New York City has picked three finalists for the city’s next official taxicab, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Tuesday, Nov. 16.

The custom-built, box-shaped yellow cabs will be manufactured by Nissan, Ford or Turkey-based Karsan. Officials expect the winner to be picked early next year, and the vehicles will hit the streets by 2014.

New York City has more than 13,000 licensed taxicabs on its roads, 4,000 of which are hybrids or use alternative fuel. The current fleet consists of 16 models, including the Ford Crown Victoria (a discontinued model), Ford Escape Hybrid and Toyota Sienna.

The public is invited to provide feedback on the finalists at the Taxi of Tomorrow website.

Virginia Suffers Another Computer Outage

The computer systems of multiple Virginia state agencies went offline briefly on Sunday, Nov. 14, because of what was reportedly called “a brief firewall failure” in the state data center. The disruption was thought to be the state’s biggest since a weeklong outage last summer that halted core government services.

A spokesman for the Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA) said technicians quickly fixed the problem, which left the state Department of Motor Vehicles unable to process drivers’ licenses for about an hour Sunday afternoon.

Virginia and its vendor partner Northrop Grumman are currently participating in an independent assessment of a prolonged failure of many of the state’s computer systems that occurred in late August. A storage area network failure in a VITA data center initially knocked out 485 of the state’s 4,800 servers and interrupted service to more than two dozen state agencies. The audit will include a root cause analysis and corrective action plans.

Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch

Data.gov Sees a ‘Big Bang’ of Data Sets

The New York Times reported that in the year and a half since the federal government launched its online data warehouse Data.gov, 270,000 data sets have been posted there to be made publicly available.

This proliferation of data has led Federal CIO Vivek Kundra to speculate to the newspaper that it could create a new market for “data curation” as a means to navigate and make sense of the new wealth of information. In fact, a team of researchers from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is currently doing demonstration projects that interpret data that’s available on Data.gov.

Source: The New York Times