Pat’s Rules for Internet Dating

online dating image

As a forty something with kids who has reentered the dating scene I have had as many chats with people about life in general, as I have had with them about how the whole internet dating world happens.

It seems that people are often on different pages as to where they are at in a potential relationship where one party thinks that they are at exclusive dating stage and the other thinks they’re still free to date and see other people.

What I have found is that with no guidelines or structure around how internet dating works, people can get hurt as they have different expectations of their current arrangement…that is no guidelines…until now.

From my experiences so far, here are Pat’s Guidelines to Internet Dating. Feel free to use them and forever more there will be no more mixed messages, unspoken expectations…or hurt feelings (well I can’t guarantee that last one…but this might help a little)

Internet dating happens in three stages…

1. The ‘Profiles Up’ Stage

This is the first stage of internet dating. You’re meeting people and enjoying their company, you might be dating/seeing/coffee-ing several people at once and then you may come across a particular person who you think ‘crumbs they’re alright…I wonder if this could go somewhere?‘ However at this stage you leave your dating profiles up and you are free to see other people and are not committed to this new ‘potential’ partner. You are dating, but not exclusively one person. You are free to see whom you want, when you want and there is no commitment to any one individual. If you state you are in the ‘Profiles Up‘ stage with anyone person, they know that you are not exclusively committed to dating them and that gives them the information they need to decide how that means they respond.

If you have school age children or younger, they are not included in this stage. The are kept at a safe distance so as to not allow them to become collateral damage to a misfired relationship…i.e. one that starts with a hiss and a roar…but fizzles quickly.

2. The ‘Profiles Down’ Stage

The ‘Profiles Down’ Stage is in two parts…the second part is relevant if you have children who live with you and who would be a part of a new relationship.

Part One – You agree with one particular person that there could be something here so you agree to investigate if there is. At this point you are exclusively dating that one person but you haven’t committed to them as your life partner. You are saying ‘man I like you…I really think this could be something…we should really investigate it properly.” You don’t publicise this to the world…you don’t consider yourself a ‘couple’ yet, but you are definitely interested in seeing where this will go so you remove the distraction of any other potential partners by agreeing to exclusively date.

If you have children at the start of the ‘Profiles Down’ stage you do not include them, but they may be more informed about what is going on as compared to ‘Profiles Up’. The children might know that you are spending more time with your newly exclusive person, they may know them by name, they may know you like them…but in the initial stages of ‘Profiles Down’ they are not included.

Part Two –  If you have children, at some stage during ‘Profiles Down’ they are to be included, but this is done casually…maybe even to the point of being surreptitious. If you reach this part what you are saying is that you have moved beyond the investigative part of this stage…you’re actively saying ‘this is pretty cool, I like you a lot, I think there’s something good here but I need to know the kids are on board before we move forward.’ Maybe a trip to the park, or an age appropriate casual setting, for the children to meet your new interest…and maybe their children…for the first time. If it’s comfortable and works well then a more ‘formal’ setting like dinner at one person’s house after than and thoughts and conversations about how this could work with the children included.

3. The ‘We’re Official’ Stage

Congratulations you are a couple, you are out and about as an item, you are going to each other’s work functions and you change your Facebook status. People who know you now see you as a unit and you are ‘officially’ in a relationship.

This post does not define that relationship…but to the world outside you and your bae are known to be together.

What I can’t and won’t commit to in this post is timeframe. For some people going through the three stages may be quick…for others slow. For some people maybe stage one and three are quick…but stage two takes a long time to progress…maybe because of concerns around the children and making the transition as safe for them as possible.

Whatever and however you travel this journey though, if you follow these three easy stages with potential partners and you are open, and honest, and clear about where you are at…then the chance of miscommunication and negative fallout are greatly, greatly reduced.

Good luck out there

America still using Atom bombs all these years later…except this time it’s in the form of SOPA

Kanye West 'Loves MegaUpload'

The latest news in this whole Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) is that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid delayed the debate until Tuesday (Wednesday NZ time).

Firstly so we have an understanding, these bills work together, they are ‘sister bills’, SOPA in Congress and PIPA in the Senate.

The purpose of these acts is to “tackle the problem of foreign-based websites that sell pirated movies, music and other products.” For me, that in itself is not a bad idea, there is a problem with illegally downloaded copyrighted product, and I do think that taking a song, album, piece of software or movie is theft, however we get into problems when we try to figure out who is to be held responsible for these downloads and how we hold them accountable.

Yesterday, on behalf of the FBI, NZ Police raided the old ‘Chrisco Mansion’ in Coatsville and arrested several NZ Residents for their involvement sharing copyright property via their website MegaUpload.com which is said to be the worlds largest file sharing site. Not that we have the full story yet but I think this case will go far beyond the SOPA and PIPA issues as in news reports of the last 24 hours numerous more serious charges have been laid against these gentlemen like ‘racketeering’ and ‘money laundering’, that just says to me there’s more to this particular case than sharing the latest Rhianna album. It also needs to be noted that SOPA and PIPA haven’t even gotten close to being passed yet so whilst this has become the poster child for the potential power of those acts, it really doesn’t relate to them.

That all being said I am a little uncomfortable with three elements of this case.

  1. NZ Police doing the dirty work for the FBI
  2. The site http://www.MegaUpload.com being taken down by American officials, doesn’t American law, like ours, tell us we are innocent until proven guilty…how can that decision be made already without these accused men having their day in court
  3. Many celebrities, the kinds of people who should want their ‘intellectual property’ protected support, use and voice their ‘love’ for MegaUpload

Something doesn’t seem quite right when all these artists are singing…literally…the praises of this ‘evil site’.

This conversation then splits into several ‘strands’. The first is internet piracy.

I am completely against the idea that someone, somewhere can get for free, a piece of art (be that music, movie, software…whatever) when they should be paying for it. If you or I had intellectual property to a physical item, we wouldn’t be happy about someone taking for themselves, then copying that item and passing it around for free. This would effect our sales. To me internet piracy is theft, there is no other explanation…taking something for free, when the owners of that item want to you pay for it…is theft.

The second is, “who are the pirates?” Which becomes cloudier. Example, I watched an episode of South Park the other day on line because I missed it on the TV. Now it was free to air on FOUR, but technically what I did may have been illegal…have I committed a crime under current law, or under newly proposed copyright law? I am not sure. If it was ‘free’ on FOUR then is getting it for free on the ‘net seems ok. But technically maybe not. And then there’s also the issue of copyright holders ‘losing revenue’. I wouldn’t ever use this as an excuse for ‘stealing’ but there is truth in the idea that some people who download copyrighted product from the internet will never purchase that item, so there is no money lost. This is a weak argument for ‘stealing’ but there is some truth for ‘a few’ internet users.

The third is who should be responsible for that theft and how should they be held accountable. Well again that becomes cloudy. If it was a physical item being stolen, then it’s the person who takes the item from the shop that you would charge…but these are not physical items and there needs to be many complicit people involved to make this file sharing work. Therefore it would seem that the logical conclusion to to make the site accountable…easier said than done.

If the site is active in the distribution of the copyrighted material, then fair enough, hold them accountable. But what is someone uses the site for reasons it wasn’t intended. MegaUpload.com seems on one level to be a valid way of people sending their files around the world, just like DropSend or Box.net and many others. So what if the people running that site are just being used as ‘pawns’ for illegal activity to happen around them? It could be the difference between lending someone your car to rob a bank, and having your car stolen and it then being used in a bank robbery. In one case their is active accountable…in the other there isn’t. That’s what sites like Wikipedia are worried about, someone puts a link on one of their articles, then technically they will be in breach of these new laws.

Jon Stewart had an interesting take on it, click here to see as WordPress doesn’t allow flash to be embedded.

To me it seems like this is an issue of Corporations wanting their pound of flesh, and they are entitled to it. The Corporation pays for the album, movie, television show…whatever…and they don’t want it stolen. It’s a little different in places like NZ because our artists, especially music, really do struggle. In larger societies I don’t think downloading the latest Coldplay album would effect Chris Martin’s net worth…but done enough times it would affect Capitol Records profits, dones over 100 artists at Capitol Records…well you can see how it works. But what always seems difficult to understand is how Corporations get the support of, and action taken by, federal agencies like the FBI so quickly.

In 2010 the Supreme Court of the USA decreed that Corporations have the same first amendment rights as people when it comes to Freedom of Speech, it’s called Corporate Personhood.

Corporate personhood is the status conferred upon corporations under the law, which allows corporations to have rights and responsibilities similar to those of a natural person. There is a question about which subset of rights afforded to natural persons should also be afforded to corporations as legal persons.

This gave Corporations the right to spend as much money as they want on political campaigns but I think it has gone so much further.

I think today, in America, Corporations have far more rights than people. And one of the scarier parts of this is that Corporations, in America, have more rights than people who may, or may not be doing some illegal, in a mansion in Coatesville.

Revisiting the idea that these guys who run MegaUpload may, or may not, have committed crime(s), yet their site has been taken down. The power that these Corporations wield to get a sentence carried out, before a court case even happens is frankly scary. Imagine if this was a ‘person to person’ theft or crime. Would the accused be subject to action that you would expect with a conviction…the answer is ‘No!’

It seems that the legislation is far too heavy for the issue at hand and will catch out many whom the acts are not aimed at. I wouldn’t say it was using a sledgehammer on a fly, as the issue of copyright infringement is much larger than a ‘fly’ but maybe it’s something like demolishing a building with an atomic bomb.

The Internet…a human right?

Someone asked me the question once which was if internet access was a ‘human right’…I thought then that it probably wasn’t…yet…but within a very short space of time, when everything has gone digital, newspapers no longer exist and all our ‘television’ comes through a fibre optic cable to our front door…then it probably will be.

Having made the decision that currently internet isn’t a human right it still leaves me in an interesting situation. You see I am in one of those areas of Auckland that doesn’t get broadband. Yes I have internet (if you can call it that), it’s a local Wireless signal that someone looking for a solution from dial-up basically sorted themselves. I really appreciate it, but it’s the equivalent of less than a one meg line. It is far superior to dial-up…but way inferior to cable based broadband so we are looking forward to the day that we get plain old broadband to our front door. And that’s where my saga begins.

We had some telephone lines installed into our new property, the guy from Chorus was really helpful and friendly, he actually told us about how the fibre optic ‘thrusting’ was going. We were told that it needed to be at the settlement past us, which is about 5 – 10 kms away, but the end of the year or else Chorus would face a $250,000 penalty for a breach of contractual agreement. We were pretty happy to hear this, we thought we may only have to have this below-average internet connection until the end of the year.

So come October/November I started to make some enquires to get ready to have our broadband finally come into the 21st century.

I phoned Chorus, but they couldn’t confirm where each of their teams were, and how long they had to go on a job. Chorus also told me that the only people who could tell me if the upgrade had been complete was my own ISP. Apparently Chorus head office doesn’t communicate with their teams as to when they are finished jobs…or so I was led to believe…I guess the other possibility is that they are full of it, and didn’t want to help this minor consumer of their product…but I’m sure that wouldn’t be the case.

“Alright,” I thought,  I phoned my ISP. In other words I phoned an ISP looking for a new connection…well to be truthful, I phoned a couple of ISP’s to see if they could tell me if the job was complete and that broadband was on. If the connection was active, then I’d like to get a connection. See that’s how I thought this would work…logically…you tell me if you have the product, then I will decide if I want to buy it from you…but ‘No!’

What happens in the world of ISPs is that you need to sign up for a package, then they will check to see if the exchange is ready for you to receive broadband.

I phoned Telecom, Vodafone, Orcon and others, and they all told me the same thing…“you sign on the bottom line, then we’ll tell you if we can help you.”

To be honest I hadn’t decided with whom I wanted to go last year so I left it…until yesterday.

I phoned back Telecom, thinking that at least they are connected with Chorus, and maybe they can now give me some more information…alas I was wrong. When I heard the accent straight out of the Philippines I knew I was in trouble straight away, no local knowledge, and certainly no way to speak with someone on a one-to-one level. Speaking with an international call centre when it comes to the responses one receives and ability to relate to an average Kiwi is only one step above speaking to an automated answer machine. I don’t mean that in a derogatory way to the lovely lady at the end of the phone, but sometimes you need someone in your region to be able to understand that you need to go outside the script to answer this question. We came to the same answer where if I chose a plan they would go and check and again I declined mostly because the Telecom plans seemed quite expensive to me. About an hour later the same delightful lady phoned me back just to check that I didn’t want to sign up…because if I didn’t I might miss out. Again I declined…she asked me if I wanted her to phone back when I’d had more of a chance to think about it, so I asked, “You want to phone me back, and when you do I’ll need to select a plan so you can then go and check if the exchange can service me”, to which the reply was “Yes!”…”then no thank you, I don’t want you to phone me back.”

I don’t know when we will get broadband into our property, when we do I’ll let you know but having to use this frightfully slow wireless connection, that doesn’t play video, that won’t let our phones or tablet connect to APP stores, and that cuts out in bad weather I have to say after six months I know think that internet is, and should be a human right…well at least this human’s right.