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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Emotient detects seven expressions of primary emotion

Rhodri Marsden: Do we really want an app that monitors our facial expression?

A friend of mine once went on a date with a self-styled psychoanalyst whose romantic modus operandi was to interpret her facial expressions and offer a running commentary on how he thought she was feeling. "You seem uncomfortable," he said – the irony being that she wasn't until he'd said that.

Sonic boom: Advertising is increasingly making use of tiny tunes to catch our attention

'Mmm, Danone." As I watch another Gok Wan-fronted advert for Activia yogurt, I know what's coming. It's always there, right at the end. "Mmm, Danone." It's a sound that usually washes over me, but I suddenly became intrigued by this pseudo-sexy appreciation of a multinational food corporation. How did it come about? Who wrote that three-note melody? How long did it take them? Do they get paid whenever it's broadcast? And if so, how much?

Rhodri Marsden: Why Office Graph could be the misdirected work email writ large

"Joan, please hold my calls for the next couple of hours." You'll find sentences like this in any number of dull novels written in the era when Joan was a likely name for someone's secretary.

Interesting objects: The first CDs were dismissed on 'Tomorrow's World' - and their size was determined by a Beethoven fan

Happy birthday, compact disc! 1 March, 1983 saw CBS unveil 16 shiny pop music titles to a British public who had become wearily tolerant of the crackle of vinyl and the flutter of cassette tape; these titles ranged from the sublime (Michael Jackson's Off the Wall) to the slightly ridiculous (Santana's Shangó) to the barely remembered at all (Quarterflash's Quarterflash). Those who could afford it could now experience pure digital stereo for the first time; as conductor Herbert von Karajan said when he first heard a CD (not Quarterflash's): "Everything else is gaslight".

Speed reading: Spritz’s primary aim is to stop our eyes from wandering about unnecessarily

Spritz promises to boost reading speeds to a breakneck 500 words a minute - will it enhance our enjoyment of literature?

When I heard this week that reading would "never be the same again", I was worried. But I'd forgotten that there are two kinds of "it'll never be the same again".

Rhodri Marsden: Twitter says my local Primark is on fire, but I'm not so sure

During the riots of August 2011, I sat in my flat in Tooting, south London, watching one version of the news unfold on the television, and an even more startling one unfold on social media.

Rhodri Marsden: Why wearable tech might just get us moving again

Many of us cannot be trusted to look after our own bodies without being reminded that we're losing our shape or that we have a death-like pallor.

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

Spike Jonze's film Her tells the story of a man who falls in love with his computer - but could it be more than science fiction?

Faced with the prospect of loneliness on one hand or the yo-yoing uncertainty of romance on the other, there might seem to be some wisdom in the idea of outsourcing one's emotional needs to a computer. And the technology is moving faster than we might imagine, says Rhodri Marsden

Guessing game: punters line up to place bets the old-fashioned way at London’s White City Greyhound Racing Stadium in 1943

'You bet me?' How a new generation of apps are combining social media and gambling

From sporting flutters to bets at the bar, Rhodri Marsden explores how new technology is allowing us to bet on anything at anytime 

Rhodri Marsden: the embodiment of irresistible masculinity, obviously

Rhodri Marsden: It won't be long until impulse purchases will be a case of 'think it, buy it'

A new app from Amazon lets users take pictures of objects in order to buy them - impulse shopping is becoming even easier

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit