It turns out the new cellphone that I got for Ottawa (Nokia 6275i) is technically capable of using any mp3 as a ringtone. Irksomely, Bell Canada has intentionally disabled that and other features, so as to force users to pay $3.50 or $4.00 a pop for using them. It’s possible to revert the phone to factory settings, but doing so requires buying a USB cable, downloading the software Nokia uses to program phones, and then updating your firmware in a way that will occasionally leave the phone as a worthless lump of plastic. Because it is a CDMA phone, rather than a GSM one, you cannot just download an unlock code and enter it manually. Another example of pointless crippling is how the phone will only store about 60 text messages, even when it has 15 megs of free space on it.
It’s just another example of how rarely digital rights management and related technologies actually benefit consumers. It also affirms the motto of Make Magazine: “If you can’t open it, you don’t own it.”
[Update: 25 November 2007] Yesterday night, I finally unlocked my phone using Diego. Now, it can use any MP3 as a ringtone and can run any Java application.