Ringtones via SMS using Perl

I managed to find some time to study the problem of sending ringtone data to my cell phone. As I mentioned in a previous news item, I’m sick of only being able to download silly melodies as ring tones and want to be able to create some ringtone datasets that are more interesting ringing sounds. The first step towards that is to figure out how the whole thing works.

I’ve managed to code up a quick and dirty Perl program that creates an RTPL bitstring, converts it to text formatted hex data, and sends it to the phone in SMS format. At present it doesn’t really do anything useful besides providing a working example of the packet format and testing the sonic range of the phone. I’ve hard-coded a ringtone that emits sound over the entire range that the RTPL data can cover.

The next step would be to make some sort of algorithmic sound synthesizer that could generate RTPL data. If anyone wants to play with what I’ve got so far, I’ve put it up on our free software page. It should work with any Nokia phone that accepts ringtone data and perhaps other types of phones as well.

New Nokia 8260 Phone

Well, I’ve finally replaced my old Nokia 6160 cell phone. The new phone is a Nokia 8260 in Electric Blue. It’s much smaller and lighter but has all the same features. I would have liked something that combined cell phone and PDA functionality but there’s not much available in the US like that yet. Maybe something along the lines of the Nokia 9000 will be available here within another year or so.

Like most phones, my new one supports programmable ringtones. And, unfortunately, also like most other phones, most of the available ringtones are not ringtones at all – they’re very lame musical melodies. My opinion is that anyone with a phone that plays a melody instead of ringing should be fined and have their phone confiscated. It’s highly annoying. It’s also annoying that while my phone documentation claims that there are 40 different ringtones available – there are in fact only about 5 ringtones and 35 obnoxious ringmelodies.

It is possible to download new ringtone data through SMS and there are plenty of web sites out there that claim to offer replacement ringtones (none of them actually do, of course, they only offer ringmelodies). The ringtone data is sent using the RTTTL protocol, so my new personal quest is to implement some actual ringtones and download them to the phone. I’ll probably put them up on a web page somewhere on the off chance that there are others out there who think it would be cool to have alternative ringtones for their phones. Maybe the Star Trek communicator boatswain wistle or the sound of the hotline on Our Man Flint. Maybe even the bonus life sound effect from the Robotron 2084 Arcade game. Now those are the sorts of things I would consider alternative ringtones. Hmmm… I wonder if a WAV to RTTTL converter is possible? I’m sure it couldn’t be done with enough resolution to reproduce complex sounds but simple sound effects might be possible.