Custom ring tones from a Mac

One of the greatest reasons for having a bluetooth enabled phone is that you can put your own ring-tones on your phone. My old Sony-Ericsson T616 could play midi files so I was able to trim midi files down to short loops that sounded decent on the phone.

My Motorola RAZR plays midi files, but it can also play mp3s, which opens up a whole new world of potential. Now, instead of settling for whatever crap I could find on the Internet and removing any vocals or bad instruments, I can use bits of real songs from my own collection.

Accomplishing this is not as easy as I thought it would be. Trimming the Mp3’s is simple enough with shareware like Mp3 Trimmer. The first batch I made had been encoded at really high bit rates so 10 second clips were huge, and didn’t play on the phone. So after a few beers Saturday night I sat down, trimmed some tracks, and re-encoded them with iTunes into 56kbps, fixed bit rate, joint stereo files. This worked, and several sound great. Even some of the vocals are great, though I’ve decided not to use the sample from Gimme Some More for decency’s sake.

Any other advice? Yes – For some reason Motorola crippled the Bluetooth functionality on this phone with Windows, so you have to buy additional software to upload files to the phone, or sync your calendar. Uploading via Bluetooth Exchange on the Mac is cake though. So, do yourself a favor…

Also – choice of music is important. And not just because people will judge you by what gets played, or by the fact that you have a song playing when your phone rings. You want to get a small segment that sounds good when it loops, or pick something long enough that you’ll answer it before it loops. Also, space is a premium, so keep things short.

Google Earth fun

There’s quite a bit of activity going related to Google Earth as is evident by the volume of uses cataloged on the Google Earth Blog. Google Earth has the potential to replace other GIS programs for public participation and visualization exercises, as well as serve small niche uses. Obviously, there’s tons of room for fun; like a public data set for the Cheney shooting.

Our own PortlandMaps has made several data layers available in KML format.

In the same spirit, I used an ArcMap plugin to make a PDX Beer layer from the data I collected for my beer bar & brewpub maps.

bathroom etiquette

I’ve been fuming over this for a couple weeks now.

When a man enters a public bathroom, he is presented with 4 traditional ways of urinating. Three of these ways are what I’ll call “socially accepted” and they include using the urinal, lifting the seat on the toilet, and sitting down to use the toilet. The fourth way, pissing in and on the toilet without lifting the seat, is, assuming you’re sober, degenerate.

That’s why I have called for the castration of those individuals who intentionally piss on the toilet seat when there are 3 other methods readily available. This will ensure they prescribe to one of the socially accepted methods. This will also give them some extra time while they’re cleaning the seat to reflect on what a jackass they have been.

One could argue that the toilet seat is dirty, but that is why bathrooms also have sinks and soap. I would hope you’re washing your hands anyway, (though I see plenty of evidence to the contrary) but that’s another discussion.

Selling off public lands?

“The Bush administration Friday laid out plans to sell off more than $1 billion in public land during the next decade..”

Um… you’re selling our land? That seems short sighted. That land has a lot of value, both intrinsic and functional. I wonder what other’s are saying about it?

Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer … compared it to a rancher who keeps selling land to buy new pickups and tractors, a man who lives well until he eventually finds himself broke.

“It’s a damn poor way to run a ranch and it’s a way worse way to run a government..

one earbud

I’m finding that many songs I like for the use of stereo imaging are really bad when you can only listen through one ear bud. Stupid stereo thief. Wait, scratch that… car vandal. It’s especially predominant in music from the 1970s. I guess people liked their stereophonics a lot better then.