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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

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.

Now the team which overhauled the government's many websites, bringing them all under the gov.uk address, thinks it has the answer. The Government Digital Service, fresh from winning all sorts of awards for gov.uk, is confident that an identity assurance system called Verify will be even more transformative.

Last week in a conference room inside the Treasury, I got a first glimpse of the new service from a group of people who couldn't be less like your average civil servants. Casually dressed, toting fold-up bicycles and laptops covered in stickers, they come across like programmers from an edgy start-up. Which is what GDS aspires to be..

They explained with some excitement that I was the first outsider to get a glimpse of Verify. The elevator pitch is that this is a one-stop shop for proving your identity for a range of government services, from renewing your passport or driving licence to paying tax.

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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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Teenagers and the news game

Boy texting on phone

Any parent of a teenager, particularly one of the male variety, will know that their conversation can be, well, limited. So my wife was surprised earlier this week when our 16-year-old son suddenly asked her what she thought about "this terrible stuff that's been happening in Ferguson".

There followed an apparently well informed account of events in the US town where a young black man had been shot dead by police. She went on to discuss with him America's troubled past when it came to race relations, and more words came tumbling from this often monosyllabic young man.

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Cambridge - making a noise about tech

With a world-class university, a clutch of billion pound businesses, and a constant stream of young graduates with bright ideas, Cambridge should be unchallenged as the UK's top technology cluster. But in recent years it's struggled to make its voice heard above the hubbub from London's TechCity, which has had the backing of the government and plenty of its marketing muscle.

Cambridge has also suffered from a lack of venture capital, and that has meant plenty of its young tech firms have headed to London, because that's where the money is. But today a new venture capital fund Cambridge Innovation Capital unveils its plans to change that.

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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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