On Monday night my daughter Lindsay called me with an emergency. She and her husband Nolan were out at a restaurant and had planned to do their Fantasy Basketball draft on ESPN using their iPads and iPhones. When they went to the ESPN website on their iOS devices, they were faced with a Flash interface. I don’t know if you’re into Fantasy sports, but my kids take it VERY seriously, and when it’s draft time, it’s intense.
When Lindsay called me, I told her that I remembered that there was at least one browser for iOS that would allow you to surf sites with Flash. From what I could remember, these browsers render the Flash in the cloud and then deliver it to your iOS device without Flash. I did a quick search in the app store and found the Puffin browser.
The folks behind Puffin have a really interesting way for you to figure out if it will work for you. They offer a free version of the Puffin browser called Puffin Free, but Flash only works between certain hours, from 8am to 4pm. It lets you try out the service but if you want to have full time access you’re going to want to buy the full version for $4. I figured this was a serious emergency so I shelled out the $4, which gave her and Nolan access because they are on my Family Share in iTunes. Within a few minutes I got a message from her and she sent out this tweet to the Internet that made me so very happy:
My mom @podfeet is a life-saver: she figured out how to avoid flash for our fantasy bball draft with 90 seconds to spare before our turn!!
I don’t know if it works on all Flash websites but it sure did solve the problem for Lindsay and Nolan.
As I dug into the info on the website about Puffin Browser, I discovered some other cool stuff Puffin can do. Here’s the problem to be solved. You want to download a file, but you don’t want to burn up your data plan for your cellular device. You can choose to have Puffin download the file from the website you’re accessing to your Dropbox or Google Drive account. That means it moves from one website to another, never going through your device’s data plan! I tried it out, told it my Dropbox login info and then asked it to download the latest mp3 file from podfeet.com, and over on my Mac I saw it show up in the folder apps/puffinbrowser. Very very cool.
With the full version, you can turn on a virtual trackpad, which allows you to point with more precision and actually grab and drag items on screen. I don’t have a direct need for this but I’m thinking when you’re playing a Flash game and you need to pick something up, this could be essential. You can even turn on a virtual gamepad. I think there’s a lot more to this browser than I’ve covered here, the preferences alone suggest more capability to be discovered.
If you want to play web-based games, or access web apps and some educational content, check out the Puffin Browser for both iOS and Android at http://puffinbrowser.com.