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Rory Cellan-Jones, Technology correspondent

Rory Cellan-Jones Technology correspondent

Welcome to dot.Rory - these are my thoughts about how technology is changing the world and shaping our lives

U2, Bendygate and iOS 8.0.1: Apple's banana skins

iPhone and iPhone 6 Plus

Oh, to have been a fly on the wall in Apple's PR department over the last week. A company that is legendary for obsessive control over its message has watched helplessly as things have spun out of its grasp.

First, there was the kerfuffle over the stunt which saw U2's new album given away free to every iTunes user whether they wanted it or not. That provoked a wave of anger and derision from people who saw the provision of a free download as a massive assault on their freedom and an insult to their taste in music. (For U2, it was a massive success, earning them a reputed $100m from Apple and sending older albums back into the charts). Unusually, Apple felt obliged to respond by offering a U2 removal tool.

Then came "Bendygate" with reports emerging that the iPhone 6 Plus, with its "dramatically thin anodised aluminium design", could warp after being placed in a pocket for some time. Now this looks to be the very definition of a "first world problem" - who, but a very sad hipster, would stuff a huge phone into his impossibly tight jeans and sit on it? But, as with all Apple stories it quickly went viral, with the first video showing the apparent problem, hitting 18 million views by this morning.

Finally, and far more seriously, came the botched update to the iPhone and iPad operating system iOS 8.0. There had been a few annoying bugs in last week's release - notably a problem integrating apps with the new Health Kit - so the moment the update was released many users rushed to download it.

And within minutes iPhone 6 users found that it introduced a whole new set of bugs, including preventing their phone from connecting to a mobile network. Now while actually making calls is a relatively minor feature for some modern smartphone users, this caused an instant wave of anger and panic. Providing millions of users with software which effectively turns their phone into a brick is hardly a good PR move.

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Blackberry's Passport to a better future

It is the company that first brought us email on the move, and seemed to be in prime position to prosper in the smartphone era.

Then it all went wrong for Blackberry. But today sees the launch of a device which the Canadian company believes could win back the executives once addicted to their Crackberries.

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Cracking the problem of online identification

Drawing of computer on blackboard with words "who are you?" on monitor

How do you go about proving you are who you say you are?

As more and more services move online - and fraud mounts - this is of growing importance not just to individuals but to the businesses and governments with which they interact. In many countries, the answer is an identity card, but that idea has met with lots of resistance in the UK.

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Who has won the social referendum?

Facebook picture
Facebook is introducing a function allowing Scots to show they have voted

It was the 2008 Obama presidential campaign that first showed how politicians could use social media as a campaigning tool. Now the Scottish referendum could prove another landmark in the influence of the likes of Facebook and Twitter on debate.

Millions on both sides have taken to tweeting and Facebooking their views on the issues. But never mind who wins the referendum - who has come out on top in the social media battle?

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Why the exodus of British tech talent is unlikely to stop

Silicon Valley

Where is the British Mark Zuckerberg? That is the now rather tired question politicians and policy makers keep asking as they work out how to inspire young British entrepreneurs to create world-beating companies.

The answer is that they are probably in Silicon Valley - and I met one candidate this week, the man behind one of the most successful Kickstarter hardware projects yet seen.

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Apple's Watch - what's it for?

Apple Watch

Finally, four years after the iPad, and after endless rumours about the reinvention of television and other industries, Apple has launched a brand new product in the Watch. It is a long way from being the first in its field, but as with the iPad, the iPhone and the iPod, could it redefine the category and send huge new waves of cash to Cupertino?

I'm sceptical - not about Apple dominating the smartwatch market but whether it's ever going to be that valuable a business. Yes, by next spring the Watch will almost certainly be the market leader. By announcing it in September and not delivering until 2015, Apple has ensured that consumers will look at rival products over the next few months and think it is worth waiting for something better.

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Apple - follow the mobile money

Apple's Tim Cook

On Tuesday in Cupertino, Apple's Tim Cook may finally step out of the shadow left by Steve Jobs. In what is being billed as the company's most important announcement for years, the understated chief executive will unveil the iPhone 6, and the "new category" that he has been promising all year, some kind of wearable connected device.

This will be touted by Cook and his team as evidence that the sceptics who said Apple could no longer innovate after Jobs were absurdly misguided

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A cloud of uncertainty

Jennifer Lawrence

Two days after stolen celebrity photos started leaking onto the 4Chan website, one thing is clear. And that is that virtually nothing is clear.

Despite all the speculation about Apple's iCloud or other cloud services being hacked, there is still no evidence about exactly how the photos were obtained.

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A computing revolution in schools

Primary school children on computers

This is the week when a revolution begins to sweep through schools in England. It involves a whole new way of teaching children about computing - but I suspect many parents, and even some teachers, know very little about this important moment in education.

As children from five upwards return to school, they are going to have to start learning how to program - or to "code" to use the trendy term which seems to upset some old-school programmers. This is the result of the new national curriculum for computing that is being introduced in England this term.

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Can computers replace historians?

Tablet propped up on top of old books

All kinds of big claims have been made about the potential of Big Data. It seems it can predict the course of an election, map the spread of flu, even help police to solve crimes.

But here is the biggest claim so far - crunching through the big data of history can help us spot patterns and work out where the world is heading next.

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About Rory

Rory has been watching the technology scene like a hawk for the last 15 years.

From the dotcom bubble of the late 1990s to the rise of Google and Facebook, from the Psion organiser to the iPad, he's covered all the big gadget and business stories, and interviewed just about everyone who's played a part in the story of the web.

Dot.Rory, his previous blog, was named among the Top 100 blogs by the Sunday Times.

He aims to look at the impact of the internet and digital technology on our lives and businesses. Rory has been described as "the non-geek's geek", and freely admits that he came late to technology - but he aims to explain its significance to anyone with an interest in the subject.

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