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Monday, June 22, 2009

If you make something idiotproof, someone'll build a better idiot!

The title of this post is one of my favorite sayings.  I have no idea who to credit for this bit of wisdom, but I have seen it proved on countless occasions.

What I didn't realize until this past week is that there is a parallel bit of wisdom that goes like this: "The inclusion on otherwise standard technology of features that are subject to foolish abuse will guarantee that otherwise responsible individuals will aspire to ever higher levels of foolishness." 

You can credit me for that last one.

Here's the deal.  My company just upgraded all of our mobile phones last week, and aside from some basic gripes I have about screen visibility (non-existent out of doors) and battery life (better invest in one of those solar chargers), the phone has some pretty cool and useful features.

However, in keeping with the axiom I coined (above), rather than avail myself of all the time-saving and work-related functions, I have concentrated most of my efforts on the feature which allows you to assign a unique ring-tone to as many people in your contacts list as you want.

Yeah, so you are probably already imagining the potential for foolishness here without my having to spell it out... but I'll give you a glimpse anyway.  Don't thank me... I'm a giver.

For my lovely wife I selected the theme song to the Mary Tyler Moore show ("Who can turn the world on with a smile?")

I haven't quite made up my mind about a ring-tone for when my daughter calls from her cell, but so far 'J'y Suis Jamais Alle' from the soundtrack of 'Amelie' is what plays when she calls.

My older son was easy.  When he calls from his cell phone, I hear the theme song to 'The Little Rascals' (Our Gang).

Calls from our home phone cause Hila Harari's 'Ze Haya Beiti' (Translation: this was our house...) to blast from the phone's speakers.

The default reningtone for anyone that didn't get a special tone assigned (yet!) is John Lennon leading the Beatles through a screamed chorus of 'Twist and Shout'... although I'm thinking switching to the theme song to the Bob Newhart Show since that actually starts with the sound of a phone ringing.

I have to say, although it wouldn't be a career enhancing move if it were ever to be overheard (and understood), I am sorely tempted to use Johnny Paycheck's anthem Take this job and shove it" for one of the more odious people in my otherwise delightful workplace.  But that one will probably remain a fantasy.

What makes me fairly certain that this pretty much proves my axiom is that I have probably invested more time in converting and installing these ring-tones on my new phone than I expended in building the pergola behind our house.  All for the convenience of being able to tell who's calling without having to take the damned phone out of my pocket.

Utter foolishness!

Note:  For those interested in converting music they already own into free ring-tones, go to www.zedge.net and use their free tool to create and save ring-tones.  I mean, why should I be the only one avoiding housework and personal hygiene?  :-) 

Posted by David Bogner on June 22, 2009 | Permalink


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At one time, whenever my mother-in-law would call I'd hear Jerry Stiller shouting "Serenity Now!"


After the phone rang during a dvar torah at a bar mitzvah dinner, my wife made me change it.

Posted by: Andy Levy-Stevenson | Jun 22, 2009 1:27:33 PM

i myself never have to worry about my ringtones, as my ten year old is prone to recording herself and turning that into a ringtone - hence, my pocket often sounds like the High School Musical amateur hour, or screams out "eema - answer the phone right now!".

enjoy the new toy!

Posted by: debbie | Jun 22, 2009 2:37:44 PM

According to WikiQuote, this quote should be attributed to someone named:
A. Nonimouse.

Posted by: QuietusLeo | Jun 22, 2009 3:30:58 PM

A friend of mine has two daughters (ages 3 and 8) and two cell phones, a personal phone and one issued by his employer. The ringtone on one phone consists of hysterical laughter caused by the 3 y/o being tickled. It sounds like she was about to wet her pants. The older girl was jealous because she didn't have a ringtone, so she got to record one for the other phone. That one consists of her screaming DAAAAADDDDY, PICK UP THE PHONE!!! at the top of her lungs.

Both are rather noticeable in a crowded place like a restaurant.

Posted by: Karl Newman | Jun 22, 2009 3:52:06 PM

Cute Dave.

I like having ring tones for people, as well, but too lazy to use songs that i'd have to download.

And only have to program 3...

Posted by: val | Jun 22, 2009 5:58:59 PM

At one time, whenever my mother-in-law would call

Caller ID has spared my home from the destructive forces of my MIL. Why do I get the feeling that someone, my wife, is looming behind me with a cast iron skillet. I think that I better delete this before she sees it............ack, thwap, thunk...Pow

Got to include the sound effects like Batman with Adam West....

Posted by: Jack | Jun 22, 2009 6:37:05 PM

For me puns are de rigeur, so I have programmed:

Default ringtone: the "Ring" motif from Wagner's "Das Rheingold".
My wife: Verdi's "La Donna é mobile" (freely translating the title as "my wife's mobile").
My son: "Here Comes the Sun" by George Harrison.

Posted by: Simon | Jun 22, 2009 7:20:36 PM

I find that if I assign a myriad of ring tones to my contacts there will be times when I don't recognise my own phone ringing. I will be sitting there and the phone would burst into life and I'll ignore it waiting for some schmuk to answer their phone - only realise that I'm that schmuk who's let their phone ring and ring.

I now have it on exclusively on vibrate in my pocket - win win for all concerned.

Posted by: Skaj | Jun 22, 2009 8:04:39 PM

I won't notice it's my phone ringing unless I have some really unusual ringtone, therefore I have the only phone that still just rings.

Posted by: Max Power | Jun 23, 2009 12:42:25 AM

For a while I had the "Black Riders" theme from Lord of the Rings as a ring tone when a co-worker called, but that always set me on edge a bit too much. The "Hobbit" theme was great for a call from home, though.

Posted by: Jonathan | Jun 23, 2009 12:54:59 AM

I hate when my co-workers leave their cell phones on their desks with all those noisy ringtones that makes the office look like an 80's disco (just missing those disco lights). That and the fact that at the beginning when the phone was ringing, I would not realize that it was MY phone ringing and not the guy's next to me, made me use the vibrate mode all the time. But maybe I will try this place to download some unusual ring tones that will help me realize that is my phone ringing and not someone else's.

Posted by: David S | Jun 23, 2009 6:21:01 AM

Pergola. Isn't that a device with which to make coffee?

Posted by: Elisson | Jun 23, 2009 7:43:25 AM

I think Pergola is a peppery vegetable cooked with pasta.

Posted by: Karl Newman | Jun 23, 2009 1:29:45 PM

you know what I miss? on my first ever cell phone? You could *WRITE YOUR OWN RING TONE.* I spent awhile programming in the final chorus to my most-complicated composition, "That's Sonata Nice." It was a jaunty melody in 7-6-7-8 : 28/4 time.


Posted by: Wry Mouth | Jun 26, 2009 3:55:43 AM

What is it about my boss' "Theme from Rocky" ringtone that makes me want to go all "Clubber Lang" on his ass?

Posted by: Jack | Aug 7, 2020 12:55:01 AM

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