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Torrent-Only Movie Denied IMDb Listing 207

An anonymous reader writes "A film set to be released for free via BitTorrent has been denied a listing in the Internet Movie Database. The Tunnel is currently in production and despite pleas from the makers, IMDb won't allow it on their site. The creators of this horror movie believe that because they have shunned an official distributor and chosen a BitTorrent model instead, this has put them at a disadvantage with the Amazon-owned site."
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Torrent-Only Movie Denied IMDb Listing

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  • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Thursday September 30, 2010 @12:03AM (#33743496)

    IMDB has a very clear rule requiring traditional distribution in order to make their site. Search for your favorite podcast there, even if it comes from CBS-owned CNET or Comcast's G4, and you get comical results of other uses of the words in the title with the exception of only those that had TV runs at some point in the past. TV shows are allowed on the site, but saddled with a "(TV)" mark every time the title is mentioned in the DB.

    IMDB's purpose for living currently is a place for Amazon to collect data on video entertainment products that more likely than not will eventually show up as a product Amazon is going to carry. Even if you've got a huge budget, if you're going to go for non-studio Internet downloads, you're not going to end up in Amazon's catalog and offend the big media types that IMDB depends on.

    Don't like it? Create your own directory of legal download video projects and lock big content out unless they embrace the download format. Better yet, help people download their picks onto whatever device they want. Oh, wait, that's MediaFly. []

    • by kandela ( 835710 ) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @12:27AM (#33743610)
      Yes, and if you read their rules in detail, you will see that acceptance at a film festival with any sort of selection criteria is also sufficient to get a listing in IMDB. So, I don't understand why the makers don't simply submit the film to a festival!?
      • by BillX ( 307153 ) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @01:31AM (#33743950) Homepage

        Because it doesn't exist yet. FTFA: "IMDb told the team that if a movie is not set up with a production company with a history of theatrically released movies, getting it listed at the early stages of development would not be possible."

        • I know there has been some flexibility to those rules, but honestly they make sense.

          I could come out and say I'm making a movie, but don't have a script, actors, or a production company. They could list every person with an idea, but that would just pollute the database. It doesn't totally appear to be the case. The two guys were involved in an Australian television show, "Getaway", and some other works. I'm not familiar with them, so I'll have to just go with what I did fi

      • by infolation ( 840436 ) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @05:47AM (#33744994)
        There are other IMDB criteria that seem to immediately apply to this film, without requiring film festival submission. IMDB's own eligibility rules [] state that the film:
        • must be of general public interest, and
        • should be available to the public or have been available in the past.

        Under 'what constituts general public interest', the rules include:

        • has been downloaded in 'large' numbers from some website(s), or
        • has become famous for some reason and is widely talked about/referenced in non local media or the 'film community' or is now of general historic interest for some reason.
      • I don't understand why the makers don't simply submit the film to a festival!?

        So a movie isn't a movie until it's been to a festival? Is that like a rite of passage?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      IMDB was much better before Amazon took over. When it was independent it was easy to submit updates and corrections, and while it was not a free-for-all like the Wikimedia (the Wikipedia) back end is, it was very easy to submit updates and watch for the managers (or "editors" in Wikipedia nomanclature) to accept the changes and publish them. That all changed quickly right after Amazon took over. I quit volunteering my time to improve the site, as did many other casual readers who simply wanted a better syst

      • Wikimedia gets its money from PBS/NPR-like "pledge drives" where they basically tell the public you're getting something valuable for free, please pay to keep it going.

        IMDB gets its money from Amazon, who'd love to keep the pay-for-content model going, and that explains its bias.

      • by wagnerrp ( 1305589 ) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @01:54AM (#33744072)

        That all changed quickly right after Amazon took over. I quit volunteering my time to improve the site, as did many other casual readers who simply wanted a better system for their own reference and entertainment. I still use IMDB to discover older movies and television series which might interest me, but I have no desire to try to submit corrections.

        You may want to consider [] and []. They started up in response to IMDb restricting their content and images, and exist to provide community-sourced metadata and artwork for use in HTPCs.

        • RottenTomatoes (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Joce640k ( 829181 )

 [] is way better then IMDB for movie reviews

          ie. Their ratings aren't done by 14 year-olds on a scale from"sucks" to "awesome" (although they have included "user ratings" in the last few weeks, ack)

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Thankfully the "community" comments and ratings are kept separate and are not factored in to the actual rating of the movie.Avoid the "RT Community" tab if you want to avoid reviews authored by spambots and the "omg i lolled and milu jovinich is hot " crowd.

    • by iamhassi ( 659463 ) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @12:41AM (#33743704) Journal
      "Don't like it? Create your own directory of legal download video projects and lock big content out unless they embrace the download format."

      I was thinking the same thing. I'm not impressed with the direction IMDB has been going in recent years, more and more paywalls, I think it's about time someone create an alternative to IMDB and I think it's rather scary that one website has wielded so much power over a movie database for as long as IMDB has.

      Like Field of Dreams said "If you build it they will come". Judging by the torrent movies I've seen there's quite a few that would love a site where they might get better exposure than buried under Avatar and Iron Man
      • by rockNme2349 ( 1414329 ) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @01:07AM (#33743838)

        You should check out []

        XBMC can download information directly from their database, which is how I was introduced to it. I believe this is what you are looking for.

        • I have to wonder why we don't do this in a more distributed fashion. There's plenty of geeks/companies out there with lots of extra server power. Personally, I wouldn't mind hosting some of the content from a movie database. It wouldn't be that hard to set up. The main site could just push updates to any of the (perhaps partial, depending on how much data there is) mirrors, and keep a directory of who is up to date. Updates are signed with public/private key so only the official server can make updates
    • by dave420 ( 699308 )
      Exactly. If they accept this film, they'd have to deal with people asking for their YouTube videos to be listed, too.
    • by Kaedrin ( 709478 ) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @02:18AM (#33744186)

      So IMDB has a clear tradition and quite likely violated it for...

      Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning
      The Guild
      The Legend of Neil
      Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog

      Frankly, if any web series also deserves to violate this rule, it's Doraleous and Associates. Awesome web based show that very easily deserves to be in IMDB, yet currently is not. Not unlike those other awesome shows which also avoided standard publishing paths. I know nothing about The Tunnel, but I think IMDB damn well should have a vetting process for things worth mentioning because they appear to already have one in spirit if not in their own law.

      Anyway, these did not originate or target standard distribution channels, yet they got into the IMDB database. Was the only reason those shows got on IMDB is because some of the people working on or for them are well known, and IMDB actually has a flexible policy of supporting those who they like or are well known when clear traditions are broken? I don't think Star Wreck even had known actors, and yet it's original distribution channel was, *gasp*, torrent.

      So yes, maybe the folks at The Tunnel kind of have a valid complaint, even if their show is as bad as parts of Star Wreck. Hell, it can't possibly be as bad as Neverending Story 3, which is listed on IMDB and most certainly should be forgotten by all who exist.

      • I've never heard of Legend of Neil, but Star Wreck, The Guild, and Dr. Horrible are all available on DVD.

        • Yes as parent says, all the other films I've heard of and are on DVD. I even saw "The Guild" seasons 1 and 2 via Blockbuster's movies-by-mail service. Obviously, it is much more "known" than this film and is available for purchase today. The "Legend of Neil" is a comedy based on the premise of an ordinary man getting pulled into the original Zelda game. There is a scene which I particularly like where the lead is dragging around all his gear until someone instructs him how to use his "inventory". I'm g
    • Why should IMDB carry podcasts? They don't carry radio shows at all.

    • [] So if GNFOS can make it in, why can't this movie? It's never been shown in theaters, sold, shown at a film festival and yet it has a spot on imdb.
      • Their vetting process guidelines suggest they will make exceptions to the other rules where a film has a sufficiently large audience or is otherwise widely referenced in popular culture or the media. My guess is this guy is complaining about his movie not being listed specifically to generate the kind of attention that will get it listed (since it doesn't seem like they've officially said no yet, his anticipating their saying no seems to be all about generating interest, which ironically reduces the chances
    • I've been using wikipedia for *years* for the things I used IMDB for a decade ago. I've found wikipedia to be much more cleanly laid out, loads faster, doesn't ask me to log in every five minutes, and oddly enough, better written, and often much more detail is available.

      If you need to catch up on a show for the water cooler, then wikipedia's your place, not imdb.

      • Flawed as it may be, the community aspects of IMDB do still make it useful to a lot of people - you might not get a bulletproof review, but you get at least a ball park feel for the quality of a release from how the community react to it that is not generally present on Wikipedia. You also find IMDB are more careful about revealing spoilers, whereas Wikipedia famously present the bare information regardless, so IMDB does still have it's place (it's also great for looking up which obscure movie you remember
    • IMDB has a very clear rule requiring traditional distribution in order to make their site.

      I thought it had more to do with being within six degrees of Kevin Bacon... otherwise, YouTube and other sites would cause massive data storage and retrieval problems.

    • I just googled to see if wikipedia listed "The Tunnel", and the first google hit was IMDB! The second was a wikipedia article about a New York night club. The third was a trans-Hudson rail tunnel, #4 was the movie's web site.

      Did the slashdot story get it listed? I'm at work, so of course torrentfreak is firewalled off. I doubt seriously if torrentfreak got it listed.

  • OTOH (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Citizen of Earth ( 569446 ) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @12:06AM (#33743516)
    On the plus side, they'll now get way more publicity than if the IMDB guys weren't dicks. Perhaps they'll even make the popular news.
    • Re:OTOH (Score:4, Insightful)

      by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Thursday September 30, 2010 @12:10AM (#33743530)
      Sorry, popular news is controlled by the same media interests that would rather Internet distribution that goes around them didn't exist.
  • Stupid (Score:5, Interesting)

    by adenied ( 120700 ) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @12:16AM (#33743554)

    I love IMDB for keeping track of movies I've seen but they have some really annoying policies around what gets included. How is this any different than the 60 or Funny Or Die movies in IMDB right now? [] I don't think any of those have gotten anything other than web streaming distribution.

    A while back I thought I'd add a few obscure short Russian films that are included on a DVD set I have. Mostly fascinating propaganda from the 1950s or so. About half of the films are in IMDB. I spent a good hour or so using their ancient and difficult to use system entering all of the data that I could find which was relatively substantial. Go figure, they actually had a lot of production information in the credits for the main one I wanted to submit. So I put all the data in, got the e-mail that said OK we'll take a look! Waited. Waited. Got another automated e-mail saying well you don't have enough information. Please add more. So I tried to clean things up a bit. Waited.. Waited.. finally got an e-mail saying Well, sorry, none of our staff have looked at this yet, and don't expect them to. Resubmit with more information if you want us to maybe consider it. !!!

    What do they want?? There's tons of movies in there that don't even have things like director and producer credits much less acting credits. After that I just don't see the point in trying to help.

    I feel bad for these guys with this torrent movie. Can't imagine they'll get very far on their own with them.

  • Ying/Yang (Score:3, Funny)

    by DirtyCanuck ( 1529753 ) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @12:16AM (#33743556)

    I guess the real argument is what is considered a Production. Surely if the movie is of the quality as many B titles the means of distribution are irrelevant.

    That said, the flip side is a IMDB that is littered with amazing Productions such as "Football to the Groin" and "Cat Gets Tasered, In Bathtub"

    I guess for some of us the real IMDB will be reduced to .NFO files and their summary. That'll learn em' :O

  • No shit (Score:3, Funny)

    by imthesponge ( 621107 ) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @12:19AM (#33743568)

    If it doesn't come out in theaters, it's a home movie, not a real motion picture.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by LostCluster ( 625375 ) *

      Yep. Even HBO stages small theater runs for their serious productions to qualify them for Oscar contention. Otherwise, all they could get would be Emmy awards.

    • by Chuq ( 8564 )

      .. but IMDb includes straight to video, straight to television, TV shows, and computer games in their database without a problem.

    • Defining what is a "real motion picture" by whether or not a handful of companies decide to play it is not the best option. I fully support capitalism, but for it to work, we must be able to move beyond reasoning that the level at which something is marketed is the definition of it's quality.

      Media companies practically have an oligarchy, and people have been eating it up. However, as they pump out more trash, the people seek more substance. When comapanies want control, users want usability. In a time when

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      SO Firefly is a home movie. Star Trek DS9, TNG, and TOS are all home movies.. Babylon 5 is a home movie...

      Honestly, the last 4 films I saw at a theater, I'd rather watch shakey cam home movies of someones kid on a fricking swing than the tripe that they convinced my wife to drag me to.

  • by mykos ( 1627575 ) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @12:20AM (#33743572)
    In one universe, digital distribution is an unholy force that costs the world eight billion jobs every year and funds terrorism.

    In the other universe, digital distribution doesn't exist at all and is no more potent a force than than a barely perceptible breeze.
  • Amazon? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Macrat ( 638047 ) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @12:26AM (#33743604)

    this has put them at a disadvantage with the Amazon-owned site.

    That explains why the site has been getting so "design" heavy it is almost unusable. It can only be viewed with flash and javascript blocking.

  • Are you really purposely introducing flaws in your own database? Is it not a movie? Does it not have actors, grips and sundry?
    • by tepples ( 727027 )
      Even if it has actors, grips, and sundry, it's not a feature motion picture until post-production concludes. Until then, it's a work in progress.
  • by bm_luethke ( 253362 ) <> on Thursday September 30, 2010 @12:42AM (#33743712)

    ...idiots or trying to drum up publicity (my bet is the second).

    Really - IMDB can't do what they want them to and remain a reliable source of movie information. IMDB clearly told them what was needed: be at a late enough period of production or at release so they can tell it isn't simply a hobby or publicity stunt or have a major publisher sign off. So they resubmitted without *any* of that happening and *gasp* got rejected each time! I mean, there is only one explanation right - they are protecting business of selling movies!!!!!! BitTorrent is a *distribution method*, not a distributor. They are following their rules for self published movies and those are in place for a reason. It's like complaining that a CentOS repository will not take your half baked project like sourceforge would - after all you have other half baked projects that made it! It's not some grand conspiracy, they list professionally made published movies and some publishers are reliable enough that they allow them to "pre-publish" information. Any other database that is looking for a similar reputation (again, take a community accepted CentOS repository) and they have to do the same thing. Nothing wrong with either way and there is place for both, but do not expect one striving for the higher reputation to take anything.

    Further this is what you pay publishers to do and is the tradeoff one pays for saving that money. To use another computer analogy no reason you can't self publish your own x.509 certificate, set up a secure server, and rely totally on that. Just do not complain when people do not trust it like they would a certificate signed by Verisign - you are not really paying for the distribution, you are paying for the trust and connections that the publisher (or CA) has. Lots of examples there too - have your home for sale by owner? You aren't going to get the ability to advertise like a real-estate agent would. Service your own equipment? The place you purchased your items from aren't going to refund your money because you hit something with a hammer you were not supposed too. Yea, they have a few other movies with them but I bet they were not added unless: the movie was released, at the end of production, or had a publisher backing it. Even then one has to note the number of movies that are "in production" and never make it, by that observation the standards are already low.

    IMDB is *not* looking to be a repository for information on any and all movies out there (they aren't looking to be a sourceforge of movies, they are looking to be a community wide accepted CentOS repository). Yea, some "real" movies may very well end up with much worse production values than this one - but they aren't going to take your word for it. If they release a quality movie and IMDB refuses *then* lets blast them, until then these guys are only marginally better then me submitting my upcoming movie to IMDB.

  • by YesIAmAScript ( 886271 ) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @12:50AM (#33743756)

    IMDB requires indie films be released before they are listed. []

    This movie isn't out yet. He can submit the movie for inclusion once it comes out.

    Is there no website that won't fall for a fake outrage story like this one? Is it really this easy to manipulate "new media"?

    • And one of the criteria for General Public Interest is "has become famous for some reason and is widely talked about/referenced in non local media or the 'film community' or is now of general historic interest for some reason." By virtue of it being discussed on Slashdot, it now meets that requirement.

      (And will probably also meet the "has been downloaded in 'large' numbers from some website(s)" criteria as well, due to Slashdot.)

      I don't see why it shouldn't be included since even porn is allowed in the dat

    • Is there no website that won't fall for a fake outrage story like this one? Is it really this easy to manipulate "new media"?

      Is that a rhetorical question or are you new to Slashdot?

    • Is it really this easy to manipulate "new media"?


    • I think this makes sense. While it might seem like you're just favoring the big studios, there's no point in making a bunch of "pre production" entries for indie projects because indie projects are probably a lot more likely to dead-end or get cancelled. Big studios have problems too, but I don't expect it to be nearly as big of a problem.

    • by sremick ( 91371 )

      Not true. I stumble across films listed that are still in-production all the time. Some have been "in production" for years and still aren't out yet. But they're in IMDB.

      Considering how much low-budget porn is in IMDB, it's quite obvious that Amazon's issue here is anti-torrent and has absolutely nothing to do with the production status of the film, the content of the film, or the credentials of those making the film.

  • by l0ungeb0y ( 442022 ) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @12:55AM (#33743782) Homepage Journal

    No public API, only some ambiguous statement saying they *might* be willing to license you you for at least $10,000, maybe, if they are feeling ok about it that is.
    There needs to be an open web platform that does what IMDB does, but allows it's information to be used freely. While I can understand there needs to be a standard as to what get's in, not including something solely because it's internet distribution only shows that though they exist on the net, they don't really care for it. We deserve better.

  • Torrent-distributed movie that vows never to be sold in stores denied listing at online retail giant's movie database. We've got a team working on the story overnight and will have complete details on tomorrow's Wicked Early News, we start now a half hour earlier than before normal people wake up.

  • IMDB is ripe for being made redundant, or at least there is room for someone else to fill in where they've left off.
    • by Cylix ( 55374 ) *

      There are competing movie databases which feature user contributed content.

      In fact mythtv supports an alternate movie and poster database out of the box.

      I actually added the entire content for one movie simply because it was not listed on IMDB and there was nothing I could do to change this. (I Sell The Dead). It was a horror comedy flick and while not my usual genre I was pleased enough. At the time there was no IMDB listing and this was surprising because it had Dominic Monaghan as the lead star. (Charlie

      • "Now hopefully they won't pull a gracenote with all of that user contributed content."

        Like IMDB did? I've been around the 'net long enough to remember when it was the user-contributed 'rec.arts.movies movie database', a collection of text files and shell scripts, before it even moved to the web as the 'Cardiff University Movie Database'. What happened after that was like a beginners HOWTO for the CDDB guys.

        But apart from that, anyone who relies on IMDB for accurate info has rocks in their head. Anything pre

  • If anyone who decides to torrent a home movie could add to IMDB the site would, in my opinion, become less useful. If I want to wade through cruft I'll search with google.

  • According to this article []

    IMDb's head of public relations and marketing said the company would "review this specific case", but brushed off the producers' claims of bias.

    "To the contrary, we already list many titles that were initially or solely distributed online and/or via BitTorrent," Emily Glassman wrote in an email from Seattle, where the company is based.

    "As a pioneering internet company - we are celebrating our 20th anniversary on 17 October! - we are fully aware of and totally embrace digital distribution."

  • Imagine if this exact same article were written, but instead of "torrent-only", it said "Youtube-only". Are there Youtube-only full-length movies of good quality that probably should be listed in major movie DB sites? Yes. For every one of those, however, there's thousands upon thousands that really shouldn't. A database of everything ever filmed with a camera would be utterly useless, because all of your searches would return mountains of crap you don't care about.

    The question then is, "what standardized s

  • I always wondered why imdb had such a gawd awful design. I guess that explains it.
  • by DavidinAla ( 639952 ) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @02:23AM (#33744206)
    I have a short film that's listed on IMDb and I have a personal listing there because of having written/directed it, so I've dealt with IMDb. I can tell you that it's not easy to get on their. They don't communicate with people very well. And their rating system is frequently "gamed" by people to hurt films. So I'm not crazy about them and can sympathize that they're not easy to deal with. However, it's VERY clear that there are fairly simple criteria by which IMDb determines what is a legit film. You can distribution or you can get your film into legit festivals. If you choose to exist outside of that system, IMDb has no reason to believe you're a real filmmaker. They don't pass artistic judgement. They simply say that you have to meet certain criteria to be listed. If they didn't do that, how in the world would they determine what to list? As someone who's been around the indie film world for awhile now, I can tell you that there are THOUSANDS of wannabes who are trying to get listed in order to get some credibility. So I believe the producers of this film are whiners who need to simply shut up. Of course, they might very well KNOW that they have zero chance of getting listed on IMDb, so getting geeks riled up about something on torrent not getting respect might be their real PR strategy. Either way, they seem like amateurs at best.
  • IMDB (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Wescotte ( 732385 ) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @02:31AM (#33744230)
    We submitted our (The Amateur Monster Movie [] ) zero budget film to be added IMDB a few times in the past while still doing principal photography. They denied it until we released our trailer and started getting more press coverage. We don't have any distribution deal (yet) or submitted it to any festivals.

    I think if they just released a trailer and got more press (which Slashdot should fix) they will be added. I think it's a matter of them simply trying to avoid adding films that most likely will never be seen by anybody but the people involved in creating them.

    Here is a link to our trailer in case your curious. []
  • by Fantastic Lad ( 198284 ) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @03:21AM (#33744458)

    Amazon is selling the IMDb as a marketing tool to Hollywood.


    Astro-turfing in the reviews section of the IMDb is not just allowed, (and I suspect, sold as a service to big film releases), but when you write a review pointing this out, that criticism vanishes. Or rather, it doesn't vanish, but only appears present to the IP address it came from while remaining invisible to the rest of the world.

    Give it a try!

    Next time a big block buster release comes out, head over to the IMDb in the first couple of days of release and after wading through the swamp of 10 star rave reviews, down to the bottom where the balanced reviews by real people are buried, and write your own pointing out that Amazon is selling favorable reviews to Hollywood marketing firms and that the movie in question probably sucks just badly enough to require the kind of manipulative push an astro-turfing tactic offers.

    Then watch your review mysteriously vanish.

    Go on! It's frustrating good times!


    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      write your own pointing out that Amazon is selling favorable reviews to Hollywood marketing firms and that the movie in question probably sucks just badly enough to require the kind of manipulative push an astro-turfing tactic offers.

      Then watch your review mysteriously vanish.

      You know, given that reviews are supposed to be reviews of the MOVIE in question and not rants about amazon's business tactics (even if they're rants that are factually accurate), I don't think this is actually a bad thing.

      • You know, given that reviews are supposed to be reviews of the MOVIE in question and not rants about amazon's business tactics (even if they're rants that are factually accurate), I don't think this is actually a bad thing.

        Well. . , sheesh, you still review the film. Plenty of reviews there make reference to other reviews. In any case, what's worse? A bunch of fake reviews which deliberately try to mislead you, or a criticism of the fact that you're being misled?


  • Sita Sings The Blues has an internet-only publication, and is listed. This sounds like more of a non-story.

  • There's some wiki thing I look at when I want to get info about a movie. But this movie wasn't listed there, either. So I guess maybe it's not a real movie.

  • IMDb is a community-built site, which Amazon is monetizing on.
    And now, it is hindring its users apparently.
    So, I guess it is time to fork IMDb, and make something like wikipedia out of it.

  • So... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by martin0641 ( 1912130 )
    Sounds like the same crap that Wikipedia spouts about citations from news sources. I'm an expert in my field, and I know things because I've been doing it for 25 years - so when I make an edit, it gets undone because I don't have a puff piece written by a journalist to cite. It's as if they think the sum of human knowledge comes from the evening news, when it is quite clear most "news" is chum. IT moves to fast to disallow non-traditional sources to be used. It's ok though, the non-techies who don't "ge

I use technology in order to hate it more properly. -- Nam June Paik