Roll My Own Ringtone

First of all, I real­ly don’t go in for .mp3 ring tones. I’m actu­al­ly okay with just hav­ing a beepy or ringy ring­tone on my phone. How­ev­er, cus­tom ring­tones do serve a use­ful pur­pose. Now that essen­tial­ly every­one1 car­ries a cell phone with them, know­ing that it is actu­al­ly your phone ring­ing is handy. Of course, you don’t need to have “The Macarana” blar­ing every time your wife calls. That’s annoy­ing (for sev­er­al rea­sons). So, all this being said, it’s a good idea to know how to make your own ring­tones. Ring­tones are mul­ti-bil­lion dol­lar busi­ness, and it’s no won­der when you con­sid­er the num­bers. I can pur­chase the lat­est hit at the iTunes for 99¢ but that same song, in a short­er, low­er qual­i­ty ring­tone will cost me $1.99 at Cin­gu­lar (plus what­ev­er amount of band­width it costs me to down­load it). I pay twice as much for less? I don’t think so.

Here’s what I use to do this:

  1. A song. More to the point, one in .wav for­mat. You can rip one off a CD you own or burn-and-re-rip a song you’ve bought off of iTunes (or what­ev­er music ser­vice), which I do usu­al­ly to remove the DRM. Just re-rip it into .wav this time instead of .mp3.
  2. Some sound edit­ing soft­ware. I like Audac­i­ty because it’s open source and pret­ty easy to use. You’ll need to get the LAME .mp3 encoder for it, but that’s not too much trou­ble and also free.
  3. About five min­utes. Open your tune into your wave edi­tor soft­ware (Audac­i­ty) and trim it down to size. I use about 30 sec­onds, and not nec­es­sar­i­ly the first 30 sec­onds, either (I want the meat of the song, not the art­sy intro). I also use a brief fade-in at the begin­ning to save my hear­ing as well as some fade-out at the end, although who ever hears the end of a 30 sec­ond ring-tone?
  4. Save the new ver­sion as a low-to-medi­um qual­i­ty .mp3 file, prob­a­bly 42kbps (where-as I’d usu­al­ly use at least 192kbps for an .mp3 file on my PC). The key is, the file needs to be less than 600kb in final size, at least on my Cin­gu­lar brand­ed Sony-Eric­s­son W810i (I’ve yet to test Ange­la’s Motoro­la SLVR). How­ev­er, 30 sec­onds at 42kpbs should come well under that size.
  5. Trans­fer the .mp3 to the phone, by USB if at all pos­si­ble as any­thing else is excru­ci­at­ing­ly slow (i.e. – Blue­tooth). I found that I had to put mine in a spe­cif­ic fold­er called “Ring­tones.” This may not be always the case, but it worked and I’m not sure that I’d want to mix this low qual­i­ty, clipped songs with full-length .mp3 I’d lis­ten to on my head­phones, so it’s a good idea to sep­a­rate them.
  6. Use the ring­tone. Call your­self and test it out. You just saved a cou­ple of bucks and exer­cised your fair-use rights. Heck, splurge: call your­self and talk for a while. You can afford the minutes.

Right now, I have “Love Me Do” by the Bea­t­les for when Angela calls (yeah, cheesey). It works great, though, and I did­n’t have to pay for the same song twice. I sup­pose tech­ni­cal­ly if she calls while I’m lis­ten­ing to that song then I’ve gone beyond fair use and am guilty of copy­right infringe­ment. How­ev­er, that’s pret­ty unlikey. Just in case, I’ll put my phone on silent when lis­ten­ing to my copy of One.

  1. now that my broth­er Dave has giv­en up his land­line in favor of a mobile-only, I feel con­fi­dent that every­one is not just hyper­bole. []

Sony Doesn’t Get It

Well, it looks like Sony does­n’t get either the Long Tail of gam­ing, nor even the head of gam­ing. From a sto­ry I just seed­ed on Newsvine (as well as my com­ment):

Sony Com­put­er Enter­tain­ment of Amer­i­ca spokesper­son Dave Kar­rak­er says Wii should not be direct­ly com­pared to PS3. Inter­viewed by The New York Times today he said, “Wii could be con­sid­ered an impulse buy more than any­thing else.”

A very short arti­cle, but so much to talk about. First of all, and only anec­do­tal­ly, the only per­son I know who owns a PS3 said he bought it as an impulse buy (his exact words) where as every­one I know who has a Wii has had to lit­er­al­ly camp out for one, myself includ­ed. If there’s a place in the states that Sony is aware of that has some Wii’s lying around wait­ing for peo­ple to just pick one up, they should be keep­ing it a secret because they’ll sell out in a mat­ter of min­utes. The PS3? I’d be will­ing to bet there’s a cou­ple sit­ting at your near­est Best Buy right now, wait­ing for you to think long and hard about spend­ing $500–600 for (unlike my friend, apparently).

Also, this gem:

Sony believes Wii is cur­rent­ly sell­ing to casu­al gamers rather than com­mit­ted gamers, who are like­ly to buy more games in the years ahead.

What does Sony not get? Nin­ten­do turned a prof­it on the Wii con­sole so they aren’t entire­ly bet­ting the farm on sell­ing more games down the road (to recoup lost mon­ey on licens­ing fees, like Sony or Microsoft do). Also, of course Nin­ten­do is mar­ket­ing a sys­tem to the casu­al gamers. What Sony clear­ly does­n’t get is just how huge an untapped mar­ket that is. Hard­core gamers are, by def­i­n­i­tion almost, a niche mar­ket. The casu­al gamers vast­ly out­num­ber them. That’s why you can’t find a Wii con­sole hard­ly any­where while the PS3 is sit­ting on the store shelf. Last­ly, the most recent sales data I’ve seen is that the Wii has a much high­er attach rate for games and periph­er­als than the PS3, kind of negat­ing Sony’s com­plaint anyway.