Desktop: Setting the tone

'Show me your friends and I'll tell you what kind of person you are," goes the old adage. And as adages go, it was fine for its day.

woman cellphone 88 298 (photo credit: Bloomberg)
woman cellphone 88 298
(photo credit: Bloomberg)
'Show me your friends and I'll tell you what kind of person you are," goes the old adage. And as adages go, it was fine for its day. But there's a new adage in town. If you want to know who you're dealing with in this day and age, just listen - to their ringtone. I bet you think I'm making this up - but I'm not. Check out, which says "97 percent of Brits judge someone's personality based upon their mobile ring tone." And since the sun never sets on the British Empire, we can be sure that such judgmentalism reigns in our fair city as well. Don't you find yourself often staring at someone in a bus or a waiting room (i.e. when you're bored) wondering whether the stereotype you have constructed of the person sitting across the room is accurate? And then - brrrng! All doubt is erased. "It figures that someone who dresses/ looks/ acts like that would have THAT ringtone." Of course, while you're doing them, they're doing you. Now, personally, I don't care what anyone thinks of me or my ringtone - but I do like to keep 'em guessing. So, if my ringtone is too "obvious," I may give away more information about myself than I intend to. If 97% of Brits are right, someone with a ringtone of a top 10 pop song "moves with times but could be a fashion victim who tries too hard to be cool" (see above link). A piece of personality information like that could be just what your rivals in a business meeting need to develop a strategy when dealing with you. The implications are enormous - business negotiations, first dates, mortgage application interviews - letting your cellphone ring with the "wrong" tone could be the first step to bankruptcy, a lifetime of loneliness or even homelessness. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating just a little. But why make it easy for "them" to figure you out? Instead, make your own ringtones out of songs or music no one has ever heard of - thus removing the pop culture baggage that 95% of commonly used tones come with. What's that, you say - you can't figure out your phone's ringtone software? Forget those complicated programs. You can do it all on your PC - for free. First, download Audacity ( the free, indispensable sound editor. Next, listen to some of the songs at, a huge site with thousands of free, legally downloadable MP3s of all genres, nearly all from unsigned bands and musicians (unknown to the general public). Once you've found your songs, check out, which will show you how to use Audacity to make ringtones out of your MP3s. Then upload to your phone (USB, Bluetooth, etc.). Do a few different songs of various genres, and keep changing your phone's ringtone - just to keep things interesting, and keep everyone guessing. Http://