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Old 10-25-2012, 12:57 PM   #1
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FreeTime is worthless

The new feature FreeTime is supposed to give your kids their own profile on your Fire. Turns out its only good for Amazon content (apps/movies/books), nothing sideloaded. So while in FreeTime, you can't access any movies you sideloaded...you know, those movies you already own that your kids enjoy?
And no photos either...my kids like flipping through photos.
And no music either.

So from me at least, a big thumbs down for FreeTime.
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Old 10-25-2012, 01:13 PM   #2
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Plus once it is installed, you can not remove it from your device. You can remove any kids that are listed once you list them. But the app will live on your kindle, you can not remove it.

I called cs and they said the app was integrated into the new update and can not be removed.
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Old 10-26-2012, 04:49 AM   #3
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The more I read about Amazon's strategy the less I like it. It's a bit...what's the word? Machivellean, that's it.
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Old 10-26-2012, 05:16 AM   #4
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I am not liking this crap, it seems there is no easy way to switch from a child profile back to the parent's access which has access to everything. CS told me to deregister and re-register the device to get back to the parent. This was not very well thought out or implemented, what does Amazon expect each person to have their own device? I wanted to use this to setup a viewing profile for those people who want to see the device but I do not want to see all my content. But if I cannot switch back and forth between profiles it is not worth it.

EDIT: After a chat with CS I was able to figure out how to get out of FT and back to access to all my content. This will work to allow me to show the Fire to those I do not want to see my content but it is very primitive and limited. Not what I was expecting at all.

Last edited by nynaevelan; 10-26-2012 at 05:50 AM.
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Old 10-26-2012, 08:59 AM   #5
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yeah, you have to pull down the notification window, select that you want to exit FreeTime and then enter a password.

I understand their intent, but they made it very limited.
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Old 10-26-2012, 10:01 AM   #6
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More like it works TOO well for you guys.

Although I wonder what happens if a kid just turns off the unit then back on? Does it stay in FreeTime?
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Old 10-26-2012, 10:57 AM   #7
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More like it works TOO well for you guys.

Although I wonder what happens if a kid just turns off the unit then back on? Does it stay in FreeTime?
It just brings them back to their FT account, I tried that.
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Old 10-26-2012, 10:58 AM   #8
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yeah, you have to pull down the notification window, select that you want to exit FreeTime and then enter a password.

I understand their intent, but they made it very limited.
I agree, I hope they plan to add more to it later.
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Old 10-26-2012, 10:59 AM   #9
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yeah, you have to pull down the notification window, select that you want to exit FreeTime and then enter a password.

I understand their intent, but they made it very limited.
Yeah I had to get CS to explain that to me, no where was it in the limited documentation.
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Old 10-26-2012, 12:07 PM   #10
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My experience with Amazon's own apps (such as FreeTime) is that they're not using the best developers and designers. Frankly, this doesn't surprise me. I'm a big Amazon fan but they're not the best software developers around; that's not their business. Amazingly it took the Amazon development "team" nearly a week to fix a bug in the reviews of the Kindle Fire HD that prevented anyone from reviewing the product. And the VERY annoying "zombie carousel item" bug that's been there from day one still isn't fixed on the KFHD.

Add to that the fact that the Amazon business model is simply NOT devoted to providing the best possible support for non-Amazon content and you get what you get.

Having said that, however, I'm more impressed with "FreeTime" than some others here. Although it's being marketed as a form of "parental control" it's actually more flexible than that.

For example, my wife and I can now separate our individual content items, (i.e. books, videos, apps), on the KFHD. I have no interest in limiting the time she spends reading her books or playing her games but I can now find my books without having to sift through her immense library.

Furthermore, the underlying "user profiles" can be twisted into the "Collections" feature that so many people complain about being missing on the Kindle Fires. Set up a "user" called "Mysteries," for example, and provide access to selected books in that category. Admittedly it's a little odd to give "Mysteries" a gender and a birthday but at least I can set up a content category that includes both books and videos (purchased from Amazon.) Of course, a true "tagging" feature for items would be better but as noted above, I've given up on Amazon being a true "software" company. They sell stuff. All else is a secondary priority.
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Old 10-26-2012, 01:31 PM   #11
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My experience with Amazon's own apps (such as FreeTime) is that they're not using the best developers and designers. Frankly, this doesn't surprise me. I'm a big Amazon fan but they're not the best software developers around; that's not their business. Amazingly it took the Amazon development "team" nearly a week to fix a bug in the reviews of the Kindle Fire HD that prevented anyone from reviewing the product. And the VERY annoying "zombie carousel item" bug that's been there from day one still isn't fixed on the KFHD.

Add to that the fact that the Amazon business model is simply NOT devoted to providing the best possible support for non-Amazon content and you get what you get.

Having said that, however, I'm more impressed with "FreeTime" than some others here. Although it's being marketed as a form of "parental control" it's actually more flexible than that.

For example, my wife and I can now separate our individual content items, (i.e. books, videos, apps), on the KFHD. I have no interest in limiting the time she spends reading her books or playing her games but I can now find my books without having to sift through her immense library.

Furthermore, the underlying "user profiles" can be twisted into the "Collections" feature that so many people complain about being missing on the Kindle Fires. Set up a "user" called "Mysteries," for example, and provide access to selected books in that category. Admittedly it's a little odd to give "Mysteries" a gender and a birthday but at least I can set up a content category that includes both books and videos (purchased from Amazon.) Of course, a true "tagging" feature for items would be better but as noted above, I've given up on Amazon being a true "software" company. They sell stuff. All else is a secondary priority.
Those are some good suggestions as far as the "collections" idea, though you are only limited to 6 profiles. However, overall this wouldn't work on two users because the profiles does not allow the use of web, music and audiobooks. For me the only use is when I want to show off my Fire but do not want to show off all my content.

And you are correct, Amazon fails when it comes to third-party content, though they did make it a little easier to side-load personal files.
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Old 10-26-2012, 02:32 PM   #12
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Thanks for mentioning the "six profiles" limit. I hadn't bothered to check that but it doesn't surprise me.

I'm not surprised that there isn't a setting for identifying web content. You can, of course, control web access with parental controls but as far as identifying particular websites, you'll need a separate app like Maxthon's Kid Friendly browser or NetNanny. I don't think either of those is currently available for the KFHD (last time I checked) but each is available for the first gen Kindle Fire and I'm sure they would work if side loaded. Then, assuming you can identify side loaded apps in FreeTime (haven't checked) you could control web access at a website level (if that's what you want to do.)

The absence of music and AudioBooks options does surprise me. My first thought is that Amazon may have a more difficult time identifying non-Amazon content for those categories or they simply didn't complete development in time to release those features this month.

As far as whether it works for "two users," my main concern was separating my wife's and my "libraries." She's been accumulating e-books from Amazon for years and it's a PITA to have to sift through a large library looking for my books. So it works for us. But the limitations are pretty obvious.

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Old 10-26-2012, 05:42 PM   #13
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Amazon didn't advertise music or audiobooks being part of FreeTime, but you're also forgetting about this being for the smaller kids who would obviously have a hard time navigating something like the Audible app (I hope this is leading to developers being able to take advantage of pushing out stuff to the carousel), and who would be using the enhanced KF8 anyway (well at least Amazon is pushing for this idea ).

When you're watching video, and playing a game that already has a lot of sound effects, music obviously isn't needed anyway, it's just a distraction. I think the whole point is to NOT just leave your kids there to look at pictures, but to efficiently gain knowledge/skills in that time limit that's set.

They might not have good developers, but they did really well in making it really, really hard for someone to get out of that mode that shouldn't be!
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Old 10-26-2012, 06:42 PM   #14
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Thanks for mentioning the "six profiles" limit. I hadn't bothered to check that but it doesn't surprise me.

I'm not surprised that there isn't a setting for identifying web content. You can, of course, control web access with parental controls but as far as identifying particular websites, you'll need a separate app like Maxthon's Kid Friendly browser or NetNanny. I don't think either of those is currently available for the KFHD (last time I checked) but each is available for the first gen Kindle Fire and I'm sure they would work if side loaded. Then, assuming you can identify side loaded apps in FreeTime (haven't checked) you could control web access at a website level (if that's what you want to do.)

The absence of music and AudioBooks options does surprise me. My first thought is that Amazon may have a more difficult time identifying non-Amazon content for those categories or they simply didn't complete development in time to release those features this month.

As far as whether it works for "two users," my main concern was separating my wife's and my "libraries." She's been accumulating e-books from Amazon for years and it's a PITA to have to sift through a large library looking for my books. So it works for us. But the limitations are pretty obvious.
No sideloaded content is visible in FT.
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Old 10-26-2012, 06:43 PM   #15
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They might not have good developers, but they did really well in making it really, really hard for someone to get out of that mode that shouldn't be!

Yes they did, which was very frustrating and annoying.
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