Wayne MacPhail

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Wayne MacPhail has been a print and online journalist for 25 years. He was the managing editor of Hamilton Magazine and was a reporter and editor at The Hamilton Spectator until he founded Southam InfoLab, a national future information products facility for Southam Inc. in 1991. He went on to develop online content for most major players in Canada including Sympatico-Lycos, where he was the director of content. He is also a book author (Spin Doctors) and is a published and performed playwright (Abandon Hope Mabel Dorothy). He has taught online writing at several Ontario colleges and universities and is the co-owner of w8nc inc, a marketing and communications firm aimed at non- profit and educational organizations.
Columnists

In praise of stickers and emojis

Image: francisco toquica/flickr

Last week Apple introduced stickers and automatic emoji to its popular iMessage chat app.

Neither are new to chat platforms. But the move will introduce a large swath of smartphone users to a world where pictures are worth, if not a thousand words, at least a few of them when screen real estate and time are of the essence.

Stickers, if you are unaware, are relatively large cartoonish images which can be inserted into conversations in lieu of, or along with, words.

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Apple, the iPhone and the case of the missing headphone jack

Photo: flickr/Paul Hudson

To say that there has been a great hue and cry about Apple removing the headphone jack from its newest iPhones would be like saying k.d. lang can carry a tune.

The gnashing of teeth could be heard across Twitter, Facebook and reddit. The general consensus seems to be that Apple was arrogant, stupid, elitist and greedy to get rid of a port that has been a staple in audio equipment for a century.

In the headphone jack's stead, for those who don't know, Apple has opted for going wireless or, in a pinch, using the Lightning port has been employed mostly for charging iDevices.

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Steampunk celebrates the beauty and promise of early technology

Image: June Yarham/flickr

Imagine a world in which the Hindenburg Zeppelin had not become an inferno on landing. A world in which the transistor had never been invented. Where the airplanes that grew out of the First and Second World Wars had never been developed. A world where the steampower, clockwork and the fanciful electrical energy of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and the wilder inventions of Nikola Tesla were the primary power sources for airships, automatons, clanking vehicles and brass prosthetics and crackpot inventions.

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Gawker and Craigslist: A tale of two sites

Photo of Nick Denton via Andrew Mager/flickr

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It's hard for me to imagine two sites more different than Gawker and Craigslist. Nor can I imagine two people more diametrically opposed than the founder of Gawker, Nick Denton, and the creator of Craigslist, Craig Newmark.

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Our media's sad, unsavoury relationship with 'native' ad content

Olympic athlete Brianne Theisen-Eaton. Photo: filip bossuyt/flickr

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We all know an uncle or aunt who not only has a drinking problem, but denies it and has family members who ignore or enable the unhealthy behaviour.

These days I'm feeling like mainstream media in Canada is a bunch of drunken uncles, not incapacitated and embarrassing from alcohol consumption, but from their addiction to "native" ad content.

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The coming demise of Star Touch

Photo: Martin Abegglen/flickr

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What can we learn from the sad fate of the Toronto Star's Star Touch tablet fiasco and its imminent demise? I say demise because, despite what Torstar management said last week, you can start tossing your bets into the Star Touch death pool hat any time now.

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Gotta catch 'em all: The deep layers of Pokemon GO

Photo: Virginia State Parks/flickr

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Yes, this is about Pokemon GO. Or, at least, about the layers beneath the wildly popular augmented reality game. At first blush Pokemon GO looks like a simple, engaging and remarkably social pastime. But below the surface are deep levels of complexity, intention and future prospects.

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When worlds collide and boundaries bleed: Intersections between online and real life

Photo: VFS Digital Design/flickr

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Last week we witnessed two liminal moments in the space between the online and real worlds. In two very different ways, the edges bled beyond the boundary of one to the other.

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A guide to keeping the digital juice alive on vacation

Photo: Heather Harvey/flickr

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Summer is a time when many of us head to mountains, woodlands and seasides hoping to unwind and recharge. But when we head out on vacation with our smartphones, tablets, cameras and radios we find recharging them daily more challenging than keeping deer flies at bay.

So, here's my advice about how to cope.

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Media studies present charts of doom for news industry

Photo: Fuzzy Mannerz/flickr

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