Steven's Notebook

Look Ma - No Hands!

Creating Custom Ringtones

Over a cup of coffee at Starbucks this morning Eric asked me about the custom ringtones on my mobile phone, specifically how I get exactly what I want and how I transfer it to the phone. I’ve looked through the software shelves at Fry’s, BestBuy, CompUSA and other places, and there are lot of packages you can buy to create and transfer ringtones. But hey, I’m a geek so I take the more adventurous – and less expensive – route.

I use iTunes to “rip” my music to .mp3 format from CDs, of course Windows Media Player and plenty of other applications will do likewise. There are plenty of choices for you there.

I then use Audacity to edit the songs or sounds to a reasonable length (10-15 seconds is more than enough). The trick there is that you can’t “open” an .mp3 file, you go to the Project menu and choose Import Audio. Likewise, when you’re done you use Export MP3 from the File menu, rather than Save. (Open and Save are for Projects, which can include multiple sound tracks. This is a very powerful program, nicely impressive for free, open source software.)

To get the final sound file to my phone, SmashWorld’s Mobile17 service works well for me. They claim to work with “94% of popular, every-day mobile phones,” and fortunately mine is one.

Sign up, choose your phone and service, and it’ll show which sort of files you can transfer – each phone/service combination can be different.

Mobile17 has two options when it actually comes to transferring your files, free and express. If you don’t mind waiting, you can choose the free option and you’ll get put in a queue with everyone else. If you’d like to make a donation, you can get moved toward the front of the pack. Either way seems to work just fine; I’ve used the Free option and gotten my ringtone transferred in as litte as 5 minutes or as long as an hour. If you don’t mind waiting, no problem. If you do, you have the option of paying. That’s pretty reasonable.

Rip, Edit, Transfer. It’s easy and can be completely free.

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