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SOAP Bigot Needed: Earlier I asked for some REST bigots to review the REST portion of my web chapter. I should also show the SOAP portions of the web services section to a SOAP bigot or two so I don't say wrong things. I'm pretty sure I got it right, but you can't be too careful when your writing's going into a book so heavy that an angry reader could use it as a weapon against you.

So if anyone who knows SOAP wants to look over about 10 pages real quick and flag any errors, please mail me or leave a comment. I'd like to send in my revised draft tonight so I can start working on revising the other chapter.

Piracy Oddities: When I think about modern piracy I think of the awful stuff, that makes you feel guilty about being interested in piracy: mafias and triads hijacking ships and "making the crew walk the plank" as Cryptonomicon put it. But the ICC CCS weekly piracy report only has a few penny-ante incidents a week, mostly pirates sneaking on board and stealing ship's stores.

If you read between the lines ("Coast near Aceh is particularly risky for hijackings") you see a glimpse of more dangerous incidents that don't get reported or don't show up on the weekly report they publish to gratify our weird voyeuristic tendencies. A while back I read a book called Dangerous Waters which painted a picture somewhere in between, of an East Asian pirate threat that was ever-present and chronic but not with many resources behind it, and easy to foil in most cases if you took safety precautions. Where does the truth lie?

I bring this up because there's a note on the piracy report page that I noticed when I went to fix its Automat feed by rewriting the scraper in Beautiful Soup 2.0:

After Tsunami there were no incidents of any kind in the Malacca Straits for two months. However, attacks have resumed since 28.02.2005. In the last four weeks there have been three serious attacks of Kidnapping the crew for ransom in Malacca straits. Heavily armed pirates have boarded ships and seized the master and one or two crew members and taken them ashore. Pirates have not stolen any property and sole aim has been to kidnap the crew.

Did the tsunami reboot the Indonesian piracy industry, giving them a chance to come up with more agressive and dangerous strategies? What's going on?

[Comments] (2) : The best thing about Arrested Development (apart from the total interconnectedness of everything in the fictional world, without which the jokes wouldn't be funny) is that the Ron Howard narrator is a real character in the show. Kevin even says the narrator is the protagonist. Anyway, last night's episode verified my suspicion that, like all the other characters, the narrator is a petty soul consumed with his own minor obsessions.

Near the beginning he took a potshot at the narrator of some other fictional show, and then kept sniping at that other narrator throughout the episode. I couldn't get enough of this, as narrator-on-narrator bickering is one of the purest forms of fourth-wall-breaking comedy gold in my book, second only to narrator-on-character bickering.


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