For those curious about the Flashpoint connection

Flashpoint was the product name chosen by a person based in Blaine, WA, who went by the name of Harry Hayes (and variations such as "Harry M Hayes" or "Harry Hayes Jr") who approached me suggesting a 50/50 joint venture where a re-branded version of a program I had written, originally called FvReader and later Powerbullet, would be marketed by Sausage Software, which Harry had apparently recently acquired. (It subsequently turned out that it was acquired fraudulently.) None of his aliases has US tax records, so he may operate under other identities. That's why I've provided the pictures (stills from a video capture at an IT conference), as he does not reveal his visual identity publicly.

After handing over the software installer and a pre-generated list of serial numbers, it soon became clear that I wouldn't be hearing from him again. In defence of Harry's marketing savvy: the product, while still in early beta, received an unwarranted 5 star rating at Tucows (his collaborators there have since been shown the door). It was also featured on CNET's with a more realistic 4 star rating.

Although I was not paid for sales, I continued to provide free support to Flashpoint buyers, who had bought the product in good faith until my access was cut. (I made no mention of the swindle.) So now Flashpoint buyers were being doubly duped; no chance of an upgrade and no tech support. This probably annoyed me more than any other aspect of the deal. Customers are the core of business, and they were being treated as consumables. People purchased Flashpoint because of the reputable Sausage Software name behind it. That has been totally destroyed. The site,, from being one of the hot web performers before Harry's "takeover", is now defunct.

Picture of Harry M Hayes, aka Harry Hayes Jr Harry Hayes at Gnomedex.

In 2006 a political group suffered a great embarrassement. Turns out Harry was behind it. A simple trick he's done many times: take on contractors to do his work, get paid by his customer and not pay the contractors. It should be noted that Harry is not a programmer and has only a superficial, jargon-level understanding of IT (albiet quite effective in getting business types on board) and is totally dependent on the people he dupes into doing work for him.

I found him out quite early; the smarmy and evasive manner didn't sit well with me from the beginning and so I went a certain way into dealings with Harry with the understanding that there was a high element of risk. It was only after I supplied the product serial numbers that I received information from businesses in the UK, Canada, Spain and the USA that he was a serial small-time confidence trickster. Others weren't as fortunate and have had their businesses destroyed, and many IT contractors have not been paid for substantial work.

Hardly the villain of the century, but certainly an annoying parasite.