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: Comedian Tommy Cooper's trademark fez

Sophisticated men with style used to wear a fez as part of their luxury smoking garb. Cooper transformed it into a comedy prop

NPR's April Fools gag exposed those who skim over the detail

Rhodri Marsden: Skim-reading will cause many to miss the point of this column

Amid last week's glut of flimsy April Fool gags, one stood out slightly from the pack. NPR, the American public radio network, published a short article online entitled: "Why Doesn't America Read Anymore?"

Rhodri Marsden: Why chatting to strangers could be the key to protecting online privacy

Every week I download a bunch of apps for iOS and Android that deliver far less than they promise. Call me a weary cynic – God knows everyone else does – but my expectations of new apps are probably lower than when I tune in to watch England play cricket, and that's saying something.

Appreciation society: Rhodri Marsden (back) with Dream Themes, who play tunes from shows such as Red Dwarf and Hawaii Five-O

The best TV themes become a soundtrack to our lives - but can you name their composers?

Rhodri Marsden has a nagging feeling that TV theme tunes have been getting worse over the past couple of decades

Rhodri Marsden: Whisper it - anonymous social networks sound like a terrifying idea

If there's one recurrent online motif that makes me want to find whoever invented social media and subject them to brutal questioning, it's the indiscriminate use of inspirational quotes.

Musicians are even trying to discourage the practice of fans holding up their camera phones

Geek mythology: Smartphones held aloft at gigs don’t herald a new era of bootlegging

As a teenage boy I was mildly obsessed with The Cure and, in the early 1980s, I spent a reckless amount of pocket money sending off for cassette bootlegs of concerts they’d done in small German towns.

Is your boss spying on you?

From monitoring your trips to the loo and listening to your conversations to keeping  track of illicit office affairs, your employer could be using a host of new technologies to snoop on you like never before

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.

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