Amazon releases new update for FreeTime Oops problem (But it may not work)

Here is another update on the “Oops! Something went wrong with FreeTime” problem. Prior posts on the problem are here and here.

Amazon has released what they say is “a fix for many of the issues that lead to this error.” They are asking customers to  update to the latest version of the FreeTime app (FreeTimeApp-fireos_v3.17_Build-1.0.210214.0.26452).

Per Amazon’s post, here are the instructions for updating:

Please follow these steps:

  • Confirm that your device is connected to a wireless network.
    • Connected devices have a Wi-Fi or 4G LTE icon with signal bars near the battery indicator.
  • Sync your device.
    • Swipe down from the top of the screen to open the quick actions menu and then tap the Settings (gear) icon. Tap Sync Device. Large files may take time to download.

If you want to ensure FreeTime updated to FreeTimeApp-fireos_v3.17_Build-1.0.210214.0.26452, go to:

Fire OS 5 Tablets (4th – 7th Generations):

  1. Settings > Apps & Games > Manage All Applications.
  2. Find the Downloaded tab (yellow bar), then swipe the entire screen to the right (see All tap).
  3. Scroll down until you find the FreeTime app. All apps are in alphabetical order.

Fire OS6 – Fire HD 8 – 8th Generation:

  1. Settings > Apps & Notifications > Manage All Applications.
  2. Scroll down to FreeTime app.

Amazon added several troubleshooting tips, according to the post on the Kindle device forums:

If the issue continues after updating,please follow the below troubleshooting steps:

  1. Reboot/restart the impacted Fire Tablet, then check if the issue is resolved.
  2. If the issues persists after a reboot, clear the application data for FreeTime.

Please note: Clearing the application data may delete customers content on customer’s FreeTime profiles.

Be aware that this fix may not work for all customers and additional improvement will be released in the next few weeks. [Emphasis added]

One person already posted on the forum that the update did not work for them.

The frustration level on this issue seems to be off the charts. Tech issues are aggravating enough, but the primary users of FreeTime are small children, who neither have the skills or the patience to deal with the issues. As a parent, seeing my kids repeatedly upset by this would make me extremely angry. Amazon needs to come up with a working fix for this, ASAP.

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Daily Links and Deals: 5 things to think about before buying your child a cell phone for Christmas

daily_links_1Daily Links for day, December 13,  2016:

Amazon Alexa, HCCP Collaborate on Daily Devotionals (Publishers Weekly) Harper Christian Publishing now has an Alexa skill for daily inspirational audio clips.

Apple’s release of the Airpods isn’t going very well (Quartz) What’s the hang up? Technical glitches? Supply issues? These sold out in minutes and won’t be back until mid-January.

BBC & ITV to launch BritBox streaming video service in US in 2017 (Liliputing) Oh, dear. With my British TV addiction, I am never going to get anything done…..

6 ways to bring your Wi-Fi signal into 2017 (The Next Web) Good tips for getting the most out of your Wi-Fi.

This tech generates realistic avatars from a single selfie (The Verge) Whoa! This is pretty amazing!

5 things to think about before buying your child a cell phone for Christmas (CNN) Really good article about what to think about before you give your kids a cell phone.

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s selection of Kindle Daily Deals includes Oreo (New Directions Paperbook) by Fran Ross.

In Today’s DealsBÖHM Bluetooth Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find is having a NOOK Bundles Sale: Choose from over 100 eBook bundles—fiction favorites, swoon-worthy romance, epic fantasy & more—starting at $1.99 each. The Romance Daily Find is Dukes Prefer Blondes by Loretta Chase.

Barnes and Noble also has a selection of NOOK Books Under $2.99.

The new NOOK Tablet is available and is only $49.99.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is Cold In The Shadows (Cold Justice Book 5) by Toni Anderson.  The Extra Daily Deal is Sister: A Novel
by Rosamund Lupton.

There is also a selection of Great Reads Under $5 and Bargain Reads in Fiction, in Mystery and other genres. The Kobo Aura One (and the Aura Edition 2 e-readers are now available for order at the Kobo store. (The Aura One is still out of stock until early 2017.)

iTunes’ iTunes’ Great Books, Amazing Deals under $3.99 includes The Poison Artist by Jonathan Moore.

Google Books has a selection of Topsellers Under $10. Through December 22nd, you can also rent various Harper Teen books for 24 hours for 99 cents.

(A note on Daily Deals: All prices current at the time of posting and subject to change. Most items marked Daily Deals are good for only the day posted.

Many large promotions have discount pricing that is set by the publisher. This usually means that titles can be found at a discount price across most platforms (with iTunes sometimes being the exception). If you have a favorite retailer you like to patronize, check the title on that website. There is a good chance that they will be matching the sale price.)


Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news. I also post other, different links of interest on Twitter, Facebook, and on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.

Daily Links and Deals: Facebook Lets Advertisers Exclude Users by Race

daily_links_1Daily Links for Friday, October 28,  2016:

You need an adapter (or a new cable) to plug your iPhone into the new MacBook Pros (The Verge) Why shouldn’t you ahve to pay an extra $25 to be able to charge your phone?

An education expert says reading to kids makes them more curious than giving them phones or tablets (Business Insider) We still keep going ’round about what the “experts” consider to be right way to deal with technology for our children.

This endless 80s-inspired pinball game is ridiculously addictive (The Next Web) Okay, pinball wizards!  This really looks like fun.

Facebook Lets Advertisers Exclude Users by Race (ProPublica) This is so wrong, deeply disturbing and, absolutely illegal.

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s selection of Kindle Daily Deals includes The Forgetting Time: A Novel by Sharon Guskin. (This one is my must buy for the day!)

In Today’s Deals, the Logitech Harmony Ultimate All in One Remote with Customizable Touch Screen and Closed Cabinet RF Control – Black.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find is Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham. The Romance Daily Find is Welcoming the Bad Boy: A Hero’s Welcome Novel by Annie Rains.

Barnes and Noble also has a selection of NOOK Books Under $2.99.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is The Ice Twins: A Novel by S.K. Tremayne. The Extra Daily Deal is Primal Force (A K-9 Rescue Novel Book 3) by D. D. Ayres.

Also, a selection of titles called Romance On The Ice for $4.99 or Less until October Until October 31st.

There is also a selection of Great Reads Under $5 and Bargain Reads in Fiction, in Mystery and other genres. The Kobo Aura One (and the Aura Edition 2 e-readers are now available for order at the Kobo store. (The Aura One is out of stock until November 1, 2016.)

iTunes’ Weekly Bestsellers Under $4 includes Pumpkintown Perils (the first four Wild Wild Witch mysteries) by Aubrey Law.

Google Books has a selection of Halloween Horror Sale: chills and thrills under $5.

(A note on Daily Deals: All prices current at the time of posting and subject to change. Most items marked Daily Deals are good for only the day posted.

Many large promotions have discount pricing that is set by the publisher. This usually means that titles can be found at a discount price across most platforms (with iTunes sometimes being the exception). If you have a favorite retailer you like to patronize, check the title on that website. There is a good chance that they will be matching the sale price.)


Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news. I also post other, different links of interest on Twitter, Facebook, and on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.

Daily Links and Deals: The Librarian of Congress is not the nation’s copyright authority

daily_links_1Today, an article that asks if the Librarian of Congress is really the nation’s ultimate copyright authority. Also, a look at just how accessible Kindle’s VoiceView really is for the blind, Hindi book cover illustrations and a look into children’s tablet use from a different perspective. In deals, Adobe Photoshop Elements and Premiere 14.

Daily Links for day, September 1, 2016:

The Librarian of Congress is not the nation’s copyright authority (The Illusion of More) The role of the LOC in copyright matters has changed in the digital era. This opinion piece examines the history and validity of those choices.

The Pocketbook Illustrations of the Rebel Artist B. M. Anand (Public Books) Fascinating look at some of the Hindi book covers done by this Indian artist.

I’m blind. Kindle text to speech has been a nightmare to master—here’s how to fix this (Teleread) A blind person tried to use the VoiceView features on the new basic Kindle. The results were not pretty. Related: Teleread’s suggestions for a fix to the problem.

Exploring Play and Creativity in Children’s Tablet Use (Huffington Post) People tend to focus on whether children should use tablets. This study looked at how, when and why they were using them instead.

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s selection of Kindle Daily Deals includes Revenge by Lisa Jackson. (This is a collection of the Love Letters trilogy.)

In Today’s DealsAdobe Photoshop Elements & Premiere Elements 14.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find is Rob Delaney: Mother. Wife. Sister. Human. Warrior. Falcon. Yardstick. Turban. Cabbage.by Rob Delaney.  The Romance Daily Find is A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is Famous in Love by Rebecca Serle. The Extra Daily Deal is Passage to Paradise (Carrie Hatchett, Space Adventurer Book 2) by J.J. Green. There is also a selection of Great Reads Under $5 and Bargain Reads in Fiction, in Mystery and other genres.

The Kobo Aura One and the Aura Edition 2 e-readers are now available for pre-order at the Kobo store.

iTunes’ Weekly Bestsellers Under $4 includes Depraved Heart by Patricia Cornwell.

Google Books has a selection of Topsellers Under $10.

(A note on Daily Deals: All prices current at the time of posting and subject to change. Most items marked Daily Deals are good for only the day posted.

Many large promotions have discount pricing that is set by the publisher. This usually means that titles can be found at a discount price across most platforms (with iTunes sometimes being the exception). If you have a favorite retailer you like to patronize, check the title on that website. There is a good chance that they will be matching the sale price.)


Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news. I also post other, different links of interest on Twitter, Facebook, and on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.

Freetime update causes problems for children’s Fire tablets

freetimeFurther information has surfaced in the Amazon forums on the latest issue with Fire tablets de-registering themselves. Earlier today, I noted that this seemed to be affecting Fire tablets with Freetime installed. According to the latest messages on an Amazon forum thread, that Freetime update is the root cause of the issue.

According to a poster on one thread:

Just got off the phone, received confirmation that ALL content and progress is lost. It sounds like it is something to do with the update to FreeTime, and that update accidentally de-registered the kindles.

Others report being told the same thing. While Fire tablets have a backup and sync function, content in Freetime on children’s accounts is a separate backup setting. (You can set Freetime to default to a backup on the cloud under the Freetime settings tab.)

There are also an increasing number of reports (like this one) that many Fire tablets with Free time will not stay registered when the own re-registers them again. In some cases, the tablets are not even showing up on the account owners Manage Your Kindle page. One customer reported being told that the problem was caused by the home’s slow wireless connection!

This problem sees to be affecting a very large number of Freetime users. That means a lot of upset children who have lost not only any personal data, but also all their progress in games like Minecraft. That also means a lot of upset parents who are trying to figure out what is going on. As a parent, I would be pretty upset if this happened to my kids’ devices. Kids tend to take this kind of thing very personally.

Last time, it took a while for Amazon to post an official statement on the issue. We’ll see who soon we hear something. More to come on this.

Did your Fire tablet just de-register … again?

50_fireBack in April, there was a huge a problem with Fire tablets suddenly de-registering themselves. That issue predominantly affected the 8.9 Fire models.

There are multiple threads on the Amazon forums (such as the latest post on this thread), that indicates that the problem is back and it is affecting a lot more Fire tablets this time around. This time around, the problem seems to be involving the $50 fires and Fire tablets purchased for children that are running Freetime.

There are multiple descriptions of the devices spontaneously de-registering, profiles lost, and pins that will not work on the devices. Content, game progress and other data are also disappearing from the tablets. Many Fire owner owners have multiple Fires registered to their account and are reporting that it is the newer devices that are de-registering while the older ones are not. Some customers are also having a problem getting the devices to re-register when they try to correct the problem.

April’s de-registration issue was rumored to be a software glitch and this one may also be tied to a software update. One customer noted in this thread:

My two Fire Tabs for my young children spontaneously deregistered yesterday while they were charging, all content, progress and profiles appear to be lost and require you to start over completely. I put in a message to support and I have an email from them acknowledging this as a known problem on their end (server-side) and their only solution was to re-register and start over anew, losing any saved data and game progress. [Emphasis added]

It is also not clear from the forums if this problem also affects e-ink Kindles, particularly those for children. Some people are referring to problems with their children’s Kindle, but as people often interchange the name Kindle and Fire, I am not clear on which devices this problem actually affects.

More on this as additional info becomes available.

Related Update: Freetime update causes problems for children’s Fire tablets

Friday Echo: Is the Echo making children rude?

tapNews:

Raising kids with Alexa:  There is a very interesting article from Quartz that looks at the issue of parents being concerned that Alexa and the Echo are teaching their children to be rude. It is a fascinating read. Since natural language can be more difficult for an AI to understand, the piece points out, “When it comes to chatting with Alexa, it pays to be direct—curt even.”

Children are indeed drawn to the device and seem to pick up using it readily. I’ve heard stories from friends about how their children interact with the device: repeated questions, endless joke requests, etc. There are even skills directly designed with children in mind. So.As parents, part of our job is to make sure our offspring have the skills necessary to be functioning members of society and good manners is certainly the oil that greases the wheels as the saying goes. This may be another factor that may need to be considered if you are a family considering a purchase. And for the record, Alexa does respond when you say thank you (with a variety of responses).

Do you want an International version of the Amazon Echo?  Right now, you can only use the Amazon Echo and Tap in the United States. It requires a US account with a US zip code.This makes it difficult if you want to take your Echo out of the country with you. There is an interesting discussion on the topic on the Amazon forums. It turns out there are a few workarounds that may be able to help, depending on your country and your situation.  Things to try:

  • Some people have used a VPN and entered the closed corresponding US zip code.
  • To get weather for your international location, ask “What’s the weather in ______?” and enter your location.
  • If you are unable to download the Alexa app, try using http://alexa.amazon.com/. You can also try to search for an Alexa app APK.

The hacks seem to meet with varying degrees of success. Read the discussion thread for more info.

If you want to see a truly international version, let Amazon know. The folks on the forum suggest using the hashtag #internationalalexa on social media to try to get support for an international version of the device.

The Amazon Tap, WiFi and a call to Echo support:  A couple of weeks back, I talked about my WiFi problems when travelling with my Amazon Tap. Well, last week I had a bigger WiFi problem. The Tap couldn’t connect to WiFi at all on my home network. The Alexa App on my Fire Tablets was also saying it was offline.  I got a strange error message (code 7:3:4:0:1) when it couldn’t connect. I did a search and found a Reddit thread on the issue here. I tried everything that the thread suggested, including resetting the device and still could not get back online.

I finally called the Amazon Echo support line for help. The rep was extremely nice and helpful and she walked me through setting up the device again. What was most helpful about the experience was the the support rep could see what really was going on with the Tap when my app would hang (which evidently happens a lot). At one point, the Tap was actually back online even though I was still seeing a “trying to connect” message. Amazon had me back up and running in less than ten minutes and its been smooth sailing ever since..

If you have a problem you can’t solve, you can reach Echo Support at 1-877-375-9365. They are available from 3 a.m. to 10 p.m. Pacific time, seven days a week. You get this number via email from Amazon if you report a problem via the Amazon app.

Voice-first is going mainstream: A recent survey looked at the Amazon Echo, Google Now and Siri to see how customers are using these voice first services and to find out what consumers think of them. The results are interesting and clearly show that people want to talk to their devices. As someone who grew up reading science fiction and seeing the TV and movie examples of talking computers like HAL and those from Star Trek, it really is an natural next step from where we are now. Did you know that 50% of people keep their Echo in the kitchen? How does your use of the Echo compare to other peoples uses? I tend to check the weather a lot with the Echo – her forecasts are generally dead-on accurate!

The study looked at early adopters of the Amazon Echo. For the Google and Siri portion, mainstream users were surveyed.This left me wondering if  anyone has done a study yet of all the various AI systems. I have noticed that since I got the Echo, I am actually also doing more with Google Now and Siri than I was before I bought the Tap and the Echo.

Working on my official Amazon Echo and Tap reviews. Hopefully, I will have them ready to post by next week’s post. 🙂

Need more help with Alexa on your Echo or your Tap? Here’s the help page.