Posts Tagged ‘cell phones’

When I get obsessed…

Over the weekend, my wife and got new, matching cell phones. As with any such transition, some things were gained (more functionality and smaller, lighter-weight phones) and some things were lost — namely, my wife’s favorite ringtone, a humorous chimpanzee chatter that she used as a custom tone for her best friend.

While browsing the ringtones available for purchase, I, too, found one that I liked but which was not available as a ringtone, only as a “ringback,” a feature of Verizon Wireless that lets you decide to make other Verizon users hear something other than the standard ringing sound when they call you.

I think the ringback is a dumb idea, and I have no intention of subscribing to it. But I really wanted one of the exclusive ringback sounds as a ringtone for when my editor calls. And my wife was quite glum over losing her monkey ringtone.

Then my obsessive-compulsive nature rode to the rescue.

I thumbed through the user’s manual for the new phone and discovered that when people send you sounds as attachments to text messages, you can save those sounds as ringtones. But only some sound formats were supported, none of them native to the Macintosh.

Converting files is not that hard, but first I had to figure out how to record the sounds without buying them.

Enter WireTap Studio, a shareware app that lets you capture any sound that passes through your Mac’s sound card. I downloaded it, fiddled with it until I got the hang of it, and recorded the sounds I wanted — one from the Verizon Wireless site, one from the Sprint site (my wife’s former wireless provider).

Next, I used WireTap to edit the sounds down to the right length for use on Verizon Wireless phones (less than thirty seconds). Then I exported the files to my desktop as m4a (MPEG-4 Audio) files.

Then I paid a visit to and effortlessly converted the m4a files into WAVE audio files (one of Verizon’s few supported formats), adjusted each file’s frequency and bit rate, and downloaded the finished conversion files.

After verifying that the files were each less than 3MB in size, I uploaded them to the Verizon Wireless site’s message center. One I sent in a message to myself, the other I sent to my wife with instructions.

Worked like a charm. The files sound great on our phones, and they saved as a ringtones with no hassle at all. And all it cost us was 25 cents per message.

Oh, and a day of my time.

Like I said…I get obsessive.