parasitic insect that feed on blood. While they are not dangerous, they can cause skin rashes, allergic symptoms, and welts to form. They can survive up to 300 days without eating. The library was smart to take care of eradication right away, because bed bugs can multiple quickly — within a short lifetime, each female can lay up to 500 eggs.

Urgent Care Clinics Becoming Growing Option for Sick Children, Says University of Michigan Study

When it comes to taking care of sick children, many parents find that options are limited if the children are prohibited from attending daycare or school. As such, working parents have to resort to taking time off, something that can cost the whole family in major resources.

But parents who need care for their children outside of normal working hours are in luck: an increasing number of urgent care facilities are popping up around the nation, and they can take the frustration out of waiting days or weeks for a doctor’s appointment and spending time and money in an emergency room.

And although these centers are new, one study has already concluded that they are growing in popularity as an option for parents of sick kids.

The study, published by the University of Michigan on June 23, found that more parents are choosing urgent care over emergency room visits when their children get sick and cannot attend school or daycare. Among parents who are single, divorced, African American, have job concerns, or need a doctor’s note for the child to return to school or care, emergency room and urgent care visits are significantly higher.

Children who have frequent mild illnesses are often unnecessarily excluded from child care at high rates. For parents whose children lack a readily available primary care physician, the emergency room and urgent care are more likely options.

According to the UM study, 80 percent of parents took their children to a primary care doctor when their children couldn’t attend child care or school. Twenty-six percent took their children to urgent care, beating the ER by one percent as only 25 percent of parents took their kids to an emergency room.

The UM study was based on a survey of 630 parents with children ages 0 to 5 in child care.

For many parents, availability isn’t the only issue when it comes to raising children. Out of pocket costs for healthcare are rising for everyone in the U.S. at alarming rates, and the cost of raising a child until the age of 18, for any born around 2012, is approximately $217,000 — not including college costs.