– You’ve probably seen, or perhaps even purchased, items carrying a Royal Warrant. This is a stamp on the product with the Royal Coat of Arms that usually says “By appointment to Her Majesty the Queen” (“By appointment to HRH The Prince of Wales” or “By appointment to HRH The Duke of Edinburgh” exist, but aren’t nearly as common, especially on products sold in the US). Royal warrants are taken seriously in the UK, and there is a whole system of rules governing their use (example: the Royal Family must purchase a product for five years before it can become eligible to receive a warrant). Royal Warrants are great advertising for companies (“Hey, our product is so great that even the Queen uses it!”), and many use it only as that. Other companies take the Royal Warrant far more seriously. Candy giant Cadbury, first awarded the Royal Warrant by Queen Victoria in 1854, produces a special batch of chocolates for the Royal Family every year. These candy bars, produced on a special production line that lies dormant the rest of the year, are hand delivered to Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Sandringham. They cannot be purchased by anyone else for any price. In fact, this is the first year that the special chocolates were even photographed. This article at the Daily Mail takes a damn interesting look at how the chocolates are made, and the secret world of the Royal Warrant holder.
– People in the United States look at Internet Service Providers (ISPs) as just another utility to be hated along with the power and gas companies. But this isn’t necessarily true in the rest of the world. Some ISPs have fanatical followings in South Korea and France, and this article from Ars Technica looks at some of their practices and talks about how US ISPs could become more user-friendly.
– Speaking of ISPs, this article at Ars talks about how the so-called “bandwidth-hog” might be as fictional as unicorns and leprechauns. Heavy downloaders are often the excuse ISPs use to throttle service, increase rates, and\or block services on their networks. Benoit Felten, a Yankee Group analyst, seems to think it’s much ado about nothing.
– Speaking of corporate liars, TicketMaster and LiveNation want to merge. Some people (mainly TicketMaster and LiveNation shareholders) think this would be great. The other 99.999% of the population thinks it would give way too much power to one company. The website TickerDisaster.org shows you how you can get involved in stopping the merger of two truly evil companies.
– Some folks in Charlotte robbed a Radio Shack the other day. Seriously? How desperate do you have to be to rob a Radio Shack? What did they get away with.. $12 and some batteries?
– Redbox, the DVD kiosk people, are rushing to change the artwork for the film Deadline in all of their 22,000 machines, as it features a dead Brittany Murphy lying in a bathtub. Click here to see a pic of the DVD cover.
– Lastly, here’s a picture of Jessica Simpson without makeup. I honestly think she almost looks better without the makeup: