Until the end of the year Skype is offering free long distance to the U.S. and Canada. It took me a minute to figure out, so here’s what I learned. Skype is FREE, but make sure you’re running OS 10.3.9 on a Mac, a have a 400 Mhz PC, or a Linux box with either: SuSE 9, Fedora Core, Mandriva, Debian.

First, you need either a separate mic and set of headphones or a simple headset with both a mic and earphone. To test your set-up, call “Echo123”, it will allow you to do a little temporary recording. If it works right, you hear your voice.

Now, to call a regular number, put a “+” sign before the number in the Skype dialing number. Then just click the green telephone handset icon.

Now, if you need to type in a code of some sort you’ll need to click on the “dial” button and use your mouse to click on the numbers.

Don’t forget about the conference call Monday, July 3, 2006 (11pm eastern/ 8 pacific). Use this trick to call that number (1-620-782-8800) and enter the code (339-8662). It’s what I’m planning on doing.