The most natural ringtone of all

A couple years ago I heard about conceptual art on public radio. It’s intriguing and begs the question what is art. The example provided was something like this: the artist proscribes via written instructions what the owner should do to realize the physical manifestation of the artwork, such as
– Take a 24″ x 36″ bank canvas
– draw an X near the upper right corner
– draw a horizontal line to the left of the X until the border

That’s it! A proscription like this by a famous artist is actually has value, just like physical art.

OK, so how about conceptual technology?

The details
I wanted a ring tone that was as unobtrusive as possible, and yet still audible because the vibration-only setting on a Samsung just doesn’t deliver enough vibrating energy as compared to my old Blackberry Bold. So in vibrate-only I missed too many calls. And yet i find all ring tones to be offensive in some sense – disruptive to their surrounding environment.

So I finally hit on it. Here is the conceptual technology:

– record the sound of yourself exhaling* for about 3 seconds of sound.
– turn it into a mp3 file
– download it to your phone’s ringtones
– choose it as your ringtone

* Avoid recoding the full breathing cycle of inhaling and exhaling because that’s just going to sound like panting, and that gets weird! And when I say “exhale” I mean more “sigh,” that will be more effective.

That’s it! Is it art or technology?

I’m not 100% sure it will work out long term. For instance, every time I hear someone in the office sigh loudly I check my phone! But I’ve stuck with it so far so it can’t be all bad. Funny thing is, no matter how often I’ve heard it, I’m always caught by surprise when my phone rings with that ringtone! It’s always “What the heck?” before I come to my senses.

For those who want to skip the first step I’ve made my exhaling sounds available for download.

Exhale ringtone.

You can right-click on it and do a Save link as… to save it somewhere.

I purposely made it soft as I wanted to avoid drawing too much attention.

Conceptual technology is presented for what might be the most natural ringtone of all – the sound of yourself breathing. When it comes time to turn off your cellphone it may not be necessary. Everyone is allowed to let out a sigh now and then, right?

For the curious, I used Audacity to record my exhale sound, which I edited to stretch it to three seconds and made sure it begins with an exhale sound followed by silence. A ringtone seems to be played in a loop by the phone. I found 3 seconds a good length between “rings.”

Some have suggested it sounds mildly obscene or creepy. Oh, well. that wasn’t what I was going for. As I say the jury’s still out…

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