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Freda and Privacy: (Update for Freda version 5)
#1
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 [UPDATE: for Windows, this feature is now live], 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:
  1. 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.
  2. If you don’t want to share personal data with an app store operator: download the Freda installer from Turnipsoft’s website.
  3. 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).
  4. 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 [UPDATE: Freda+ has now been enhanced, as mentioned in the next sentence - you can save a Freda+ licence to the licence server, and it will then be available for you to use on other devices].  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.
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