useful geekery

Today, I apply my extreme nerdiness towards an end that is actually useful to normal people.

WHEREAS I am disturbingly white and love Arrested Development and…

WHEREAS I have lately gotten bored of my current mobile’s ringtone and…

WHEREAS the available Arrested Development sound clips lack the specific snippets I seek

RESOLVED I describe how to extract and create the sound clips I want.

This [extremely rough, hand-wavey] guide is linux specific.

First, obtain the source media. Preferably, you would rip your DVD box set onto your computer into .avi format, which is outside of the scope of my 5 minute blog entry, but you can read lifehacker linux dvd ripping tips or maybe just use AcidRip. If you are into theft, then maybe just find a bittorrent of the episode you want. Your choice.

Next, apt-get install mplayer and apt-get install audacity. Extract the audio from the avi file, and edit the resulting .wav as necessary with audacity. The functions you’ll most likely want to use are simply deleting out the unwanted portions of the sample, fading in or out, upping the amplitude, or inserting silence at the end of a sample to make it last a little longer. The last thing is only slightly tricky — just figure out where you want the sample to stop, insert silence at that point, and delete the remainder of the sample.

Now, export your work as a .wav file. This leaves an uncompressed version in case you want to go back and re-edit the sample. You could theoretically save the audacity file, but I tend not to.

Depending on what your phone can handle, you’re either done or you need to re-export the .wav as an mp3, which is also easily done in audacity.

Finally, you need to figure out how to transfer the file to your phone. Luckily for me, my Compaq nc6220 has bluetooth as does my Motorola L2. It took a bit of fiddling, but it turns out enabling bluetooth in Ubuntu is really easy — just go to System -> Preferences -> Bluetooth, and enable the menu icon (if it’s not already turned on). Once you get the bluetooth icon, you can right-click it and “send file” to your phone, which should show up as a discovered device.

Done — after about 20 minutes of fiddling around, I now have ‘annyong’ as my ring tone, and the “Mr. F” jingle for incoming text messages.

By the way, this technique works with any avi source file you might have lying around, so you can have snippets from whatever show or movie you care about.