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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The Oliver twins, Philip and Andrew, at work creating the 'Dizzy' arcade-adventure games in 1988

Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

For one moment three decades ago, the British computer-games industry was a few thousand kids with a cheap computer, a tape recorder and a punk-like passion for the mysteries of programming. As a retro version of the ZX Spectrum gears up for release, Rhodri Marsden charts the rise and fall of the video-game punks

Rhodri Marsden's Interesting Object: The beer can

* Shake it up and spray it all over your best mate while shouting, because today marks the 80th anniversary of the sale of the first can of beer. Laughable beer canning experiments had taken place in the USA since 1905 – usually concluding with a small explosion – but prohibition kicked the problem down the road, giving the canning industry a chance to work on a solution. By the early 1930s, the American Can Company decided that the world was finally ready.

She's electric: some scientists believe that robots with consciousness, such as Ava in 'Ex Machina', are only 'a couple of breakthroughs away'

Alex Garland's film Ex Machina explores the limits of artificial intelligence - but how close are we to machines outsmarting man?

Having watched the new film, Rhodri Marsden found himself celebrating the joys of humanity
Many of us simply wouldn't trust our phones to switch themselves off

Surely a true smart phone would know to turn itself off at the cinema?

We're all capable of missing that reminder to switch our gadgets off

Rhodri Marsden's Interesting Objects: Roget's Thesaurus

* This weekend marks the 236th birthday of natural scientist Dr Peter Roget, a man so fond of list-making that he penned perhaps the ultimate list: the Thesaurus. It wasn't the first book to bring together English synonyms – Hester Piozzi's British Synonymy predated it by 60 years – but it would eventually become a celebrated work of linguistic reference.

Office romance: Joaquin Phoenix as Theodore Twombly, who falls in love with a computer, in ‘Her’

Rhodri Marsden: 'The dream of computers properly understanding us will come true'

Users' impatient gripes fail to acknowledge how far we've come

Taxing times: the frustrating experience of filling in tax return forms

Tax return deadline 2015: Could new app Zaptax turn January 31 into a pain-free date?

Rhodri Marsden discovers how technology is revolutionising financial literacy

Rhodri Marsden's Interesting Objects: The Sinclair C5

Clive Sinclair's electric vehicle was billed as a "revolution in personal transport" but became one of the most famous innovation disasters of all time

Technology companies are edging us ever nearer to a wireless, cable-free future

Images have emerged on the 9to5Mac website that purport to show the forthcoming version of Apple's MacBook Air with a solitary USB type-C port

Rhodri Marsden's Interesting Objects: The FM radio

* Seventy-five years ago this weekend, in 1939, Edwin Armstrong demonstrated the first long-distance broadcast of his greatest invention: FM radio. The 60-minute programme, relayed from Yonkers to Mount Washington, went without a hitch – and, according to the Boston Sunday Post, "without picking up the slightest trace of noise or static of any kind".

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Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
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Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
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Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
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Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
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Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
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The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
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Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
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The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

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Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

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Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
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The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
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As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea