Make Free STD and ISD calls with Skype and Free411

Very often you come across tricks to make free calls and honestly, most of them don’t work. I recently came across a trick that really works so it gets to feature on my blog. So here goes the trick to make free STD and ISD calls with Skype.

First of all, the only requirement is that you need to have Skype installed. If you don’t have skype you can download and install it. Skype works on all platforms-Windows, Linux and Mac too.

What we are going to use in this trick is a service called Free411. Its actually a US based service with the toll free number- +1-800-FREE411 which is +1-800-3733411. Skype does not charge for calls made on toll free numbers so calling this number using Skype won’t cost a penny. So here’s what you have to do-

Dial +18003733411 on Skype and click on the call button to connect the call. I would suggest you to save this number in your Skype contacts for faster future access.

Dial +18003733411 on Skype

The call will be answered by an IVRS system. You will have to bear a small ad before you reach the main menu. When prompted to select your option, say “Free Call”. Now if their lines are not busy, you will get a 5 minute free call. You will be asked to dial the phone number to which you wish to make the call. Dial the full number including ISD code. For example prefix Indian mobile numbers with +91, UK numbers with +44 UAE numbers with +971 etc.

This service works well for me and usually I manage to connect to a free call within 5 to 10 minutes of trying to get a free line which is acceptable considering that this service is being used extensively in the US and also by people from all parts of the world. Leave a comment if you face any kind of difficulty or have any doubt about this service.

PS-The service I’ve mentioned here is a free service. Please use it judiciously and don’t use it for making prank calls. Your idea of fun will might make this service unavailable for someone who needs it more than you do.

PPS-For all my friends who for some reason haven’t added me on Skype yet and for those who intend to create a skype ID after reading this post, my ID is namanbagga.

How To: Reinstall GRUB2

When I upgraded my Windows Vista installation to Windows 7, the upgrade removed GRUB from the MBR. This is a very common issue if you are dual booting and you definitely face it some day. Reinstalling the bootloader is very common troubleshooting step if your computer refuses to boot. These days, most of the distros like Ubuntu 9.10 use GRUB 2 and the legacy GRUB bootloader is probably history now. As I’ve mentioned before, reinstalling GRUB is something I can do with my eyes closed because I’ve done it several time before. Reinstalling GRUB 2 is a bit different and is something new, its still simple though.

Since I had an Ubuntu 9.10 alternate CD, I just booted from it and selected the rescue system option. That has an option to reinstall the bootloader. This is one of the different methods to reinstall GRUB 2. Well, I could’ve written my own tutorial on how to reinstall GRUB2 but the Ubuntu GRUB 2 documentation has an excellent, well explained tutorial explaining the different methods to reinstall GRUB 2. So refer to it to solve all GRUB2 related problems.

Upgraded to Windows 7

Although I primarily use Ubuntu on my laptop, sometimes I need to face situations where I need to use Windows just to save myself a bit of trouble. So I dual boot Windows with Ubuntu to get the best out of both worlds(though the former has nothing much to offer). When I bought my laptop, I got Windows Vista Home Premium pre-installed with it. Also, my timing for ordering my laptop was just perfect. Microsoft started offering free Windows 7 upgrades to people who bought their PC/laptop after 26th June. Though I ordered my laptop on 22nd, the order was processed on 26th and I was eligible to get the free Windows 7 upgrade :). The free Windows 7 upgrades were being managed by the OEMs so I registered with Dell for a free Windows 7 upgrade.

When Windows 7 was released, I had my exams and I completely forgot that I needed to order my free upgrade DVD. Midway through my exams, one fine sunny day, I realized that I hadn’t ordered my upgrade DVD and so I ordered it on 10th November. I received the upgrade DVD on 30th November which is pretty decent considering the fact that I didn’t have to pay a penny for it.

Then it was time to start the Windows 7 Upgrade. The upgrade pack had 2 DVDs- Windows 7 Upgrade advisor and the Windows 7 Home Premium DVD. The upgrade advisor asked me to uninstall a few applications and drivers to prepare for the Windows 7 upgrade. The whole process was a bit time consuming but was hassle-free. Then it was time to actually start the upgrade. The process of the upgrade took around 2 hours or maybe even more. Everything seems to be very time consuming if you compare it with the installation time of Ubuntu. The upgrade advisor installed new versions of the software it had removed prior to the upgrade. The upgrade was successful and I didn’t lose a single file(was a bit apprehensive about it initially) and as expected, it removed GRUB from the MBR and installed its own bootloader. Reinstalling GRUB is something that I’ve done so many times that I can do it with my eyes closed now but this time it was a bit different. This time, I was dealing with GRUB 2. I’ll write more about reinstalling GRUB 2 on Ubuntu in a later post some other day.

I can’t say much about Windows 7 simply because I haven’t used it much. But by first looks, its a nice comeback after the disaster called Vista. The shutdown button is the shutdown button again and overall it looks like an usable OS. I like some of the new features introduced and the best part is that its less demanding in terms of system resources. But well, at the end of the day, its Windows and its in my laptop for use in unavoidable circumstances.

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