Buzz kill

A new front has opened in the cell phone wars. In a ring tone realm once ruled by Fur Elise and the latest jam from 50 Cent (aka Fiddy), a new craze has taken center stage-"Teen Buzz," the almost-silent cell phone alert. Almost-silent because youngsters can hear it while older folks (who typically lose their ability to discern higher-pitched sounds) cannot. The original sound was developed by a Welsh security company which sold it, not as a ring tone, but as a way for British shopkeepers to keep loitering youths away from their stores. The tone is emitted at high volumes from the storefronts, allowing adults to buy groceries in peace while young hooligans and their dirt bikes are quickly disbursed. (Reports make no mention of Moms and Dads who shop with baby Johnny in tow.) Now the onetime weapon has been usurped by the youthful masses. Kids are using the high pitch to receive text message alerts in class, and their teachers are none-the-wiser. Losing the tech-savvy battle to China and India? Not if these youngsters have anything to say about it.

"Students Find Ring Tone Adults Can't Heart," Associated Press, June 12, 2006

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