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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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.

Short circuit: websites such as eBay stopped working this week due to the number of people online

eBay suffered its tenth major outage this year - but is the internet really full up?

Breathless headlines informed us that the internet had burst its digital zip. Rhodri Marsden explains why that's only partly true

Rhodri Marsden: When it comes to saucy pictures, trust no one. Least of all yourself

The case of John Schindler is a curious one. A former NSA analyst and, until recently, a professor at the US Naval War College, he resigned on Tuesday following a college investigation into whether a widely circulated picture of his penis was actually his.

Rhodri Marsden's Interesting Objects: Kool Herc's party flyer

* The flyer is 41 years old, tatty and scrawled in biro on the back of an index card. It's for a "Back To School Jam" in the recreation room of 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, a high-rise block in New York's Bronx district, with admission a very reasonable 25 cents for women and 50 cents for men. At a glance it looks like a pretty nondescript event, but that night is deemed by many to have seen the birth of hip-hop.

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