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Old 08-17-2023, 02:32 PM   #1
Jim Chapman
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Freda and Privacy: (Update for Freda version 5)

Up until now (August 2023) Freda has been advertising supported. For me, as the app’s author this has become increasingly troublesome:
  • Back in the day, on-line advertising worked like TV and billboard advertising, the business model being ‘I rent out some display space, and in that space the advertiser shows an appealing product description, which may induce the viewer to buy their product’.
  • But that has morphed, over the years, into something much more objectionable – these days it isn’t really ‘advertising’ at all, as I used to understand the word; rather, the app is becoming a conduit for the harvesting and correlating of personal data, for purposes that we mere netizens cannot understand but would probably disapprove of if we did understand them.
  • Assorted initiatives (GDPR for instance) have tried to restrict this data harvesting (or at least make sure it happens only with the subject’s consent) but mainly what they’ve achieved is to make the process more cumbersome, without really making it any less insidious.

So I’ve finally had enough of all that. Freda is no longer advertising supported. The app won’t participate in the harvesting and selling of your personal data to anyone. Instead, Freda is now freemium/nagware: you can use Freda free of charge for as long as you like, and all that will happen is that you see occasional nagging messages, and certain features are restricted. In the current release, the restrictions are:
  • You can’t create more than ten bookmarks or highlights in one day
  • The read-aloud function will stop at the end of each chapter
  • Automatic sync of book position and other details from one device to another will not be available.
To remove these restrictions, you can buy the ‘premium features’ package. At present, Freda is available only from the app stores (Microsoft Store and Google Play, with Apple App Store coming soon). The ‘premium features’ package will be available as an in-app purchase item in these stores.

Within the next few months, I will release a version of the app that’s designed for side-loading – so you can just download an installation file (APK, MSIX or whatever) from Turnipsoft’s website and install it yourself, without using an app store at all. Licencing for such a Freda setup will be managed via a licence server running on the Azure cloud. To buy the ‘premium features’ licence for this kind of installation, you’ll need to sign in to OneDrive using Freda, and make a PayPal payment to Turnipsoft. The OneDrive sign-in is needed to give me a verified email address for the person who bought the licence and – if you should lose or re-install Freda – we can grant you the licence again without you having to pay for it. One payment (whether on an app store, or via PayPal) will allow you to use Freda on multiple devices (the limit will be about ten devices).

From a privacy perspective, your options will be:
  • If you’re OK to share your personal details with an app store operator (Microsoft/Google/Apple): download Freda from the app store, and buy the 'premium features' add on if you wish.
  • If you don’t want to share personal data with an app store operator: download the Freda installer from Turnipsoft’s website.
  • If you’re willing to share personal data (your OneDrive user name / email) with Turnipsoft, then you can acquire a Freda ‘premium features’ licence, and share it between your devices, by paying me for it (either using PayPal, or via an app store).
  • If you don’t want to share personal data at all, you can still use Freda, but you won’t be able to use the premium features.

What about existing users of the old (version 4) Freda?
If you’ve been using the old version of Freda for a while, the upgrade process will notice this fact, and will grant you a licence to use the premium features without making any payment. My reasoning: you’ve already ‘paid’ me by putting up with advertising for some time; it wouldn’t be right to make you pay again. Note that very recent installations of Freda version 4 will not benefit from this concession, unless you’ve actually paid for the ’no advertising’ feature.

What about existing users of the old (version 4) Freda+ app?
For historical reasons, there is a paid-for Freda app (called Freda+) on the Microsoft Store. That’s not going to be upgraded to version 5, so if you’ve already bought it on the Store, you can continue to use it for as long as you want, though it will not receive further updates and will eventually become obsolete. If you’re using Freda+ at the moment you should NOT remove it from your device(s), even if you decide to install the new Freda version 5 app. This is because right now, the Freda app will be unable to recognise the past purchase of Freda+, and it will therefore disable the premium features package. Within a few weeks, a new capability will be added to Freda (and the old Freda+ app) to connect to the Freda licence server, so as to allow existing users of Freda+ to use Freda's premium features without having to pay for them again - but this capability will not work if Freda+ is no longer installed on any of your devices.

Last edited by Jim Chapman; 08-18-2023 at 01:57 AM.
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Old 08-18-2023, 04:58 PM   #2
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Within the next few months, I will release a version of the app that’s designed for side-loading – so you can just download an installation file (APK, MSIX or whatever) from Turnipsoft’s website and install it yourself, without using an app store at all. Licencing for such a Freda setup will be managed via a licence server running on the Azure cloud. To buy the ‘premium features’ licence for this kind of installation, you’ll need to sign in to OneDrive using Freda, and make a PayPal payment to Turnipsoft.
Better than Google's obnoxious vampire/Zombie double act with Paypal or credit card. You can add a payment method in Playstore. You have to go to your account on Google website to remove it and then it's stiil there really, when you go to PayPal or whatever and you have to engage a human to delete it.

Why OneDrive at all? You can setup a PayPal button on a website easily. You'd of course need each download APK to have a unique ID and then the payment acknowledgement a key. Or have the program email and the licence key related to the email address of Paypal etc. I've used several schemes in the past.

Licence servers are horrible, though if it's a one time check, not too bad.
See Plays for Sure and expiring ACSM.

Still, this is good news.

Last edited by Quoth; 08-18-2023 at 05:16 PM.
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Old 08-19-2023, 07:01 AM   #3
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You can setup a PayPal button on a website easily. You'd of course need each download APK to have a unique ID and then the payment acknowledgement a key. Or have the program email and the licence key related to the email address of Paypal etc. I've used several schemes in the past.

Licence servers are horrible, though if it's a one time check, not too bad.
See Plays for Sure and expiring ACSM.
I spent a while puzzling about various ways to accept, collect and validate PayPal payments, in a way that would let me reliably tie the PayPal acquisition to a particular installation and user of the app - and there are certainly various ways to do it. A particular concern was how to deal with payments being reversed some time after they are initially captured. I chose this particular scheme because it is reasonably simple, and it means that most of the work is being done in an Azure Function rather than on the user device. It also supports the logic 'pay once and you can use the app on multiple devices' which I think is a useful feature to offer.

One clarification: I don't actually propose to store user email addresses in the licence server database; rather I will put the email address through a one-way hash function, and store the hashed value. From a privacy perspective I think that's helpful because it means that even if my database got disclosed and I was compelled to share the encryption key (thinking of law enforcement or insolvency proceedings here!) the actual user email addresses aren't there. Of course for my use case (check whether any entry in the database matches a certain user email address) it still works OK using the hashed addresses. If there is the occasional hash collision, its effect would just be that I grant a licence I really shouldn't have granted. I can live with that.

A challenge (maybe you can help here?) is that I couldn't come up with a privacy statement that explains this in words that a regular user would understand. I think if I start talking about 'one-way hashes' I will bewilder rather than enlighten!
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Old 08-19-2023, 06:08 PM   #4
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I agree, it's not trivial. In fact a pain. We had an online shop once and later offered ebooks. Now we don't.
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Old 08-20-2023, 01:05 AM   #5
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What about existing users of the old (version 4) Freda+ app?
For historical reasons, there is a paid-for Freda app (called Freda+) on the Microsoft Store. That’s not going to be upgraded to version 5, so if you’ve already bought it on the Store, you can continue to use it for as long as you want, though it will not receive further updates and will eventually become obsolete. If you’re using Freda+ at the moment you should NOT remove it from your device(s), even if you decide to install the new Freda version 5 app. This is because right now, the Freda app will be unable to recognise the past purchase of Freda+, and it will therefore disable the premium features package. Within a few weeks, a new capability will be added to Freda (and the old Freda+ app) to connect to the Freda licence server, so as to allow existing users of Freda+ to use Freda's premium features without having to pay for them again - but this capability will not work if Freda+ is no longer installed on any of your devices.

Thanks for this! I bought it quite a long time ago now, and was about to ask, until I got to the very bottom of your post. I guess that means there weren't many of us.
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Old 08-20-2023, 07:46 AM   #6
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What happens if you get the app licensed and then later you have no internet or the licence server is gone?

Or you need to install the app on a replacement tablet / phone. I've one paid app and it somehow is the paid version if I reinstall on a new phone from the same account on the Google Playstore, but the demo version if installed using a different Google account.

However I'm not ever again giving Google a payment method, so no more Playstore paid apps or Google Playbooks that aren't free (In contrast you need a working payment method on Amazon to download a free ebook, gift balance used to work).

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Old 08-20-2023, 11:09 AM   #7
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Thanks for this! I bought it quite a long time ago now, and was about to ask, until I got to the very bottom of your post. I guess that means there weren't many of us.
I also have this version and am eagerly waiting for the update.
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Old 08-21-2023, 05:44 AM   #8
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What happens if you get the app licensed and then later you have no internet or the licence server is gone?
In this case, you get to keep the licence, provided that it wasn't too recent a purchase. The logic in the application is that, if you buy the licence on a particular device, then for the next few weeks the app will make periodic checks with the licence server to confirm that the payment hasn't been reversed or refunded. After those few weeks it will conclude that the licence on that device is valid and will always be valid - so it will stop checking with the licence server, and will store a permanent licence on the device.

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Or you need to install the app on a replacement tablet / phone. I've one paid app and it somehow is the paid version if I reinstall on a new phone from the same account on the Google Playstore, but the demo version if installed using a different Google account.
The licence server logic allows you to share a licence across up to ten active devices ('active' means 'used in the past month or so'). So when you install Freda on the new device and give it permission to talk to the licence server, it will see that you've already bought Freda on another device, and will enable Freda premium features on the new device. That should cover most cases of 'switching to a new device'. I'm not proposing to add a flow for actually switching the 'purchased' record from one device to another - because it would be too complicated to use (there'd be user actions required on both the old device and the new device, and much scope for it all to go wrong).

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Old 08-21-2023, 08:27 AM   #9
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Certainly better than now dead "Plays for Sure" (or most stupid MS Licencing now) or Adobe.

You've put a lot of thought into it.
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Old 09-14-2023, 10:44 AM   #10
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I had to reinstall the OS on my Surface Pro. Of course, it kept all of my personal files, but the Freda+ app was a casualty. I guess I will go ahead and buy the premium 5 version. I don't mind paying for it again. Nice to see an app developer with morals.
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Old 10-12-2023, 09:26 PM   #11
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Within a few weeks, a new capability will be added to Freda (and the old Freda+ app) to connect to the Freda licence server, so as to allow existing users of Freda+ to use Freda's premium features without having to pay for them again - but this capability will not work if Freda+ is no longer installed on any of your devices.
Is this available now? I'm having a hard time determining which Microsoft Store app is the current version 5.x and if it's got this upgrade from old paid version capability or not.

TIA!
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Old 10-13-2023, 06:17 AM   #12
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Is this available now? I'm having a hard time determining which Microsoft Store app is the current version 5.x and if it's got this upgrade from old paid version capability or not.

TIA!
It's not available yet. The updated version of Freda will be version 5.1 (you can see the version number in the 'About' or 'Support' items from the main Freda menu. When the new version is released, it will display a release note describing the new functionality.

I hope it will be there in the next week.
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Old 10-13-2023, 03:49 PM   #13
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It's not available yet. The updated version of Freda will be version 5.1 (you can see the version number in the 'About' or 'Support' items from the main Freda menu. When the new version is released, it will display a release note describing the new functionality.
I hope it will be there in the next week.
No worries, you're going way above and beyond by enabling this migration!

I was actually struggling with the Microsoft Store and version numbers - presume Freda+ is the old 4.41 version and Freda will now be the 5.x versions?
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Old 10-20-2023, 03:14 AM   #14
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Question Question...

Why can't I use my credit card from outside the USA? I started listing ALL the


data you ask for only at the end to find out I cannot switch the USA to Brazil as I would need to based on credit card info ??
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Old 10-20-2023, 05:52 AM   #15
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Yes that's right. There will be one more release of Freda+, which will be numbered 4.42, and will include the feature to let you share the 'premium features' licence. Further development of Freda will be versions 5.x, and the next release, 5.1, will understand how to recognise a licence that has been shared with it (by Freda+ or by another already pad for Freda installation). I'm about to submit those updates (I was just held up for a couple of days by a stupid bug in Microsoft Visual Studio :-( ). Expect to see the update live in the next few days.
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