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Old 11-21-2011, 10:21 AM   #46
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Freda version 2.4 Beta Test

The next version of Freda for WP7 is now available for beta testing. There are a bunch of new features in the beta, including:

BOOK SOURCES SHOWN AS LIVE 'HUB' TILES
The 'sources' page now shows the list of sources using a scrollable
table of live tiles (with the latest book and the bookshelf appearing as
the first two tiles). Flick this to the left to see the bookshelf, and
flick left again to get to the book source you most recently looked at.
If you want to go back to the old 'expandable list' style of book source
display, use the 'advanced settings' tab, and adjust the setting 'use
hub tiles for sources list'.

HIGH PERFORMANCE GRAPHICS FOR BOOK DISPLAY
Freda now uses 'XNA' style graphics for displaying book text, so the
display is much faster (flick the the book text to the side, and you
will see the pages flicker past rapidly). The display of text is
marginally less clear, and could go wrong for some special characters;
if you're having problems with it, you can switch back to the old style
of page rendering by adjusting the 'use XNA graphics' setting.

CUSTOMISABLE PAGING BEHAVIOUR FOR DROPBOX AND OPDS BOOK SOURCES
When a book source contains many entries, Freda will split the list of
entries over multiple pages, with a 'next' button at the bottom of each
page. The previous version of Freda always put 20 items on each page,
which was sometimes cumbersome. This version puts 100 items on each
page, and the '100' value is customisable using the 'folder items per
page' setting.

BOOKS CAN BE PINNED TO THE START SCREEN
To pin a book to the Windows Phone start screen, long-tap on the book's
entry in the bookshelf and select 'pin to start'.

OTHER FIXES
If you've just followed a link in a book, the 'back' button will take
you back where you came from. The bookmarks list has been improved.
GIF images in a book are now displayed correctly. Books with faulty
'container.xml' files will now be opened. Deleting a book from the bookshelf now deletes it completely (so you can download it again). Various layout issues have been fixed.

If you're interested in helping beta test the app, please email me at beta@turnipsoft.co.uk. I'll need you to send me the email address that is associated with the Live ID that you used when you registered your phone, so I can add you to Microsoft's list of 'authorised beta testers' for Freda.

Thanks,

Jim
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Old 12-17-2011, 03:26 PM   #47
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Freda eReader update v2.4

An update for Windows Phone 7 Freda has just been released. New in this update (v 2.4):
  • Book sources are shown as hub tiles
  • Book display uses high performance XNA graphics
  • Books can be pinned to the start screen
  • Paging behaviour for book sources is customisable
  • Numerous additional features and fixes for formatting, performance and stability issues.

Freda features:
  • Reads ePub (DRM-free), HTML and TXT format books
  • Customisable controls, fonts and colours
  • Bookmarks and annotations
  • Integrates with on-line catalogs - Feedbooks, Smashwords, Gutenberg ...
  • Connects to your DropBox account for downloading book files
  • Links to your Calibre book library
  • Can download books from any website (including the SkyDrive web interface) using an in-application browser
  • Share comments, likes and dislikes using twitter, facebook or email

I'd like to offer a big vote of thanks to all the Freda beta-testing team; thanks to your feedback and suggestions, this is the best Freda version yet. There are still some slots available for additional beta-testers, so anyone interested in joining the beta-test team and helping with future updates, please contact beta@turnipsoft.co.uk.

The next update, 2.5, is expected in early 2012, and will include full integration with SkyDrive, and a new 'download manager' system, so you can leave books to download 'in the background' while you do something else.
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Old 12-17-2011, 08:25 PM   #48
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Cool. But this is still just for phones, not WM-based PDAs, yes?
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Old 12-18-2011, 03:18 AM   #49
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Cool. But this is still just for phones, not WM-based PDAs, yes?
Right. The old Freda for WM is still there (http://www.turnipsoft.co.uk/freda/freda6.htm) but it hasn't been getting much development action in the last year or so.
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Old 12-18-2011, 04:10 AM   #50
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I'm still having fast-resume issues with 2.4 (same issues I reported during the beta, issues that didn't exist with the previous release version). If I leave Freda backgrounded for more than an hour or so, even if I run no other app and leave the phone in standby, the next resume will go back to the sources home screen rather than the book I left open.
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Old 12-18-2011, 04:43 AM   #51
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I'm still having fast-resume issues with 2.4 (same issues I reported during the beta, issues that didn't exist with the previous release version). If I leave Freda backgrounded for more than an hour or so, even if I run no other app and leave the phone in standby, the next resume will go back to the sources home screen rather than the book I left open.
I think this is an issue around memory allocation (i.e. it's likely to happen if you're reading a large book). And it may be exacerbated by the existence of the new 'XNA mode' graphics (which does allocate memory for some big 2D texture objects). I will be working on it some more ...
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Old 12-18-2011, 04:52 AM   #52
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I think this is an issue around memory allocation (i.e. it's likely to happen if you're reading a large book). And it may be exacerbated by the existence of the new 'XNA mode' graphics (which does allocate memory for some big 2D texture objects). I will be working on it some more ...
In my case I'm running without XNA. Since it takes a restart to turn that off, perhaps texture allocation could be avoided?

Still, even with the random tombstoning (still not sure why that goes back to the sources page rather than the book page -- pre-Mango went back to the book IIRC, just had to re-calculate page numbers) it's a much quicker resume than it has been in the past, and it really just my low-level OCD getting in the way (ZOMG, need the page numbers!! )
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Old 02-10-2012, 04:26 PM   #53
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Freda ereader for Windows Phone – new version 2.5

Turnipsoft are pleased to announce the latest update to their free ebook reader program, Freda. As usual, a big vote of thanks to the Freda beta-testing team for all their help with this release.

Freda is a free program for reading electronic books (ebooks) on Windows Phone. It reads EPUB (DRM-free), HTML and TXT format books. The program offers customisable controls, fonts and colours, plus annotations and bookmarks, and the ability to look up dictionary definitions and translations. Freda understands EPUB formatting information (such as bold/italic text, margins and alignment) and can display images and diagrams in books.

You can download books from on-line catalogs like Feedbooks, Smashwords and the Gutenberg Project. Or if you have an existing book collection, you can use SkyDrive, DropBox or Calibre to share it with your phone. Freda can also download books from any website, using an in-application web-browser (which works even for sites – like O’Reilly – that require cookie-based authentication).

You can download books and keep them on your phone, so you can carry on reading when you don't have network connectivity, and you can pin your favourite books to the Start page.

Version 2.5 adds new features including:
  • Downloading books from SkyDrive
  • The ability to keep as many books as you want on your phone, and browse them by author, title etc.
  • Improved experience for browsing DropBox, and for downloading books
  • Assorted other UI and usability improvements

For more details, head over to the developer’s web-site at http://www.turnipsoft.co.uk/freda , and to download the app, visit the Marketplace.
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Old 02-10-2012, 04:41 PM   #54
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This upgrade is just for phones, yes? Not for Win Mobile on PDAs? (Yep, I'm still using Freda on my Dell PDA, still like it better than mobipocket.)
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Old 02-10-2012, 04:52 PM   #55
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This upgrade is just for phones, yes? Not for Win Mobile on PDAs? (Yep, I'm still using Freda on my Dell PDA, still like it better than mobipocket.)
It is only for Windows Phone 7, I'm afraid. Things have gone pretty quiet with Windows Mobile 6/5/2003 ... .
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Old 02-12-2012, 09:09 AM   #56
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I have over 300 ebooks, and would like to have all of them with me on my phone. I started downloading them from Calibre yesterday, but was quite disappointed when I noticed that the maximum number of books Freda shows is 50. I would like to have a complete list of my books visible, because many of them I recognize easies from the cover, not the author or title...

But I still think Freda is the best ebook reader for Windows Phone.
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Old 02-12-2012, 09:44 AM   #57
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I would like to have a complete list of my books visible, because many of them I recognize easies from the cover, not the author or title...
I quite see where you're coming from - the difficulty is that the vertical list display style (or, to be exact, the version of it that regular app developers are allowed to use) will get very stuttery, and will eventually generate an 'out of memory' crash, if you put too many items on it. 50 is OK, but with more than 100, it gets noticeably stuttery and unresponsive. So I had to set a limit.

One possibility would be to pin all your books to the start screen - that start screen appears to use some special Microsoft-only layout style which works fine even with gazillions of items on it. But I can see why you might not want to dedicate that much 'start screen' space just to ebooks. It will become a more sensible plan when Microsoft rolls out the update to let you create 'subfolders' of items on the start sceen (I know that's in the works, though I don't know when exactly).

Sorry I don't have a better answer for you right now - I will add your requirement to the list of things for future development, and see if I can come up with an approach that works.
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Old 02-13-2012, 04:32 AM   #58
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Thanks for your answer.
Could it be possible to sort books by tags or list the books alphabetically so that user can define which alphabet the list starts from?
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Old 02-13-2012, 03:39 PM   #59
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Thanks for your answer.
Could it be possible to sort books by tags or list the books alphabetically so that user can define which alphabet the list starts from?
Or maybe a horizontal list of buttons at the bottom of the bookshelf for each range of books (one button for 1st-299th, next button for 300-599, then one for 600-899, etc.). I will think about it ...
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Old 02-13-2012, 03:57 PM   #60
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Or maybe a horizontal list of buttons at the bottom of the bookshelf for each range of books (one button for 1st-299th, next button for 300-599, then one for 600-899, etc.). I will think about it ...
Have you considered using the Silverlight Toolkit's LongListSelector with JumpList /Grouping functionality? It's designed specifically for this scenario -- a large list that needs to scroll smoothly, with the ability to jump to various points (think of the native application list when there's more than ~25 apps in the list, where it gives you the "a", "b", etc buttons that bring you to that location). Then based on however you're sorting, the letter buttons could bring you to "Authors whose last names begin with 'c'," or, "Books that start with the letter 's'," or whatever.

Personally, I'm fine with the library size limitation. I only carry 2-3 books at a time on my phone, and when I'm finished with one I delete it and replace it with the next book I'm going to read from my calibre server. But people do seem to like carrying their entire ebook library with them everywhere, so a solution that fits both scenarios would be ideal.
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