Welcome to The Independent’s Work Relax Play site in association with Intel® where you’ll find:

Work - interviews with fashion designer Giles Deacon and celebrity biographer Sean Smith.

Relax - ways to enjoy technology in your leisure time.

Play - interviews with producer and DJ Mark Ronson and travel editor Simon Calder.

Plus exclusive vodcasts with Mark Ronson and Simon Calder, our Buyers’ Guide and eZine.





Sean Smith
Sean Smith, leading celebrity biographer, discusses everything from Robbie’s tattoos to Harry Potter, and why he steers well clear of eBay and Facebook.


Giles Deacon
Central St. Martin’s graduate and infamous designer Giles Deacon discusses the creative process and his inspirational use of digital technology in all aspects of his work.


You and your computer

Hannah Duguid discovers twelve ways to enjoy technology in your leisure time. Click on the topics you are interested in to read more.

Write a Blog

As of this September, there were 106 million bloggers in the world. Writing a blog is an opportunity to share your thoughts and ideas with anyone who happens to be interested. Some famous book deals have resulted from blogs, including Petite Anglaise, the scandalous diary of a thirtysomething English woman in Paris. Gossip blogs written by political or showbiz insiders are a wonderful source of sensational information, although, of course, it may not all be true. www.petiteanglaise.com www.blogspot.com

Take Digital Photos

Having a photographic record of family, friends, pets and holidays is a wonderful reminder of happy times. Digital technology has revolutionised photography, enabling everyone to take a decent picture. Amateur snappers can take thousands of photographs and need only store the ones that are any good. Photographs can be edited and digitally manipulated with ease on your computer. Print out the best ones to frame in the same way as traditional photographs, or invest in a digital photo frame, in which you can have a slide show of your snaps. www.photobox.co.uk


Communication is now so advanced that it's not possible to escape even the most casual acquaintance from your school days because they'll find you on Facebook, MySpace or Friends Reunited. Unless you're a complete technophobe or recluse, there's no excuse for not being in touch. How you present yourself online can be fun. The most flattering photograph spots and blemishes removed with Photoshop can be posted as part of your look at me, aren't I great? image. Feel free to embellish your achievements as part of your online profile.www.facebook.com; www.myspace.com


Using your computer to make phone calls means you can chat to friends on the other side of the world for hours on end, without it costing the earth. Skype calls from your computer to another Skype user are free and with a webcam you can see who you're speaking to, which is great if you have family and friends abroad. Skype is often used as a replacement for home landline phones and you can also get mobiles that automatically use Skype when you're at home, saving you money. MSN and Yahoo! Messenger are another form of instant communication popular with computer users both at home and work. You can also access these on many mobiles. www.skype.com

Listen to Music

When listening to music, your brainwaves resonate in sync with the rhythm. A strong beat can help stimulate the mind and ward off depression, whereas a slower tempo can help induce a calm, meditative state. Create a playlist of MP3s on your computer and pick ones according to your mood or the occasion. You can download them to your mobile or MP3 player and even stream them to your home's hi-fis via a router - there's nothing like listening to music in the bath. www.apple.com/itunes

Play Games Online

From the early online versions of the Eighties, internet games have developed into massive multi-player affairs in which hundreds of thousands of players can participate. Online games can be sedate, such as a leisurely game of Scrabulous with your Facebook friends, or hectic, such as an intense afternoon racing cars. Urbanites may like to adopt a Neopet, a cyber pet that you take care of online. You can do anything on the internet: build a city, fly a plane, fight a war or, if it's a wet afternoon, settle down with an online puzzle. www.freeonlinegames.com

Meditate with a Meditation Machine

It takes serious practitioners of meditation a lifetime to find nirvana. However, a meditation machine is able to slow down your brainwaves to such a degree that it's possible to experience the peace and tranquillity felt by an experienced meditator, without the years of sitting in uncomfortable silence. These small, affordable machines give the brain pulsed audio and visual stimulation via headphones and special glasses. After a short period of time, the brain begins to follow the frequency of the stimulus. This slows down the brainwaves and produces the effects of meditation. www.meditations-uk.com

You and your computer

Hannah Duguid discovers twelve ways to enjoy technology in your leisure time. Click on the topics you are interested in to read more.

Audio Books

Audio books are a relaxing way to absorb a book without the effort of reading. They're excellent on long car journeys, when the latest Harry Potter is a sure-fire way to keep the kids quiet. Listening to one means enjoying a novel is no longer a solitary activity because everyone can join in and experience the story as it unfolds. Most of the classics and bestsellers are available as audio books and can also be downloaded as podcasts or vodcasts (video podcasts) from websites such as iTunes and The Independent's. If you're rushed off your feet, they're a great way to keep up with your reading while you're on the move. www.simplyaudiobooks.co.uk


Making films is the best way to keep memories alive. With digital camcorders, you can shoot great-looking films and download them to your computer. And with Intel Centrino Duo processing technology, it's easy to edit films on your computer and upload them to video-sharing websites such as YouTube. This is because Intel Advanced Digital Media Boost enables the enhanced performance of floating-point-intensive applications such as video editing and digital music. www.camcorderinfo.com

Online Dating

When affairs of the heart move online, we know that technology has really taken over our lives. Millions of people worldwide use the internet to find the love of their life and who knows how many marriages and children it's responsible for? Sarah Beeny's dating website, mysinglefriend.com, removes the trauma of writing your own profile as your friends write it for you a good way to find out who your friends really are. There are other unusual dating websites, such as this one centred around wine tasting. www.grapevinesocial.com

Online Shopping

The joy of shopping online is being able to avoid traipsing up and down the high street on a cold afternoon with crowds pushing and jostling you out of the way. It's also open all hours on the internet, so you're not restricted to store opening times. And you don't have to lug your purchases home with you. Other advantages are that some items available online aren't in the shops, such as certain books and pieces of furniture, and you can easily find online reviews of products before you buy them. Sites such as www.amazon.co.uk sell almost everything you could ever want. The key to online shopping is to be selective and know precisely what you want. That way, you'll lessen the risk of making expensive mistakes. www.ebay.co.uk


With DVDs delivered to your door and large projection screens available to buy online, it's easy to create a cinema at home you only need to venture out to buy popcorn and fizzy drinks! Online DVD delivery services are ideal for families and people who find it difficult to get to the video shop. For those who prefer the cinema, Intel Centrino Duo processing technology enables you to quickly download movie trailers and cinema listings so you're able to choose the right film for you. You can also book tickets online. And because Centrino Duo processing technology includes innovative power-saving features designed to extend your laptop's battery life, watching downloaded films and DVDs on the move has never been so easy. www.lovefilm.com




Simon Calder
Simon Calder recalls his many adventures with his constant companion – his laptop – and explains why sometimes it’s essential to his writing to snuggle up to his laptop batteries in his sleeping bag at night.


Mark Ronson
When you grow up with Sean Lennon and one of your first gigs is P Diddy’s party, chances are you’re going to make it big. Producer, musician and DJ Mark Ronson talks US TV shows and controlling Lily Allen’s and Amy Winehouse’s latest albums.