Rhodri Marsden

Rhodri Marsden is the Technology Columnist for The Independent; he has also written about crumpets, Captain Beefheart, rude place names and string. He's also a musician who plays in the band Scritti Politti, and won the under-10 piano category at the 1980 Watford Music Festival by playing a piece called "Silver Trumpets" with verve and aplomb.

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Rhodri Marsden's interesting objects: The last bottle of grog distributed to Royal Navy sailors

* Forty-four years ago this week, the final ration of grog was distributed to sailors in the Royal Navy; 31 July, 1970 became known as Black Tot Day, with the final 11am call of 'Up Spirits' being marked with the wearing of black armbands and, in one case, a mock funeral.

YouTube cover versions have gone from being unwelcome to broadly tolerated - and why not?

Earlier this year, a band that I play in decided to record a cover version of a TV theme tune, make a video for it and put it online in the hope of attracting some attention. What began as a whimsical idea ended up as a severe administrative headache; I discovered that to do things by the book, it was likely that I'd need to get permission from the publisher of the original song to do so. If I didn't, I'd be participating in what Wired magazine once referred to as "quite possibly the most popular creative art that's against the law".

News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns

Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements

Rhodri Marsden's interesting objects: The ice-cream cone celebrates its 110th birthday

* 110 years ago this week, Charles E Menches was sitting idly at the St Louis World's Fair when he saw some girls walking past who'd hollowed out small cakes and put ice-cream inside. It was a Eureka moment. A December 1931 obituary describes how he walked to a nearby confectionery stall and immediately invented the ice-cream cone. Way to go, Charlie.

Change of art: Google’s new Roboto font placed over the old one (hint: red new, blue old)

Google has spent 18 months changing its typeface - but can you tell the difference?

Roboto - the system font that's been used on Google's mobile operating system, Android, since 2011 - needed tweaking

Google+ becomes more privacy-friendly with launch of pseudonyms

There's an accepted piece of wisdom which says that if people know who we are on the internet, we'll behave ourselves. It makes sense. After all, who'd want to be identified publicly as an abusive ranter who responds to even the mildest provocation with a stream of expletives?

End of the rainbow: the best thing about E17 is no longer ‘that you can leave it quickly’

Why is everybody moving to Waltham Forest?

It has the fastest-rising house prices in the UK, but it isn't easy to love Waltham Forest. Rhodri Marsden ponders the approaching cupcake revolution on his doorstep

Rhodri Marsden's Interesting Objects: The saucy postcard

* Sixty years ago this week, a 79-year-old man stood trial at Lincoln Crown Court for a breach of the 1857 Obscene Publications Act (OPA). That man was Donald McGill, Britain's pre-eminent saucy postcard artist, who by the time of his death had drawn some 12,000 nudge-wink pictures. One of the offending postcards featured a young man holding a gigantic stick of rock protruding from his groin. McGill claimed that its phallic nature had never occurred to him.

Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside

Rhodri Marsden: Filming everything is a dangerous mix of vanity and stupidity

A badly-framed, woozy digital keepsake, an aide-memoire at best, a pointless act of narcissism in pursuit of social media thumbs-up at worst

Rhodri Marsden's Interesting Objects: The sliced loaf

* Eighty-six years ago this weekend, an advertisement appeared in The Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune for Kleen Maid Sliced Bread. "The housewife can well experience the thrill of pleasure," it read, "with each slice the exact counterpart of its fellows." The next morning, Missouri's Chillicothe Baking Company put the first pre-sliced loaves on sale to the public.

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