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 Blackphone promises not to compromise your privacy

Rhodri Marsden: The Blackphone comes with the promise of 'peace of mind'

A pleasure that I indulge in which other people might conceivably describe as "guilty" is to sit up late watching the QVC shopping channel. Not to buy anything, you understand – merely to watch people doing free-form verbal improvisation around, say, a diamonique bracelet.

A love of mystery: Googling your date is a fool’s errand

Romantic CRB checks: Searching for love

Checking out a date's online profile before a meeting can be hazardous, as Rhodri Marsden found out

Rhodri Marsden's Interesting Objects: Remington No 1

* Christopher Sholes and Carlos Glidden didn't actually invent the typewriter. John Pratt's 'Pterotype' provided much of the inspiration for the two men, a Wisconsin printer and inventor respectively. But the Remington No 1, also known as the Sholes & Glidden, was the first typewriter to achieve any kind of commercial viability. It went on sale this week in 1874.

Rhodri Marsden: This new app Yo is a funny idea but $1.2m of funding is no joke

The internet has made us an excitable bunch. We jump on speeding bandwagons, keen to be in on something early and eager to get people to join us. Our behaviour can be measured down to the last unit, our rapidly changing interests charted across the web on hit-counters and graphs, soaring as we embrace something, and then levelling off or plummeting as we get bored. Last week, that almost violent capriciousness was demonstrated perfectly by a little app called Yo.

Rhodri Marsden: Am I the only person in the world who hates the ukulele?

The ukulele has become irritatingly ubiquitous - and the instrument of choice for people who list tea and cupcakes as their interests. Rhodri Marsden struggles to pinpoint its appeal

The six-colour flag has since become standard, but Baker has expressed a desire to 'bring the eight colours back'

Rhodri Marsden's interesting objects: The rainbow flag

* A rainbow flag was first flown as a symbol of LGBT pride 36 years ago this week, when two such flags were hoisted at the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade. "From that first moment," said the flag's designer, Gilbert Baker, "I knew that this was the most important thing that I would ever do."

It took 30 minutes to prove that Facebook equals the internet

An 'issue' on the social networking site yesterday had millions of users peering into a dark abyss

Taking the biscuit: Nestlé capitalised on the Facebook shutdown to tweet a Kit-Kat advert

When Facebook broke, users railed or mocked, but most kept refreshing their news feeds

As we mocked Facebook's meaninglessness, we knew deep down that we were mocking ourselves, says Rhodri Marsden

A mind to quit: some therapists treat the end of a patient's sessions like the break-up of an affair

Stopping therapy: We have ways of making you talk

Walking away from therapy is a big step, but what if your analyst tries to stop you? Their methods of persuasion can be intense – and not always ethical, reports Rhodri Marsden

Rhodri Marsden: They may have passed the test, but the robots aren't taking over yet

The news was announced with such fanfare and excitement that you'd have forgiven us for bracing ourselves for psychological subjugation at the hands of an army of sentient robots. "Turing test passed for the first time", screamed the headlines, before going on to explain that a Russian-produced chatbot had managed to convince a panel of humans attending an event at the Royal Society that it, too, was human.

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Day In a Page

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?