Sunday, January 11, 2015

Free unlimited worldwide calls forever with Skype

Skype currently has a promotion: every Skype user gets a free month when they subscribe to Unlimited World Calling. With this subscription, you get unlimited free calls to landlines in 63 countries* and mobile numbers in 8 countries**. Every user can use this offer once.

If you play it smart, you can use this promotion to get free calls forever (until they cancel the promotion at least).

Here's what you should do:

1) Make a Skype account (or use your current one) and grab your free month here. You will need to enter your payment details but don't worry; they won't charge you anything until the beginning of the next month.

2) Cancel your subscription as soon as possible. If you forget to cancel it, they will automatically charge you for your next (paid) month of subscription after 27 days.

3) Make a new Skype account, name it something like username1 so it's easy to remember. Currently they don't seem to have a rule to prevent new accounts from using this promotion, but I think it's safer to make the new account on beforehand.

4) Make calls, enjoy life. Make sure to put a note in your calendar so you don't forget when your free month is over.

5) When your free month is over, get the promotion with your new Skype account. Repeat this process as many times as you want.

If you're using your Skype account for anything other than calling phone numbers, this approach might not look very attractive to you because you will have to use a different Skype account for calling phone numbers. Fear not, there is a solution to this. You can run two instances of Skype on your computer. For this, you should make two shortcuts on your desktop.

I'm sure that you know how to make a shortcut for Skype on your desktop. For the second instance of Skype, just make a second shortcut and enter /secondary at the end of the target address. It will look like this:
32 bit:
"C:\Program Files\Skype\Phone\Skype.exe" /secondary
64 bit:
"C:\Program Files (x86)\Skype\Phone\Skype.exe" /secondary
Now you can have two instances of Skype running: use one for calling phone numbers and one for your normal Skype stuff. This approach is working perfectly for me so far. Let me know if you experience any problems with this.

*Countries with free landline calls: Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guadeloupe, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia (Jakarta), Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, United Kingdom, Venezuela. 

**Countries with free mobile calls: Canada, China, Guam, Hong Kong SAR, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Thailand, United States.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

My Red Cherry Shrimps

It's about time that I post another aquarium update.

Well, I have red cherry shrimps now. I really struggled to find male shrimps. When I went to the aquarium store, I asked for a mix of males and females. The seller didn't seem to know the difference between males and females. So I made sure that I got a few that had a male-like appearance and waited. After a few months, all 10 of my shrimps had the "saddle". This is the white line of unfertilized eggs that appears on the neck of female shrimps. So yeah...all my shrimps were female. Then I went to another shop, got 4 more shrimps. Again, all female. I figured that stores don't sell males here, either because they are less colorful or because they don't want people to breed shrimps themselves.

Please enjoy some pictures of my virgin female shrimps:

And here, a picture of the ugliest female shrimp in the world, it's basically a man with eggs:

My females were in a desperate need for some male companions. My solution was buying some more shrimps, this time from a private seller. If you buy from a private seller, you can be sure that they have both males and females because they are breeding these shrimps themselves at home. A friendly woman came to my house to drop off these:

Baby males! Less than 2 weeks later, my females were pregnant with eggs, also called "berried" because the eggs look like berries. Interestingly, the eggs have different colors depending on the female. I had some with light eggs, some with dark eggs:

After that, my shrimps have been living happily ever after. They like eating shrimp pellets, but also fish flakes and vegetables like broccoli:

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Adding custom dictionaries to Kobo devices

I recently bought a Kobo Glo. Great little e-reader, that one.

I spent a while struggling to figure out how to install a Turkish-English dictionary on it, because it's not supported by default. I decided to write a little tutorial about installing other dictionaries on a Kobo device, in case I or anyone else ever need it to do this again.

Check whether the dictionary you want is already available

1. Check here whether Kobo already made the dictionary you want. If yes, download the file, connect your Kobo device to your computer and place it in the ".kobo\dict" folder and you are done. If not, go to step 2.

2. Check here whether someone else already made a custom dictionary for the language pair you want. If so, you can skip to step 13 for instructions on how to put the file on your Kobo device.

Make a custom dictionary

3. Download the dictionary you want in StarDict format. This website has a lot of dictionaries.

4. Unzip it the .tar dictionary file. You will get a .dz, .idx and .ifo file. Rename the .dz file to .gz. Extract the .gz file so you end up with a .dict file. Give the .dict, .ifo and .idx representative names, eg. tur_en.dict, tur_en.idx, and tur_en.ifo.

5. Go here and download the latest version of Penelope.

6. Unzip the Penelope script and place it in the folder of your choice, for example "c:\Penelope". Put the dictionary files in the same folder as the Penelope files.

7. Install Python 3.3.4.

8. Download the file here or here. It containes two Windows executables It was built from open source Marisa code by the user EbokJunkie on Penelope script invokes these executables. You can put them anywhere; I put them to "C:\tmp".

9. Right click the file and choose Edit with IDLE. Find the variables MARISA_BUILD_PATH and MARISA_REVERSE_LOOKUP_PATH and set their location to "c:/tmp/marisa-build.exe" and to "c:/tmp/marisa-reverse-lookup.exe" respectively, or wherever you saved the marisa files. Save

10. Open the command prompt and make the Penelope folder your current folder by typing the command "cd c:\Penelope".

11. Type the following command to start the conversion: " -p tur_eng -f tur -t eng --output-kobo". Replace the variable "tur" with the language you want to translate from and "eng" with your target language.

12. You will end up with a Kobo dictionary file now, for example

Transfer the dictionary file to your Kobo device

13. Connect your Kobo device to your computer and go to the ".kobo\dict" folder on the reader.

14. In order to get your Kobo device to recognize the dictionary files, you have to use it to replace an existing original dictionary. To do this, you have to use the file name of an existing original dictionary. For example, I don't use the Spanish dictionary, so I renamed the file "" on my Kobo device to "", so I will still have a backup in case I need it later. Then I renamed my Turkish-English dictionary to "".

15. Unplug your Kobo device, tap a word in a book and use the "Spanish" dictionary to look up words in your dictionary.