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Short History of Cellphone Ringtones 511

Posted by Hemos
from the the-joy-of-MIDI dept.
RobotWisdom writes "This week's New Yorker magazine includes an interesting short history of cellphone ringtones, including statistics on their (huge) profitability worldwide. My favorite quote: 'I spent three days of productive work time listening to polyphonic ringtone versions of speed metal, trying to find exactly the ringtone that expressed my personality with enough irony and enough coolness that I could live with it going off ten times a day. In a quiet room, in a meeting, this phone's gonna go off-- what are they going to hear?'"
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Short History of Cellphone Ringtones

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  • by ackthpt (218170) * on Monday February 28, 2005 @01:41PM (#11804775) Homepage Journal
    A shorter history of ringtones:

    Kewl

    Neat

    Cute

    Distracting

    Bothersome

    Highly Annoying

    Obnoxious

    Grating

    "Hello, is the proctologist available? I need something removed from somewhere."

    coming soon: ringtones with thx 5.1 surround, so everyone can enjoy your taste in interruption melodies!

    • by BubbleDragon (652251) on Monday February 28, 2005 @01:47PM (#11804881)
      *shudders* And it's even worse with someone non-technical driving the whole thing.

      Last night at a restaurant, a woman in about her late 40s stopped the waitress every time she passed, asking about how to save this, or what's this mean, and "Get this bird off my screen!" Then she proceeded to scroll through every different ring tone possibility at the highest volume for 20 minutes. All the while grinning, and oblivious to the concept that everyone else in the place had adopted a bit of a nervous tick.

      And they bitch about my generation being socially inept.
    • Years ago, a guy I worked with audio-edited the Windows "You have mail" voice with a Southpark clip. So about every 20 minutes it said, "OH MY GOD!!! ... you have mail ... YOU BASTARD!!!"

      The guy himself was incredibly annoying, but I never got tired of hearing that. Seems funny even now.
  • by Neil Blender (555885) <neilblender@gmail.com> on Monday February 28, 2005 @01:42PM (#11804784)
    Vibrate.
  • by spywarearcata.com (841806) * on Monday February 28, 2005 @01:42PM (#11804788)
    "In a quiet room, in a meeting, this phone's gonna go off--what are they going to hear?"

    Among polite people, or, failing that, with a mobile phone jammer enabled--nothing.
    • by lukewarmfusion (726141) on Monday February 28, 2005 @01:45PM (#11804854) Homepage Journal
      At the very most, they might hear my phone's vibration mode.

      In college, we used to make a game of calling people in class to see if they remembered to turn their ringers off. Paul lost pretty much every time, rewarding us with a disruptive version of the Notre Dame fight song.

      In an important meeting, my phone is on silence mode - no ringer at all. If I didn't do that, I'd never get anything done.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        This approach can be useful in the courtroom as well... If your opponent is as retarded as mine is.

        Doesn't help to start things off with a pissed judge.
      • by sg3000 (87992) * <sg_public@noSPAm.mac.com> on Monday February 28, 2005 @02:12PM (#11805270)
        > At the very most, they might hear my phone's vibration

        My phone is always in vibrate mode, unless it's plugged into a wall charger and stuck on my dresser for the night. I can think of few things more annoying or unprofessional than an obtrusive ring tone.

        One person at work I knew believes she is a Very Important Person, but she didn't want to carry her phone on her (too bulky, I assume). So she turned up the ringer to a distinctive song set to its loudest volume and put the damn thing on vibrate. When the phone went off, the cacophony of noises would be accompanied by the phone vibrating so violently that it would start whirling around the desk like a dervish. All conversation would stop as people would stared shocked at her cell phone.

        For teenagers, I guess it's fine to use obnoxious ring tones -- it's probably analogous to people of my generation in college having annoying answering machine messages with popular songs or samples from a TV show (ho ho! My answering machine message is George from Seinfeld singing "Believe it or not, George isn't at home") or something.
        • by Lumpy (12016) on Monday February 28, 2005 @04:12PM (#11806619) Homepage
          we have one of those here too. we grabbed her cellphone when she was away and uploaded a ringtone for her (I've got copies of ringtone making software) we changed her ringtone to "HEY LOOK! I'M AN ASS WHO LIKES LOUD RINGS!" said loudly by a co-worker.

          after that she stopped leaving her cellphone on her desk.

      • by cheekyboy (598084) on Monday February 28, 2005 @05:52PM (#11807615) Homepage Journal
        If you put a planner item in its calender and say
        Meeting at 11 for 30min, the phone should auto go to silent mode.

  • Meetings... (Score:5, Funny)

    by darkstar949 (697933) on Monday February 28, 2005 @01:42PM (#11804794)
    They are going to hear that you have too much time on you hands...
  • by hsmith (818216) on Monday February 28, 2005 @01:42PM (#11804795)
    I mean, $2-3 a PIECE? who the hell pays that? I am quite content with the standard ringer on my LG. It is a damn phone!
  • The ringtone craze (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RaguMS (149511) * on Monday February 28, 2005 @01:42PM (#11804796) Journal
    Seriously, I do not understand the level of popularity that ringtones have acheived - especially considering that they cost money! A cellphone plan costs enough already. I use a preprogrammed ringtone on my Audiovox CDM-4000 phone (1st gen CDMA for anyone unfamiliar with the particular phone), and while it's a bit cheesy I can instantly recognize that this tone is coming from my phone and my phone only - It's been ringing like this for almost 5 years. If I were to change ring tones often, not only would it be time&money consuming but I would also lose that mental 'training' of what my phone sounds like when it rings in a room full of people with ringing cellphones.
    Yes, I do know people who have a ring tone for everyone in their phonebook. Perhaps it is useful to them other than being a fashion statement (since caller ID also identifies incoming callers) but is it really worth paying for?
    • No, they are not worth paying for...I can't explain their popularity, except to say that they are perhaps used to express ones "originality".

      Here's why I use them: Since I don't keep my phone attached to my belt at all times, and my phone has the abiliy to play different ringtones based on who calls, I use them as a way to identify who is calling without having to see the phone. Being me, I tend to use rather whimsical mnemonics...My sister gets the "jaws" theme, my dad gets the "Grinch" theme, my girlfri
    • by ackthpt (218170) *
      Seriously, I do not understand the level of popularity that ringtones have acheived - especially considering that they cost money!

      So someone can show their individuality (just like everone else.)

      Or (the Reader's Digest version)

      Moo.

    • I dunno, mine didn't cost me anything. (Unless you count the original cost of the cd that the clip of the song came from) I created it and uploaded it to the phone myself. A friend had the USB->phone cable and I already had the song. A quick edit and voila!
    • by sconeu (64226)
      On sprint, not only do you have to pay for them, but they're DRM'ed to not be useable after 90 days.

      <MR-ROGERS>
      Can you say "Cash Cow"? I knew you could.
      </MR-ROGERS>
  • by sulli (195030) * on Monday February 28, 2005 @01:42PM (#11804800) Journal
    In a quiet room, in a meeting, this phone's gonna go off-- what are they going to hear?

    Everyone else hollering "PUT YOUR FUCKING PHONE ON VIBRATE!"

    Damn I hate ringtones.

  • beep (Score:5, Informative)

    by 3.09 a hour (812839) on Monday February 28, 2005 @01:44PM (#11804822)
    This is why i use the single beep ringer, its short and functional, and acceptable in all areas. As an added benifit, if you left it on somewhere you shouldn't like school or the movies, one beep could be anything and mos tpeople arn't even sure they heard it.
  • by suso (153703) on Monday February 28, 2005 @01:44PM (#11804824) Homepage Journal
    I was with my wife in a pizza place a few years ago and we happened to be talking about baseball (once in about probably 10 times I've talked about it in my life) and right then the girl's cell phone in the booth next to us goes off and plays "Take me out the ballgame". That was a weird coincidence.

    I made my own long and dissonant ringtone for text messages so that it will wake me up at night if a server goes down.
    • and right then the girl's cell phone in the booth next to us goes off and plays "Take me out the ballgame". That was a weird coincidence.

      i have a better one. the ambulance crew and myself had just rolled into the ER with our patient, who had jumped a fence while chasing some vandals. The cop is in to take his statement, and the cop's personal ringone goes off. It is, natch, "bad boys bad boys, whatcha gonna do".
  • Ringtone Study (Score:3, Interesting)

    by moofdaddy (570503) on Monday February 28, 2005 @01:44PM (#11804829) Homepage
    This is an interesting article, there seems to be a growing intrigue into ringtones. Recently i read about a study being done at Cornell with ring tones. Users are being studied for a year and they are trying to determine what goes into people's decisions to buy a certain ringtone. I guess this is really becoming a huge business.
  • I am baffled. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bigtallmofo (695287) on Monday February 28, 2005 @01:44PM (#11804831)
    From the proliferation of (what I consider to be) annoying ring tones, I really feel alone in the world with my lowly silent setting.

    For the life of me, I can not figure out why someone would take the time to set up a custom ringtone - let alone pay for one.

    I guess it's the same people that blare their radio in the car with the windows rolled all the way down.
    • Re:I am baffled. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DeckardJK (555299)
      Maybe its because people like to have a little fun. Sure... we could all use the same ringtone and life would be great, however; there is a little enjoyment to be gained out of hearing your friend's cellphone crank out ZZ Top's "Sharp Dressed Man" or something else kinda funny.

      I know ringtones in certain places are annoying... but its beyond me how links to pictures of souped up computers on /. are the coolest thing ever, however; when it comes to pop culture and fashion anything other than the bare minim
    • I definitely belong in the "beep or plain ring" lot.

      However, I was perusing my disk yesterday and found some old SID music and ended up playing old C64 and Amiga classics with a tear of nostalgia in my eye.

      For a while I actually thought I'd put the Commando or IK+ theme on my phone if it would play .sid files. :) Rob Hubbard rocks!
    • Re:I am baffled. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SnprBoB86 (576143) on Monday February 28, 2005 @02:13PM (#11805282) Homepage
      "I guess it's the same people that blare their radio in the car with the windows rolled all the way down."

      That is an interesting comment...

      Personally, I hate ringtones, but I love to rock out real loud with the wind pouring in the windows on a nice fall or spring day.

      The difference is that when I get to a red light, I lower the volume.

      I guess it's the same people who leave their phone on loud durring a meeting who don't lower their radio when it could be annoying other people.
      • I'm a little perplexed by your logic. I mean, back when I drove I used to enjoy that too, but only when out in the middle of nowhere. So, do you:

        a) only blare out in the middle of nowhere,

        b) believe that a rapid succession of different Dopplered blares is less annoying to others than one steady blare,

        c) assume that there is no such rapid succession because most other people don't do this, or

        d) only behave differently at red lights because bystanders are in a better position to point and/or throw things
    • Re:I am baffled. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Daytona955i (448665)
      While I do use vibrate a lot, I also like to have it ring certain times. That being the case I like to distinguish my cell phone from the millions of others around me. I've yet to hear someone with the same ringtone as me. (Of course I made it myself which helps)
    • I was at a starbucks once, sitting outside next to the little parking lot. A guy with a loud stereo drove up and left the car idling next to me while he stepped inside to get his drink. But, just before he left it, he turned the volume up so he could hear it inside better. Never mind the dozen of us on the patio... urgh.
    • I had the chorus from this great song. Took the time to program it myself on my first mono-tone cell phone. "I give you my affection and I give you my time, trying to get a connection on the telephone line!" -- I thought I was so witty (well, I was). Unfortunately in 2 years of having the phone, only one person ever recognized it and said something. Now I vibrate. :-P
  • Vibrate mode (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BeBoxer (14448) on Monday February 28, 2005 @01:45PM (#11804847)
    Which is exactly why I have mine set to vibrate mode. The reality is, during a meeting, nobody gives a shit what kind of music I like. Cell phone use is intrusive enough without the addition of "look how cool I am" ring tones.
  • Pointy-haired bosses at Sprint PCS must see this as an excuse to take away their customers' ability to compose free ringtones, since obviously we're depriving Sprint of some good revenue.

    But I'm one really happy customer, since I've composed one and two-letter morse-code "songs" in MIDI and use them as custom ringtones for all the people who frequently call my phone. Irritating songs be damned, my phone gently beeps to me the identity of my caller. It's fabulous.

    I'd like to STRANGLE these people who use L
  • by rueger (210566) * on Monday February 28, 2005 @01:46PM (#11804865) Homepage
    God - the world does not need musical ring tones. Really, we don't. Without doubt they are always irritating and annoying to everyone else.

    Really, just because you think that the Looney Tunes themes is cute doesn't mean that the people around don't view you as an idiot.
    • Really, just because you think that the Looney Tunes themes is cute doesn't mean that the people around don't view you as an idiot.

      Sadly, the ring tune had very little to do with their view of you as an idiot... although it may have helped cement the view... ;)
  • by ageoffri (723674) on Monday February 28, 2005 @01:46PM (#11804869)
    "In a quiet room, in a meeting, this phone's gonna go off-- what are they going to hear?" This attitude really bugs me. If you aren't turning your phone to vibrate/silent only in a meeting, in a movie theater, at a family dinner then you are just flat out rude.

    Of course I've got a new one to add to rude cell phone use. In a movie theater if you have a bright screen on your phone, cover it with your hand so it doesn't distract other people.

    Though on the good side technology is getting to the point where it can effectively block cell phone signals so since it is obvious people won't police themselves it is only a matter of time before more and more public places like movie theaters block it for them.

  • by Swamii (594522) on Monday February 28, 2005 @01:47PM (#11804888) Homepage
    I spent three days of productive work time listening to polyphonic ringtones...in a meeting, this phone's gonna go off-- what are they going to hear?

    "You're fired."
  • I like my telephone to sound like a damn telephone. My Treo is either set to ring using a standard telephone ring, or else I have it set for silent operation. I always try (and usually remember) to set it for silent when I am in meetings because ringing telephones are disruptive.
  • I can convert any mp3 to a ringtone, software included.. considering their "security" model, how did they approve that phone, I'll never know
  • 'I spent three days of productive work time listening to polyphonic ringtone versions of speed metal, trying to find exactly the ringtone that expressed my personality with enough irony and enough coolness that I could live with it going off ten times a day. In a quiet room, in a meeting, this phone's gonna go off'

    YOU'RE FIRED.....
  • In a quiet room, in a meeting, this phone's gonna go off-- what are they going to hear?

    If I'm a client (or her boss), she's gonna hear my foot in her ass. Why can't people put their friggin' phones on vibrate for a meeting?

    It's not cute; it's not you personalizing your life; it's not you making a statement. It's you being rude and unprofessional.
  • Personally I refuse to buy ringtones. If I like a tune, I've probably bought it on CD; why should I pay MORE money to have it on my phone? (Don't tell me, some record industry group thinks I owe them for performance royalties for letting my phone ring in a public place? What if I _promise_ not to take my phone outside my house???)

    Even if you do decide to buy a ringtone, you've then got to hunt around and find somewhere that isn't charging you 5 euros a month for some subscription you didn't even know you w
  • Obnoxious ringtones and overly loud phone conversations in public lead to calls for blocking.

    The only problem is, do you really want blockers going when there could be a real emergency that requires 911?
  • by retro128 (318602) on Monday February 28, 2005 @01:53PM (#11804989)
    I refuse to pay for ringtones. You go on these sites and most of them are crap anyway. For the large part they are just sound clips from the latest teen gangsta sensation. And they charge, what, $5 a pop for this garbage?

    I have a Motorola v551 which is able to interpret general MIDI files and MP3s. Adding ringtones is as simple as jumping on a MIDI archive or ripping one of my CDs, truncating the song down to the part I want, and transferring them to the phone with the data cable.

    Buying ringtones is right up there with paying for pr0n in my book.
  • Cell Phone (Score:4, Funny)

    by supe (163410) * on Monday February 28, 2005 @01:53PM (#11804993) Journal
    I don't have a cell phone you insensitive clods!
  • by Ageless (10680)
    'I spent three days of productive work time listening to polyphonic ringtone versions of speed metal, trying to find exactly the ringtone that expressed my personality with enough irony and enough coolness that I could live with it going off ten times a day. In a quiet room, in a meeting, this phone's gonna go off-- what are they going to hear?'

    They should hear the phone gently vibrate against your keys, from your pocket. When someone's phone starts ringing in a quiet room, in a meeting I give them a loo
  • I went to Madame Butterfly a couple weeks ago as part of the required fine arts class I'm taking. Since there were a lot of students who were unfamiliar with opera, the last thing they did before the overture was ask everyone to turn their phones off. About 5 minutes later during the hush between the overture and the actual beginning of the act, from the upper balcony, a ring echoed across the entire hall. I would be willing to bet the only thing that saved the dumb student from a righteous opera-nerd beati
  • I say this.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Turn-X Alphonse (789240) on Monday February 28, 2005 @01:55PM (#11805013) Journal
    I'm saying this on behalf of everyone who hates mobile phones.

    FUCK OFF!

    It's annoying as hell to be talking to someone when they suddenly pick up their phone and cut you off mid sentence. Or you're in a shop and suddenly a phone rings and 12 people dive head first into their bag.

    I miss the days of the early 90s where the only people who mobile phones were people who needed them, not every middle age woman and 12 year old girl within a 3 mile radius of the shopping part of town.
  • Vibrating (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Douglas Simmons (628988) on Monday February 28, 2005 @01:57PM (#11805054) Homepage
    It makes sense that there's a big market for ring tones because it is so annoying to hear someone's phone go off in a restaurant, auditorium, train, date, well anywhere. To not be that guy, many put their phones on vibrate. The thing is, these phones vibrate so vigorously that the sound of the vibration, even muted from being snugged up against someone's ass, is quite audible from a distance and not much less annoying than Fur Elise. It is an interruption of basically equal annoyance when someone starts vibrating in the middle of a lecture; and it is my theory that it is not necessarily the sound that pisses people off so much, but it is that the person neglected to turn their phone off before the class and the disrespect of their not having done that. I can handle these ringtones of recordings of regular bell ringing phones. Simple and subtle. But if I'm going to hear some pop song, it'd better be really funny for it to outweigh the annoyance.

    My point is, in addition to the advent of new ringtone technology, cell phone manufacturers should conduct research and development to allow people to set the intensity of their phone's vibration to a point that the phone's vibrating is as quiet as possible while shaking hard enough for the person to feel it. This cannot be the same setting for all people due to bodyfat variations, so it has to be adjustable. C'mon, science!

  • You should have seen me when "The New Hacker's Dictionary" came out.
  • by JeffTL (667728) on Monday February 28, 2005 @02:00PM (#11805100)
    I use a recording of a vintage telephone's mechanical ringer. It gets my attention, and isn't horribly aggravating -- it's quite obviously a telephone, making a sound to which most people are accustomed.

    Ericofon.com doen't just have Ericsson phones -- they have all types of ringer recordings, which I have had good luck converting to AMR (once I change the WAV file a bit so my AMR converter will work) and USBing over to my Nokia phone.

    The sound can be kind of surprising if you aren't expecting it, being as it sounds just like a regular telephone but is in someone's pocket, but it sounds kind of nice, and whoever said that a telephone's ringer should be a bloody iPod?
  • My Favorite (Score:3, Funny)

    by nate nice (672391) on Monday February 28, 2005 @02:01PM (#11805105) Journal
    I still use one of the default ring tones, the one that goes "burddt-burdddt". It's identical to what solid snake has on his codec in the Metal Gear Solid games. I use it because when I get calls, I feel like Snake getting more intelligence from HQ! It makes my life really exciting sometimes! I must go now, HQ needs me to pick milk up from the ammo dump....I mean store.
  • by Greyfox (87712) on Monday February 28, 2005 @02:02PM (#11805124) Homepage Journal
    Is a baby crying. It starts out soft, but eventually evolves into a full blown tantrum if the phone isn't answered. Symbolic on so many levels...

    I believe that every cellphone on the planet should have just 1 fixed ringtone that cannot be changed. It should be some guy announcing in a loud and obnoxious voice, "LOOK EVERYONE! I HAVE A CELLPHONE AND I'M AN *ASSHOLE*!" Then most people would keep their cellphone on silent and the issue wouldn't ever come up.

  • In a quiet room, in a meeting, this phone's gonna go off-- what are they going to hear?

    SHUT OFF THAT GOD DAMNED RINGTINE OR IT'S YOUR JOB, YOU ASSHOLE!
  • I don't know which I hate more, ringtones themselves, or Jamster, the company that has recently been advertising them all over tv.

    Not only are they the most annoying ringtones ever, but they suck you into the weekly fee scam of charging you a couple bucks every week for the ability to "rent" the ringtones. Plus they spam the hell out of you.

  • Albatross (Score:5, Funny)

    by linuxwrangler (582055) on Monday February 28, 2005 @02:05PM (#11805180)
    Sometimes I feel like John Cleese yelling, "It's f***ing seabird f***ing flavored".

    I want my stereo to play music.

    I don't need my phone to play a bad rendition of some tune - I want it to ring.

    I want my beer to taste like, um, beer - not razzberries, lemons, etc.

    Maybe I've become an old coot. But is sure saves me money.

    BTW, I selected the "falling rockets" built in ring on my Nokia. Everyone hates that tone (my wife says, "your phone is crying") so I've never heard that ring on another phone. Perfect - I never have to do the "self-frisk" whenever a phone rings.
    • by xgamer04 (248962)
      ... I never have to do the "self-frisk" whenever a phone rings.

      A friend of mine told me about the training day for the campus student computing helpdesk: "picture 20 geeks in a room. Then a cellphone goes off. Every one of them checks to see if it's theirs. It was beautiful."
  • If your phone is polyphonic and you have some kinda WAP enabled, it's a lot easier for you to just download the MIDIs of the songs you like. Those are easier to find and for the most part, work.

    Why would anyone want to pay for these things?
  • Ringtone... (Score:3, Funny)

    by lxt (724570) on Monday February 28, 2005 @02:08PM (#11805216) Journal
    Someone should make a audio file ringtone that says "I'm terribly sorry - it's my phone"... :)
  • *ring ring*

    Not only is this tone now so rare that you are almost gauranteed that it's yours when the phone goes off, it also avoid any and ALL embarrassment whereever and whenever he phone goes off.
  • The popularity of ringtones, more than any other single thing, has convinced me that I must finally be getting old. I'm only 27 - that's not really old, right? But ringtones, and the idea of paying real money for them, seem so stupid to me that I must be totally out of touch.

    When my phone's not on vibrate, it's set to a tone (one of the factory defaults) that I can distinguish from that of my coworkers when we're at lunch. That's it. I need to know when my phone is ringing, and that does it.

    Can you im
  • This article got me thinking...could I make my own? After hitting up google it looks like yes, but you need to pay for uploading software to get it onto your phone. There must be a "free" way to do this.
    http://www.engadget.com/entry/1498517852773617/ [engadget.com]
  • by benbritten (72301) on Monday February 28, 2005 @02:14PM (#11805305) Homepage
    I find that musical ringtones are personality amplifiers. for that .01% of people that are already cool without a ringtone, a clever ringtone will enhance their attitude. For people like the submitter, having your phone break out a speed metal riff, will reall bring out the fact that you are a pathetic loser who relies on their electronic accessories to define them.

    ringtone != cool (if you are reading this, you are not in that sliver of culture that can pull off a ringtone, please, for the love of god, switch to vibrate)

    sorry, that is just the way it is.

    (for full disclosure, I have my ringtone set to vibrate, since I am not in the top 0.01% of coolness)

  • We... are... so... retarded.

    No wonder the aliens haven't contacted us yet - I doubt there would be much point.

    obMontyPython: "On second thought, let's not go to Earth... 'Tis a silly place."
  • Numa Numa song on my Motorola 710 thanks to it's flash memory, mp3 playback and mp3 ringtones. Awesome phone!

    http://www.funpic.hu/swf/numanuma.html

    I'd like to get the original hamster dance song, but I can't seem to find the original-original anymore.
  • You should be able to set up different tones for differnent times of they day.

    E.g., a "buisness" tone for 8-5 and a "fun" tone for every time else.
  • by Zerbey (15536) * on Monday February 28, 2005 @02:17PM (#11805343) Homepage Journal
    My cell phone has a bunch of ring tones, all the crap Samsung added. I use two of them, one is a normal US ringer, the other is vibrate. Most of the time it's set on vibrate.

    There are few things more annoying than being out in public listening to some horrible scratchy version of the latest "music" the Top 40 has inflicted on us. Bonus irritation points if you're in the movie theatre (those sort of people need to be tortured without mercy).

  • This is depressing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Monday February 28, 2005 @02:18PM (#11805348)
    I spent three days of productive work time listening to polyphonic ringtone versions of speed metal, trying to find exactly the ringtone that expressed my personality with enough irony and enough coolness that I could live with it going off ten times a day.

    Might I suggest "Useful Idiot" by Tool.

    In a quiet room, in a meeting, this phone's gonna go off-- what are they going to hear?

    Well, in my neck of the woods, if they hear anything other than the gentle buzz of a phone set to vibrate, it'll be the distant sound of your phone shattering into a thousand pieces on the sidewalk four stories below.

  • Bananaphone (Score:3, Funny)

    by mrycar (578010) <mrycar@gmTEAail.com minus caffeine> on Monday February 28, 2005 @02:18PM (#11805349) Homepage Journal
    I have two real annoying ringtones. One humorously annoying and the other has people seeking me out everytime they hear it.

    Bananaphone by Raffi

    Everybody Everybody!! from Homestarrunner

    Bananaphone has people at work call me so they can hear the song.

    Never saw the need for the ringtone company though, past phones permitted me to type in songs, when I was bored in a meeting. Current Phone permits me to take any sound out there wav, mp3, midi, etc and play it. Heck I can even record annoying phone calls and make them ring tones. :)

  • ...trying to find exactly the ringtone that expressed my personality...

    To be more precise, your ringtone expresses what you perceive your personality is. If others could choose your ringtone, then you'd have one that probably matches your personality (or lack thereof) better.

  • I was in line at a bookstore the other day when I heard a ringing that sounded like a phone from the early 70's, a rich, full bell. the guy behind me in line whipped out his phone and I said, "whoa, nice ringtone."
  • by rsw (70577) on Monday February 28, 2005 @02:31PM (#11805497) Homepage
    A buddy of mine and I decided that the ringtones we really really really wanted were the music from isi [pouet.net] and Final isi [pouet.net]. This is no mean feat, however: our phones (Sanyo SCP-8100s) only play midi and some crappy .wav format, and the latter is clearly unacceptable (both because it's limited in length to 30 seconds and because... well... it's just not cool enough!).

    So what did we do? Jim modified DOSBOX [sourceforge.net]'s OPL3 [vutbr.cz] emulation code to dump out the opcodes being sent to the FM channels and handed over the output to me.

    From there, it was a matter of parsing the various channel setup data into some semblance of notes, deciding which combination of general MIDI patches best emulated the sound of the FM synthesizer given the patchset on my phone, and writing a whole bunch of code.

    In the end, we did it: isi.mid [mit.edu] and fisi.mid [mit.edu] are the full soundtracks to isi and Final isi, respectively. In addition, I made a couple other versions of the Final isi soundtrack to skip to various parts of it that are more interesting and/or make better ringers than starting at the beginning: fisi2.mid [mit.edu], fisi3.mid [mit.edu].

    These ringers pretty much rule the roost.

    -rsw

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