Software Engineer

technology upgrade – cellphone

· by jsnby · Read in about 4 min · (707 Words)
Misc. Music Rants

My phone has lasted for 3 years. I have no complaints with it. It was just time for an upgrade. The paint was starting to wear a bit thin (from all the hard abuse) and with the law changing in July requiring the use of a headset when talking and driving, I figured now was as good a time as any for a new phone.

I left the house this morning to get a sandwich, a usb hub for Laura, and some stuff from the grocery store. Got the groceries over with. Stopped by Best Buy and found a hub. Walked past their cellphones and stopped. I grabbed each phone that verizon offered and eliminated them one by one until I got to the LG 8700. I thought it was a nice looking phone, and met my three requirements:

  • removeable storage
  • bluetooth capable
  • main screen not on the exterior of the device

So, off I set across the parking lot to hit up Togos for a sandwich. There was a verizon store on the way over, so I stopped in to look at the phones to see if there were any other models. The only one that I liked was again the LG 8700. I left, got my sandwich and started my research. A lot of positives about this phone. A few complaints about battery life.

I decided that was the phone I wanted. Went back to the verizon store and they gave it to me for the same price as it was online. I also got a Jabra BT2010 bluetooth headset.

Got them both home and started charging the headset. The nice thing about buying a phone at the store is they transferred my phonebook for free.

I played with the settings a bit, ate some dinner, then decided it was time to get a microSD card. $15 for 1GB at circuit city. Bought it online, picked it up at thestore. Brought it home. Decided that I wanted to try making my own ring tones instead of buying them for $2.99 each from verizon.

I looked and found a couple good tutorials on how to make your own ringtones. I downloaded a program called Audacity from Sourceforge to edit my mp3’s down to a reasonable length. It’s open-source. It made quick work of a couple mp3’s. I edited them down to about 15 seconds and added a fade-out effect. I exported the projects as mp3’s.

Here’s where the story gets interesting. Verizon doesn’t allow you to use mp3s from the microSD card as ringtones….i tried everything I could. I even tried emailing them to myself and attaching the files as others had success with this method. I did not. The messages kept bouncing off their smtp relay. Originally, they were bouncing altogether, so I signed up for an account at Then they starting bouncing because the body of the message would match something in their bad word filter. This was because the files had to be base64 encoded to be sent as an attachment. I can’t control the what the stuff ends up like once it has been encoded.

After reading a whole lot, it looks like this is the way carriers get people to drop the $2.99/ringtone. They make it moderately difficult to do. I’m not going to let the carriers(specifically Verizon) stop me. A quick search on Amazon turned up a package with a USB data cable, car charger, and AC charger for my phone for $1.97 + $4.95 shipping. The USB data cable alone from Verizon is $19.99. I’ll take my chances with the cheap stuff…

My plan is to use another open-source piece of software called Bitpim to transfer the mp3’s over to my phone. Once there, I should have no trouble using them as ringtones as Bitpim will drop them into the correct location in the file-system. Bitpim works for lots of phones, so I suggest looking at what’s supported for your particular phone. For my phone, in addition to the ringtones, it will let me manage my contact information, wallpaper, calendar, memo, call history, text messages, etc.

I’ll keep you posted on the results as soon as my USB cable shows up. It should be here early next week.