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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Body of evidence: shows like ‘CSI New York’ have fuelled an interest in solving crimes

The best way to catch a thief? Forget trying to copy the stars of CSI with amateur sleuthing...

Some companies offer advice for the budding investigator, supplying tamper-evident bags, magnifying glasses and cocaine ID swabs. But the best way to catch a thief is on camera, says Rhodri Marsden

James Ward is fascinated by the history of some of our most beloved items of stationery

Adventures In Stationery: Author James Ward loves Post-it notes, paper clips and staplers so much he has written a whole book about them

It may be humble but, like all objects, stationery has a story and Ward's first book tells it with an understated flair. Rhodri Marsden gets down to brass tacks with him

Stilted chats with DHL delivery men aside, Rhodri feels the absence of real interaction

Is a decline in face-to-face contact leading to a decline in our well-being?

Rhodri Marsden feels that email, text and social media keep him sufficiently connected but still treasures his chats with the DHL guy

Cloud surfing: many of us put our faith in storage systems like iCloud

iCloud: How to stay safe in the cloud

After hackers leaked hundreds of intimate photos of celebrities, Rhodri Marsden suggests a few ways to make sure that private data stays that way (nude selfies or otherwise)
The beard token featured a picture of a large beard below the words 'The money has been taken', with 'The beard is a superfluous burden' on the flipside

Rhodri Marsden's Interesting Objects: Peter the Great's beard token

* It doesn't seem like 316 years ago this week, does it, since Peter the Great returned to Moscow from a trip to Western Europe with a burning desire to modernise the country of his birth. Widespread political, military and social reforms were to follow over the next few years, but Peter knew exactly where to start. Beards.

80 per cent of us keep our phones on overnight, with 50 per cent using them as an alarm clock

Sleeping with the enemy? Why smartphones might not make the best bedfellows...

A couple of months ago I discovered a sleeping aid that seemed to work. A 30-minute audio recording on YouTube of someone reenacting a mundane spa treatment turned out to have unique tranquillising properties – I still haven't got even halfway through without falling asleep.

Rhodri Marsden's Interesting Objects: Dorothy's ruby slippers

* "Give me back my slippers!" shrieked the Wicked Witch of the West, as they disappeared from her colleague's feet and magically appeared on Dorothy's feet. The premiere of The Wizard of Oz took place 75 years ago this week; those ruby slippers would become the most famous shoes in Hollywood history.

The beginner's guide to plugging in a USB cable

Rhodri Marsden makes many more failed attempts to plug in a standard, type-A USB cable than he does successful ones. So is there an easy solution?

Mortality maths – like the realisation that the last of those name-checked in Madonna's 'Vogue' died last week – make us feel our own lives are racing by

Numbers game: Lauren Bacall (pictured) was the last star name-checked in Madonna's 1990 hit song 'Vogue'

Rhodri Marsden's Interesting Objects: The Voyager golden record

* This week in 1977, the spacecraft Voyager 2 was launched. Attached to it was a copy of the Voyager Golden Record, a gold-plated LP with an aluminium cover. It contained a selection of music and images chosen by a committee chaired by Carl Sagan.

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