Rhodri Marsden's Interesting Objects: The Audiphone

The device was granted a patent 135 years ago this week and offered a 30 decibel boost to ambient noises

Apple chief Tim Cook (in blue shirt) with (from left) The Edge, Larry Mullen Jr, Bono and Adam Clayton of U2 at the iPhone 6 launch

Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster

A free album on iTunes: what could possibly go wrong? Quite a lot, as U2 and Apple have discovered

It's only a few weeks since everyone was talking about Yo, the app that converts a tap on your phone into a 'Yo!' sound on someone else's

Rhodri Marsden: 'I've deleted Wakie - apps need to be useful, not just fun'

The apps that people write about and read about seem to revel in their own preposterousness -valuing flamboyance over utility

Leaps and bounds: several shots of one horse jumping

Instagram's new app 'Hyperlapse' is revolutionising how its users make videos

Hyperlapse allows its users to show off films that look as though someone has held down the fast-forward button - except, because it's Instagram, it's a lot more stylish

Rhodri Marsden's Interesting Objects: The first British board game

* "He who rests at Rome (48) for kissing ye Pope's Toe shall be banished for his folly to the cold island of Iceland (4) and miss three turns." This was the kind of excitement that awaited players of A Journey Through Europe, a game launched 255 years ago and acknowledged to be the first British board game. Eight shillings got you a cloth-backed map and a set of instructions (or 'Explanation') that promised an educational spin around the Continent.

In the early days, one stayed 'on hold' simply to make the call

Hanging on the telephone: How did we end up with Handel tinkling down the line?

Being forced to listen to a tinny tune while we wait on hold can feel like purgatory. But who had the idea that there should be a soundtrack at all?
The animosity towards the Google Glass is overstated

Why is Google Glass the whipping boy for anyone worried about privacy issues?

Other gadgets that don't announce their presence so obviously will continue to do the actual surveillance, argues Rhodri Marsden

Hands on: Apple Watch’s timekeeping is precise to within 50 milliseconds

Apple Watch: Does it really deserve the hype?

After years of speculation and countless other companies already getting in on the act, Apple has unveiled its take on the smartwatch. Will Oremus checks its specs and admits that, despite his scepticism, it's a heady mix of old and new

Let me ask you this: 'Why are email scams so poorly worded?'

Like everyone else, I, too, always assumed that it was because either they were idiots, or non-native English speakers. But I have very recently learnt that is not the case. Indeed, the real answer is one of the more astonishing (at least to me) things I've heard in quite some time.

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

Hang up: phone blockers and taking more care over online boxes may reduce the number of spam calls you receive

How to stop nuisance calls, spam texts and endless messages about mis-sold PPI

The number of spam messages and nuisance calls the average phone owner receives is enough to drive anyone to distraction. Other than hanging up for good, what can be done? David Crookes explains how to dial down the handset harassment
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)
Jeff Bezos (Amazon Fire Phone, 2014)

The model for a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

Every time a tech company has a new idea that it believes will rock our world, it rolls out the red carpet, pours the drinks, and bangs the drums... but doesn't tell us what it is
In the game: EA's 'Fifa 14' is very popular with online scouts

Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

Seth Stevenson attempts to discover the appeal of the video-game-themed online streaming site
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Independent Travel
Panama
Languedoc Roussillon
Marrakesh & the Atlas Mountains
Bruges
The Jura Mountains
Dubrovnik & the Dalmatian Coast
Prices correct as of 17 September 2014
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam