Facebook releases ‘Prophet’ — its free forecasting tools — for Python and R

Facebook has open-sourced its Prophet forecasting tool, designed “to make it easier for experts and non-experts to make high-quality forecasts,” according to a blog post by Sean J. Taylor and Ben Letham in the company’s research team. “Forecasts are customizable in ways that are intuitive to non-experts,” they wrote.

The code is available on GitHub in both Python and R.

Prophet is aimed specifically at business problems such as computer infrastructure capacity planning that have at least several months of data (preferably a year or more) and issues such as seasonality, “holidays” that can affect trends (such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday for retailers), and events that can have significant impacts (such as launching a new website when trying to forecast site traffic). Prophet can also handle some missing values and outliers, the blog post said.

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from Computerworld News http://www.computerworld.com/article/3175789/data-analytics/facebook-releases-prophet-its-free-forecasting-tools-for-python-and-r.html#tk.rss_news

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Laid-off IT workers worry U.S. is losing tech jobs to outsourcing

Sixty-three-year-old Bob Zhang is worried about the future of tech jobs in the U.S. Will the high-paying positions be a thing of the past?  

Zhang said it’s already starting to happen. He’s one of 79 IT workers from the University of California, San Francisco, who’ve been laid off. Tuesday was their last day on the job. To replace them, the school is outsourcing some of their work to an Indian firm.

“Usually, they outsource the low-paying jobs,” he said at a gathering outside a school building. “But now they use H-1B (visa) and use foreign workers to replace the high-paying jobs. This trend is dangerous.”

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from Computerworld News http://www.computerworld.com/article/3175715/it-outsourcing/laid-off-it-workers-worry-us-is-losing-tech-jobs-to-outsourcing.html#tk.rss_news

New FCC chairman: Net neutrality rules were a ‘mistake’

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules, passed two years ago, were a “mistake” that caused uncertainty for the broadband industry, the agency’s new chairman said.

The net neutrality rules, along with the FCC’s decision to reclassify broadband as a regulated common carrier, “deviated” from the U.S. government’s longstanding light-touch regulatory approach toward the internet, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said Tuesday at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Two years after the agency passed its net neutrality rules, “it has become evident that the FCC made a mistake,” said Pai, a Republican. “Our new approach injected tremendous uncertainty into the broadband market. And uncertainty is the enemy of growth.”

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from Computerworld News http://www.computerworld.com/article/3175647/internet/new-fcc-chairman-net-neutrality-rules-were-a-mistake.html#tk.rss_news

Mobile devices get a new spec to ensure quality 4K HDR video

The group that sets standards for 4K on high-definition TVs has established specifications for 4K and HDR (high-dynamic range) video on mobile devices including smartphones, tablets and laptops.

The devices will be eligible for a “Mobile HDR Premium” certification if they meet minimum specifications tied to screen resolution, bit depth and a handful of other elements that define picture quality.

The specification was announced on Tuesday at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona.

For users, this certification will ensure that 4K and HDR hardware meet certain minimum requirements. The UHD Alliance members include Samsung, LG, Intel, Dell, Microsoft and others.

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from Computerworld News http://www.computerworld.com/article/3175765/mobile-wireless/mobile-devices-get-a-new-spec-to-ensure-quality-4k-hdr-video.html#tk.rss_news

AWS failure hits websites and apps

Amazon Web Services, a major cloud hosting service, is having a system failure that has been affecting web sites and apps.

AWS reported on its Service Health Dashboard at 2:35 p.m. ET that its engineers were working on the problem that has affected websites including Netflix, Reddit and Adobe. Those sites seem to be up and running now.

The Associated Press reported that its own photos, webfeeds and other online services have been affected.

AWS tweeted that the performance of its Service Health Dashboard was affected but is working again.

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from Computerworld News http://www.computerworld.com/article/3175643/cloud-computing/aws-failure-hits-web-sites-and-apps.html#tk.rss_news

Boston Dynamics takes big jump with two-legged Handle robot

Robotics company Boston Dynamics has built a two-legged, wheeled robot that can roll down a flight of stairs and jump on and off a table, all while maintaining its balance and speed.

Handle, a 6-foot, 5-inch tall robot, can travel at 9 mph and jump four feet, according to Boston Dynamics, a Alphabet-owned company, which posted a video of the robot on YouTube.

With 10 actuated joints, the robot has a range of 15 miles on one battery charge.

What has attracted attention to the Handle video, which was posted on Monday and had more than 1.5 million views by Tuesday afternoon, is the robot’s ability to balance itself while moving, jumping and even having one leg roll up a ramp while the other leg rolls across the floor beside it.

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from Computerworld News http://www.computerworld.com/article/3175636/robotics/boston-dynamics-takes-big-jump-with-two-legged-handle-robot.html#tk.rss_news

Microsoft adds Store app-only restriction as option in Windows 10

Microsoft has added a setting to Windows 10 that will let users restrict new software installation to only those apps hosted in the Windows Store.

The option debuted in the latest version of Windows 10 Insider, the preview program which gives participants an early peek at the next feature upgrade as Microsoft builds it. That version, labeled 15042, was released Friday.

With the setting at its most stringent, Windows 10 will block the installation of Win32 software — the traditional legacy applications that continue to make up the vast bulk of the Windows ecosystem — and allow users to install only apps from the Windows Store, Microsoft’s marketplace.

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from Computerworld News http://www.computerworld.com/article/3175639/microsoft-windows/microsoft-adds-store-app-only-restriction-as-option-in-windows-10.html#tk.rss_news