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What's with SkyFire?

by Rider3 / November 23, 2010 5:18 AM PST

I live in the Midwest and have a web site with a counter on the main page.

If I use SkyFire on iPhone 4 to access this web site through my home WiFi modem, it registers as Xo Communications in Menlo Park, California, United States with an IP address.

If I use Safari on the iPhone through the WiFi, it registers my correct ISP and the ip address of my WiFi router.

When I turn WiFi off and use 3G, SkyFire will register as a Safari iPad in the United States, and about 4 to 6 seconds registers as Xo Communications in Menlo Park, California, United States with an IP address.
On 3G, it seems to be loading Safari and SkyFire.

Not sure what's happening here.

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No idea, but
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / November 23, 2010 5:40 AM PST
In reply to: What's with SkyFire?

I'm only chipping in here with possibly useless information. I hadn't heard of SkyFire until your post so my knowledge is 'none'.

However from their web site, http://www.skyfire.com/ I went to their "About" web page here;
http://www.skyfire.com/about

I noticed their address quoted as;
779 East Evelyn Ave
Mountain View, CA 94041
United States

Nothing interesting there, but I then used Google Maps to look up the address you quoted, ie;
Xo Communications
Menlo Park,
California,
United States

Nothing there.

I then tried Xo Communications, and Google presented me with a list of possibles, but nothing about Menlo Park. So finally I Google mapped Menlo Park, CA. That got interesting.

In the map on the SkyFire about page, zoom out, and you see Mountain View nearby.

In the Google Map for Menlo Park, you can also see Mountain View. That makes these two places near each other. I estimate about 10 miles.

I wonder if Menlo Park is some sort of Server station for your browser/phone connection.

It's a shame SkyFire doesn't seem to have any forums yet, but they do have a phone number on their About page. Perhaps a phone call to them would help find out why they are redirecting your browser to a physical site of theirs?

Mark

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It's how SkyFire works...
by John.Wilkinson / November 24, 2010 12:52 AM PST
In reply to: What's with SkyFire?

Normally, you'd enter forums.cnet.com and the request would be sent to/processed by CNET, with the webpage being sent directly back to you. SkyFire works quite differently. You enter forums.cnet.com, but the request is actually sent to SkyFire. SkyFire then sends its own request for forums.cnet.com to CNET, receives the webpage from CNET, and then sends a copy of CNET's content back to you.

The most significant benefit is that you don't need plugins such as Flash Player because SkyFire converts/renders the content on their servers, thus enabling iPhone users to watch Flash-based video, for instance. That's why SkyFire sold so many copies within hours of releasing it on the App Store. However, it also has several downsides:

1.) SkyFire's IP address is the one that websites typically see, so location-based services will not work. The website will think you're in CA instead of NY, so it may display the wrong date/time, weather, local recommendations, local news, etc.

2.) All requests must flow through SkyFire's servers, which creates a bottleneck. If too many people browse the internet using SkyFire at one time, all users' connections will slow to a crawl. SkyFire copes, to a degree, but refusing connections when too many users are already using the browser/service. This has happened to SkyFire several times, and forced them to temporarily stop selling SkyFire licenses in Apple's app store. They keep adding more servers and bandwidth, but there will always be a limit.

3.) Everything you send/receive passes through SkyFire's servers, meaning they have access to it. Technically, those working for the company could watch/record what you do, including snatching your usernames and passwords for later use/abuse. Thus, it's fine for browsing the headline news, but I would never recommend using SkyFire when accessing or sending any type of private/confidential information, such as when accessing your bank records, shopping online, or even logging into an email account you worry about others accessing.

Hope this helps,
John

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Thanks Mark & John...
by Rider3 / November 24, 2010 1:18 AM PST

That completely explains it!
I wasn't real happy using that browser anyway.

Thanks again...

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That's quite disturbing.
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / November 24, 2010 4:17 AM PST

I wonder how many users are blissfully unaware of this as they access private sites?

Mark

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