Well, I said a week ago that my blog and website would have a new look by now. In case you are wondering, this is still the old look. I've been aware of changes I wanted to make for 6 months, and I've tried various experiments and strategies to accomplish them. Even when something works, it tends to create new problems. Software is a lot like a used car, you get it "AS IS." If it stops working there is always a tech labyrinth waiting to trap you. "Hey," the used car salesman/tech says, "we just got a new model in, would you like to take it for a spin?"

So I hired someone named Scott Hawkins who responded to my Craigslist ad. I met him at a cafe, he helped me figure out what strategies were best for me and offered to do everything I wanted for $300 dollars. After I paid him he disappeared.

I found a site called Rip Off Report. Here is the rap sheet for Scott Hawkins:

After I changed all my passwords, I went to my local police station to report the crime. That was weird. Of course I knew that $300 is a non-event to the police, unless there is an assault, they won't investigate it. But I figured there were other reasons for reporting it.

The officer on duty was about 50 years old, and he had blood shot eyes. Now I know that being a police officer is tough work, I really appreciate the work they do. He struck me as intelligent and caring. His movements were slow, his voice soft and deliberate. While we were both still standing, he asked me for a summary of what happened. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: This guy contacted me through an ad I put on Craigslist, I met with him in a cafe and he agreed to do some work on my blog and website, I wrote him a check and I haven't heard from him since.

Officer: Where did you meet him?

Me: At a Cafe in the Mission district.

Officer: So you just met this guy in a cafe?

Me: No, he responded to my ad on Craigslist and I arranged to meet him at a cafe.

Officer: What kind of work did he agree to do for you?

Me: You want me to explain exactly?

Officer: No, just generally?

Me: He agreed to work on my website.

Officer: So he did some work on your computer?

It occurred to me that maybe the officer didn't know about the Internet. But since I had some contact info and a description of the guy, he agreed to file a report and we sat down at his desk. We got interrupted continuously by the telephone. Many of my younger readers may never have seen one of these, it was a desktop landline with about 30 buttons on it. When I gave him the con-artist' email address he wrote it down on the paper report like this: 4celling at gmail.

It was like I was talking to Rip van Winkle. Being a police officer you see such horrible stuff, that it makes it difficult to have friends or intimates outside of the emergency services. I'm sympathetic to that, and I don't have a solution. But I'm I tempted to say that the protection of civil service unions makes police officers extremely difficult to fire, even if they are living in an isolated impenetrable bubble.

Not everyone at the San Francisco Police Department is computer illiterate. Check out these interactive crime maps. (You have to click "I Agree" twice, but then you're in and it's easy.)

I also sent an email "Tip" to the FBI, since Scott Hawkins (or what ever his name real is) appears to be involved in both interstate and international swindles.

Needless to say, I've made zero progress on my blog/website. I'm now thinking that rather than look for someone to do the work for me, I can find an office with a few computer people in it. I can pay them a modest fee to let me bring my laptop to their office while I work on my projects, when I get stuck, as I'm sure to do, I can just lean over and ask a question or two. Are any of my computer savvy readers interested in letting me sit in their San Francisco office for a day or so?

On a positive note, I'm getting busy with teaching--so expect a lot more blogging over the next few months! Management rule #11: "If you want something done quickly, give it to someone who is busy all the time."

What do my readers think I should do if I run into the con-man Scott Hawkins again?