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 Object: The passport photograph

Passport photos were hastily ushered in 100 years ago following an incident of wartime espionage

Pplkpr: If real friendship makes your heart beat faster, this absurdly-named app isn't for you

The app is designed to optimise relationships by monitoring our attitudes towards each other and prioritising certain people over others

How do you like them Apples?: a happy customer celebrates after being the first person to purchase the iPhone 6 in London, last September

Record Apple profits: We addicts are all too happy to be milked for our cash

We have been brainwashed by the Cult Of Mac

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
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Time to play God

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A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower