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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A Ringtone YOU Can't Hear!

It started as the technology of a Welsh security company - an annoying tone that teenagers and dogs could hear, but adults could not. Stores would play the tone, with a product called "Mosquito", and keep loitering teens (and dogs) away from stores leaving adults to shop in peace and quiet. It's geared on the fact that after the age of 20 or so, a human starts developing hearing loss. So there are tones that teens can hear and adults simply cannot, for the most part. And those spunky teenagers took that technology and turned it into a weapon against the very people it was designed to protect:

They turned it into a ringtone for cellphones.

Why, you may ask, would teenagers WILLINGLY listen to such an annoying tone that used to drive them away from Welsh-secured storefronts? Because these teenagers are American. And devious. They've taken a ringtone that only other teenagers can hear, preventing adults from being able to pick up on phone conversations and text-messages being passed around the room. That's right...

...they're using this ringtone in class.

While most teenagers would simply leave a phone on vibrate to silently and deviously accept phonecalls and text-message alerts, this new technology is making them rambunctiously flaunting their gift. Why bother with silence, when their ringtone is just as inaudible to a teacher's ears? Teachers who are aware of this technological breakthrough are trying desperately to plot against the students in various ways.

One teacher said, "About every five minutes I’m going to say…’Hey, I heard that. Turn that phone off,' even if it’s playing or not." Which will be effective maybe once, if he's lucky. Fact is, it just gives students even more opportunity to laugh at their teacher - even more so than by simply answering a phone call behind the teacher's back in the first place.

My idea is to plant a student mole in the classroom. You know, someone who's already designated as a "teacher's pet" - and have that student somehow alert the professor of the ringtone's presence. Maybe with a cough or page-turn of a textbook...? Teachers accusing the ringtone of being present would be a lot more intimidating if they actually had an idea of when it really was present.

What else can you do to combat the scourge, if you're a teacher? Well for starters, see for yourself if you can even hear the tone. The website at the bottom of this article linking to the news-site has a downloadable sound clip of the tone, so you can test it for yourself. Other than that, I'm fresh out of ideas. And for good reason.

I don't have to care, since I'm certainly not in/teaching high school.

And I can still hear the tone.

Good luck to the rest of you.


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