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 'Durr' watch's only function is to vibrate gently every five minutes

Rhodri Marsden: Smartwatches? Some of them don't even tell the time!

They said that 2013 was going to be the year of the smartwatch, but it wasn't. I still don't know anyone who wears one, and while I'd hesitate to extrapolate this anecdotal evidence into anything meaningful, it's fair to say that the gadget-buying public have failed to be persuaded that they need one. Samsung had a go with the Galaxy Gear, but failed to set our wrists alight, and while the Kickstarter-funded Pebble watch looks more promising, we remain largely indifferent.

Interesting object: The creation of the first part of the Oxford English Dictionary was particularly arduous

'One of its most notable contributors was in Broadmoor'

Rhodri Marsden: the embodiment of irresistible masculinity, obviously

Rhodri Marsden: The conflicted reality of the 'digital dashboard' is driving me crazy

While I was on holiday in Sydney last September, I got into a taxi with a dashboard festooned with five mobile devices, hanging off a variety of mounts, and all presumably providing critical information to the driver.

Perfect pitch: Steve Jobs, left, and Apple's president John Sculley with the new Macintosh personal computer in New York in 1984

Apple Mac at 30: How Steve Jobs launched a revolution in home computing - and founded an army of passionate devotees

"I don't know a single person who watches the Super Bowl," said a worried Steve Jobs, then just 28 years old. The event he was referring to commanded a television audience of more than 80 million at the time, but Jobs' nervousness at the prospect of Apple spending $1.6m (£1m) to secure two 60-second TV ad slots during the game was understandable. After all, the kind of computers that Apple manufactured just didn't belong in the home of the average football fan; its pioneering Lisa machine was priced at an eye-watering $10,000, the equivalent to more than $23,000 (£14,000) today.

Rhodri Marsden: We have no choice but to ride out the upgrade cycle of life

A friend of mine is, in computing terms at least, stuck in 2005, a time when Tony Blair was still Prime Minister, Sven-Goran Eriksson was still the England manager and people were buying records by Crazy Frog.

Rhodri Marsden: Home is where the heart of absurd technology is but is the automation revolution just pointless frippery?

It probably contravenes some unwritten rule to begin a light-hearted examination of the week in technology with a reference to Jimmy Savile, but a few days ago I remembered an episode of Jim'll Fix It in the 1980s where some lucky youngster had his room kitted out with all the latest gadgets from the Ideal Home Show, including some automated curtains. These curtains elicited gasps of wonder from my teenage self as I entertained the notion that, in the future, we'd be relieved of the endless, life-sapping drudgery of having to drag light pieces of material along a rail, sometimes as frequently as twice a day.

Samsung showed off an 85in television that can be either flat or curved

CES: is gadgets flaunting their curves innovation?

Geek mythology

Rhodri Marsden buys his 'milibit' online

Get a piece of the Bitcoin action: How easy is it to lay your hands on the virtual currency?

'The process was like wagering cash on a dull greyhound race and then having to jump through hoops to claim the winnings'

Rhodri Marsden: Smartphone users moan about battery life but don't choose mobiles with the longest

My current phone has been my trusty companion, faithful friend and indispensable conduit to the outside world for 23 months now. In four weeks, I'll be urgently embarking on the biennial horror of the upgrade process – not because I'm desperate to experience the thrill of developments such as fingerprint readers, virtual surround sound or support for communicating in Swahili, but because my relationship with my phone's battery has reached breaking point. We're barely speaking. It's not putting in anywhere near the effort that it used to, and despite regular admonishment, it refuses to mend its ways. Only today, I cursed its uselessness as it counted down from 100 per cent to 0 per cent at record-breaking speed, and I vowed to consign it to an unecological landfill grave as soon as possible.

2013 - the year in review: There's a constantly moving feast of new technology - but who's listening in?

As gadgetry continues to evolve at breakneck speed, it’s harder than ever for people – and society – to keep up

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Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail