Matt’s Favorites: Cab Hailing Apps, Delayed Samsung Galaxy S IVs, And Still More Space Stuff

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New York City taxis. Wikimedia Commons photo.

New York City taxis. Wikimedia Commons photo.

So what’s the newest and shiniest and coolest and just all around wonderfulest on this Getaway Day on the Tech Tour? Here’s what I found!

* New York City can experiment with letting taxi seekers hail rides electronically, a judge said Tuesday in a ruling that could clear the way for riders to summon the city’s signature yellow cabs with smartphone apps instead of raised arms.

* Sprint and T-Mobile are delaying shipments of Samsung’s latest flagship phone, citing inventory issues. The delays in the Galaxy S IV appear to be the result of supply disruptions from Samsung, rather than heavier-than-expected demand seen by the U.S. carriers. And here’s a Yahoo-ABC review of the S IV.

* A Russian cargo ship loaded with 3.1 tons of needed supplies and equipment blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Wednesday and set off after the space station amid troubleshooting to figure out what might be done to free a jammed navigation antenna.

* Speaking of space, you can watch live views from a live EarthCam on a new satellite to be launched Friday by the Ecuadorian Civilian Space Agency. The camera aboard the Pegaso satellite is at www.earthcam.com/world/ecuador/ecsa/ and http://pegaso.exa.ec/index-es.htm. Launch is scheduled for 12:13 a.m. Eastern time Friday.

* Get ready for what may be the comet of the century. Scientists say there’s a chance that Comet C/2012 S1 ISON may be brighter than the full moon when it’s near the sun this November. Sounds wonderful!

* And here’s some cheery news — modeling the likely spread of the deadly new H7N9 avian flu. Oh boy!  (Note: Requires the Google Earth plugin for your browser.)

* Here’s a look at a very cool solar powered airplane.

* China is moving a bit more cautiously ahead with its plans to expand its nuclear power capacities.

* Senior Obama administration officials have secretly authorized the interception of communications carried on portions of networks operated by AT&T and other Internet service providers, a practice that might otherwise be illegal under federal wiretapping laws, CNet’s News.com reported. The secret legal authorization from the Justice Department originally applied to a cybersecurity pilot project in which the military monitored defense contractors’ Internet links. Since then, however, the program has been expanded by President Obama to cover all critical infrastructure sectors including energy, healthcare, and finance starting June 12.

* As Apple waits for the city of Cupertino to give the final thumbs up for the design of its new spaceship-like headquarters, the company has been tinkering with the details. Cupertino published the software giant’s project update of the headquarters on the city Web site on Wednesday. Included in the documents are the project description, site and landscaping plans, floor plans, renderings, and a bicycle plan. More.

* Following up on the AP hack Tuesday, a security expert tartly obeserves that there is ‘no patch for human error.’

* Microsoft on Wednesday sent an invitation to the press for an Xbox event May 21. The tech giant is widely expected to announce its next Xbox — dubbed by many as the Xbox 720.

* Attention Saturday Night Live junkies: Yahoo will soon provide access to all 38 years of the show’s episodes.

* Researchers have identified the voice of Alexander Graham Bell for the first time in some of the earliest audio recordings held at the Smithsonian Institution. The National Museum of American History announced Wednesday that Bell’s voice was identified with help from technicians at the Library of Congress and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California.

* Leading cellphone chipmaker Qualcomm raised its full-year revenue forecast as demand for smartphones continues to grow. Qualcomm said it expects full-year revenue of $24.0 billion to $25 billion, up from its prior forecast of between $23.4 billion and $24.4 billion.

* Zynga Inc. said on Wednesday the number of people playing its online games dropped dramatically in the first quarter, a development that overshadowed better-than-expected revenue figures and sent its stock tumbling in after-hours trade. Shares fell 10 percent to $2.99 in extended trading.

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