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ringtones

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As mobile phones have gained popularity, the interest in personalizing everything about one's phone has also increased. Aside from taking photos and caller IDs, users can add different sounds that play when a call or text message arrives, often specific to the person calling. These are known as ringtones.

If magazine and late-night television ads are to be believed, there's an insatiable thirst for new and varied ringtones out there. Everything from quirky noises to full songs can be made into ringtones. Phones can sometimes be made to accept any MP3 file as a ringtone.

Ringtones are often downloaded to the phone directly through the Internet. However, for all the legitimate sites offering ringtones, there are a number of malicious ones as well, offering files that will break your phone rather than offer up that slice of originality you were hoping for.

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About Mark Buckingham

Ringtones

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In this week’s issue of the New Yorker, Sasha Frere-Jones examines the world of ringtones, and notes that the advent of master tones might mean impending nostalgia for polyphonic ringtones.

Transitional stages of technology often have their own imperfect charms, memorable in ways that no one could have predicted. Polyphonic-ringtone nostalgia is approximately six months away.

It’s funny how an increased speed of obsolescence means an increasing speed of nostalgia. The next stage will be for such tones to become “retro”…

The master tones, however, do mean many genres sound decent on the phone, whereas now, as Rob Walker pointed out a while back, only hip-hop seems to translate well onto the phone. Right now, I use the version of Satie‘s “Gymnopedie No. 1″ that came with my Nokia as my ringtone – I needed something that doesn’t sound like an urgent call to attention, something that taps my shoulder for attention rather than screams its way into my consciousness – and it would be nice to have a fuller-sounding version of the piece.

This piece first appeared in dsng.net – the daryl sng blog

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