This prefabricated home combines Scandinavian simplicity with a breezy Californian twist

Adobu and Koto Design collaborated to design a prefabricated backyard home with off-grid capabilities, marrying Scandinavian design with sustainability.

Based in the English seaside village of Westward Ho!, the architecture studio Koto Design captures the mellow vibe of a day spent at the seashore and translates it to the home space. Inspired by Scandinavian simplicity and Japanese minimalism, the result comes through breezy, open floor layouts and organic building materials.

Designer: Koto Design x Adobu

The architecture studio is known for its extensive catalog of sustainable, prefabricated tiny homes that can be transported to locations across the globe. In a recent collaboration with the USA-based, backyard home-building company Adobu, the two studios worked together to construct a tiny, prefabricated home that marries Scandinavian design with a Californian twist.

From the outside, the backyard cabin appears like one of Koto Design’s signature tiny homes, topped off with a slightly torqued roof. While its original look maintains an elemental, wooden look without any paint, buyers can choose from an array of different finishes. The organic facades merge with large, floor-to-ceiling windows that are meant to embrace a semi-outdoor lifestyle, a common touch in Californian architecture.

Inside, the large windows work to keep the interior living spaces airy and bright, like a day spent seaside. Integrated storage compartments line the perimeter of the interior rooms to maintain the flexibility that an open-floor layout provides. Additionally, built-in furniture, like a window bench in the dining area, creates space for guests and residents to relax without introducing more furniture pieces to crowd the floor.

Koto Design is committed to delivering sustainable, prefabricated homes that don’t compromise on comfort. Each tiny home built with Adobu takes around four months to finish offsite construction, while the onsite assembly is completed in some weeks. In collaboration with Adobu, the two studios can now offer carbon-neutral homes in the USA that have a 60+ year lifespan, on and off-grid capabilities, and are built to full housing standards.

Once the tiny home finishes offsite construction, Adobu can assemble the tiny home onsite in a matter of weeks. 

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Leaked document indicates Facebook may be underreporting images of child abuse

A training document used by Facebook’s content moderators raises questions about whether the social network is under-reporting images of potential child sexual abuse, The New York Timesreports.The document reportedly tells moderators to “err on the side of an adult” when assessing images, a practice that moderators have taken issue with but company executives have defended.

At issue is how Facebook moderators should handle images in which the age of the subject is not immediately obvious. That decision can have significant implications, as suspected child abuse imagery is reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), which refers images to law enforcement. Images that depict adults, on the other hand, may be removed from Facebook if they violate its rules, but aren’t reported to outside authorities.

But, as The NYT points out, there isn’t a reliable way to determine age based on a photograph. Moderators are reportedly trained to use a more than 50-year-old method to identify “the progressive phases of puberty,” but the methodology “was not designed to determine someone’s age.” And, since Facebook’s guidelines instruct moderators to assume photos they aren’t sure of are adults, moderators suspect many images of children may be slipping through.

This is further complicated by the fact that Facebook’s contract moderators, who work for outside firms and don’t get the same benefits as full-time employees, may only have a few seconds to make a determination, and may be penalized for making the wrong call.

Facebook, which reports more child sexual abuse material to NCMEC than any other company, says erring on the side of adults is meant to protect users’ and privacy and to avoid false reports that may hinder authorities’ ability to investigate actual cases of abuse. The company’s Head of Safety Antigone Davis told the paper that it may also be a legal liability for them to make false reports. Notably, not every company shares Facebook’s philosophy on this issue. Apple, Snap and TikTok all reportedly take “the opposite approach” and report images when they are unsure of an age.

ROLI announces the Seaboard RISE 2, an incredibly fluid keyboard surface made for ultimate sonic expression

Nearly 10 years after ROLI reinvented music keyboards, the company is back, older, wiser, and with its 2nd generation flagship, the Seaboard RISE 2. Led by Roland Lamb’s vision of designing a keyboard ‘without keys’, the Seaboard RISE 2 comes with the same familiar wavy interface that lets you tap, press, slide, and glide across its dynamic surface. However, in its long-awaited second edition, the Seaboard RISE 2 is arguably better built, looks more inviting too (if that was even possible), comes with a USB-C, and marks a shift for ROLI from a fledgling music startup to a mature, seasoned industry veteran.

Designer: ROLI

The nature of my job, especially for the last 2 years, has been predominantly online… a convenience for the most part, but also a hindrance because I seldom get to experience the products I so passionately write about. The Seaboard RISE, however, was an exception because I actually got to tinker with it back in 2016 when it was on display in Tokyo for winning the Good Design Award. Not only did the original Seaboard RISE look nothing like your conventional keyboard, as soon as my hands touched it, I realized it was a tactile experience like no other too. You see, the digital version of a piano is the keyboard. The electric version of a guitar is the electric guitar. There isn’t quite a ‘digital’ version for violins, flutes, brass, or other wind instruments… and more importantly, while the keyboard is the default input device for most electronic musicians, its key-based interface doesn’t let you easily play guitar or flute-style tunes on it. The Seaboard RISE hoped to change that. With a singular rubberized play surface, the Seaboard RISE let you musically express yourself in 5 dimensions. You could play keys from the left to right, increase/decrease volume by moving up or down a key, slide between notes by sliding your finger along the top of the keyboard, press downward on each key to trigger different effects, and even gently jiggle your finger while pressing a key for that beautiful tremolo effect. The Seaboard RISE didn’t feel like a traditional instrument because it was, by design, made to be an instrument for unbridled expression. That rubberized surface, a ROLI representative told me, went through over 40 iterations to reach the right tactile feel, so your fingers could effectively interact with the Seaboard and fall in love with its versatile dynamic surface!

While that was the Seaboard RISE from nearly a decade ago, the new Seaboard RISE 2 boasts improvements based on feedback that ROLI patiently gathered for 10 long years. For starters, the company stuck to the 49-key setup because it just was the most popular of the lot. The new Seaboard RISE 2 also ditched the all-black design for something more striking, opting to encase the dynamic playing surface in a stunning aluminum chassis in anodized platinum blue. This really allows the Seaboard’s elements to stand out, from the 49-key surface to the sliders, the effects pad, and the other buttons to the left of the keys. The keyboard’s surface went through refinements too. The original Seaboard had a sine wave-inspired surface (hence the name Seaboard, because of the waves), although it presented minor problems in terms of intuitive playback. Roland and his team revisited the design of the surface for the RISE 2, resulting in what they call Keywave 2, a more squared-off surface that ROLI claims “is the most approachable, easiest to play interface we’ve ever made”. It features precision frets, small embossed lines of silicone down the center of each key which, like a guitar’s fretboard, serve as a motor-sensory guide. ROLI also broadened the surface and articulated the shoulders of each keywave to further improve when the keyboard would register an action.

The RISE 2 further benefits from the development of Equator2, ROLI’s homegrown MPE synth. MPE, which stands for MIDI Polyphonic Expression, builds on the simplicity of MIDI, giving it the kind of nuance that the Seaboard RISE 2 champions. Since you’re doing more than just hitting keys with the RISE 2, the increase in variables led to ROLI developing Equator, a synth designed to really allow the Seaboard to shine. Aside from redesigning the RISE, ROLI was also quietly working on Equator2, the world’s leading MPE Synth that ROLI describes as “a mature and sonically beautiful instrument”.

“Seaboard RISE 2 is the Seaboard I always dreamed of making”, says ROLI founder Roland Lamb. Nearly 10 years in the making, it takes the original vision for the Seaboard and builds on it, improving the stuff that worked, and discarding the stuff that didn’t. To help showcase the Seaboard RISE, ROLI worked with musician Marco Parisi in developing the promo video at the beginning of the article., and they even shipped their first unit to Oscar-winning Music Director A.R. Rahman for his first thoughts. The ROLI Seaboard RISE 2 is available for Pre-Order starting at $1,399 USD, with shipping beginning towards the end of the year.

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Clubhouse debuts ‘protected profiles’ in response to at-risk users in Ukraine and Russia

Invite-only social audio platform Clubhouse will let users limit who can see their full profiles due to increased security threats related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to a company blog post. Users can now change their profile settings to “protected”, which will only allow pre-approved followers to view the rooms and clubs they’ve visited, as well as replays. Unapproved followers won’t be able to see when a user is online. Clubhouse also won’t recommend protected profile holders to other users they don’t know.

“We're grateful we've become a meeting place for people around the world to connect during this time, but we also know that times of conflict and upheaval make it increasingly important to be mindful of your presence online and what you share,” wrote the platform in its post.

The nearly two-year-old platform has been slow to roll out moderation and safety features for its many users, despite regular instances of harassment and abuse on the app. A number of Clubhouse users have faced targeted harassment on the platform, including doctors giving advice on the Covid-19 pandemic, Jews, Palestinians, women and people of color. It's also very hard to remain anonymous on the platform. Clubhouse requires a phone number to join, and (unless you opt out) will recommend other Clubhouse users in your phone’s contact list. It also requires you to use your real first and last name in order to create a profile. 

Clubhouse remains one of the few Western tech companies that hasn’t temporarily restricted services for Russian users, or been banned in Russia. For many anti-war Russians, Clubhouse remains one of few viable options for relaying information to the outside world. Meanwhile, many users from Ukraine have flocked to Clubhouse to discuss the ongoing invasion. Given the app’s lack of anonymity, it’s likely such users would need an extra security measure.

But as far as privacy goes, Clubhouse only offers the bare minimum, even with protected profiles. Users will still be able to see the names, usernames, bios and any linked social media on protected profiles. The platform also turned off its “Replay” feature for all users in Ukraine, meaning that conversations will no longer be recorded by default. Besides that, Clubhouse users are left to use their best judgment when it comes to expressing views that could get them in trouble with their government or disclosing personal information.

Amazon union rerun election in Alabama will be determined by challenged ballots

The initial results of a second union election at Amazon's BHM1 warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama have finally come through. Workers have voted against unionization in a closely contested 993-875 vote (with 59 voided votes) out of 6,153 workers eligible to cast a ballot. Turnout appears to have been considerably lower this time around, as more than 3,000 employees cast ballots in the early 2021 vote. However, 416 votes have been challenged — more than enough to change the outcome — so the definitive result might not be available for some time.

While it's not currently known how many of the challenges came from either party, in a post-tally press conference, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union president Stewart Applebaum said "each side challenged over 100 ballots." Currently the NLRB has not yet scheduled the hearing to determine which of these ballots should be opened and counted, but expects that to take place in the coming weeks. Any additional unfair labor practices RWDSU wishes to lodge in regards to this re-run election will need to be filed within the next five business day.

The tally brings BHM1 to the possible end of a long and messy saga. Bessemer workers voted against unionization in early 2021, but the National Labor Relations Board ruled that Amazon violated labor laws by allegedly interfering with the vote. RWDSU accused Amazon of repeatedly trying to intimidate workers through measures like an unauthorized ballot box and anti-union campaign material. While Amazon disputed the claims, the NLRB ultimately ordered a second vote.

The rerun election didn't go smoothly, either. The RWDSU has maintained that Amazon interfered with the second vote by removing pro-union posters, forcing attendance of anti-union meetings and limiting time spent on company grounds to discourage organization. Before the vote, the RWDSU also accused Amazon of illegal retaliation against worker Isaiah Thomas' pro-union efforts. The company has again argued that its actions are legal.

BHM1 was the first major Amazon facility in the US to hold a union vote, but it's no longer the only one. One Staten Island warehouse, JFK8, is already voting on possible unionization, and early vote totals show the grassroots Amazon Labor Union ahead by several hundred votes. Another facility in Staten Island is scheduled to hold its own unionization vote starting in late April. Simply put, there's a growing desire for workers to have a say in their conditions at at Amazon's — whether those efforts succeed, however, remains to be seen.

Additional reporting by Bryan Menegus. Updated with information from RWDSU and NLRB

Jabra’s triple-lens webcam has a wide-angle 180° FOV, completely crushing Apple’s Center Stage

What’s better than one good webcam? Three of them… and with 4K resolution, no less.

With the ability to fit an entire boardroom into its FoV, the Jabra PanaCast uses 3 individual lenses to capture more in the same small webcam form factor. Quite literally upstaging Apple’s Center Stage, the PanaCast has a dizzying 180° field of view, capturing what Jabra calls ‘three whiteboards’ worth of content, digitally. Equipped with Jabra’s Intelligent Zoom feature, the PanaCast can also detect faces and expand its bounding box to fit multiple people into its frame. The 4K lenses do a phenomenally better job at capturing board meetings in vivid detail (along with the whiteboards behind them), bringing enterprise video conferencing to the next level.

Designer: Jabra

Click Here to Buy Now

While the Center Stage is more of a feature for Apple’s customers, the PanaCast is an entire product and solution marketed toward businesses. Companies are still operating online for the most part, with employees working from home, personnel scattered across countries and time zones, and clients too. That’s where the Panacast comes in, allowing people to effectively communicate with each other without being ‘talking heads’. People in the same building can convene at the same meeting table, with the PanaCast capturing the entire FoV.

The PanaCast additionally works with leading conferencing software, including Skype, Zoom, Webex, Microsoft Teams, GoToMeeting, Slack, and even the obscure Hangouts (among many others). Additionally, the Jabra Vision app lets you set up and adjust your PanaCast, and even toggle individual lenses within the 3-lens setup, focusing on any part of the room.

Click Here to Buy Now

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You can now share YouTube videos directly to Snapchat

You no longer have to copy-paste or otherwise contort yourself to share a YouTube clip through Snapchat. As of today, Android and iOS users can share YouTube videos directly through the Snapchat Camera, whether it's to Stories or individual Snaps. You can apply creative layers like text, and automated stickers will take Snapchat viewers directly to a video in either the YouTube app or a web browser.

You just need to tap "share" in the YouTube app and choose Snapchat when it's an option. This is the first time you can visually share YouTube links, Snap said.

This won't be as alluring as sharing vertical videos from common alternatives like TikTok and Instagram. It should save you some hassle if you find a must-see YouTube video, though, and it should be particularly helpful for sharing Shorts that are well-suited to Snapchat's app.

Facebook News Feed bug injected misinformation into users’ feeds for months

A “bug” in Facebook’s News Feed ranking algorithm injected a “surge of misinformation” and other harmful content into users’ News Feeds between last October and March, according to an internal memo reported byThe Verge. The unspecified bug, described by employees as a “massive ranking failure,” went unfixed for months and affected "as much as half of all News Feed views."

The problem affected Facebook’s News Feed algorithm, which is meant to down-rank debunked misinformation as well as other problematic and “borderline” content. But last fall, views on debunked misinformation began rising by “up to 30 percent,” according to the memo, while other content that was supposed to be demoted was not. “During the bug period, Facebook’s systems failed to properly demote nudity, violence, and even Russian state media the social network recently pledged to stop recommending in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine,” according to the report.

More worrying, is that Facebook engineers apparently realized something was very wrong — The Verge reports the problem was categorized as a “severe” vulnerability in October — but it went unfixed until March 11th because engineers were “unable to find the root cause.”

The incident underscores just how complex, and often opaque, Facebook’s ranking algorithms are even to its own employees. Whistleblower Frances Haugen has argued that issues like this one are evidence that the company needs to make its algorithms transparent to outside researchers or even move away from engagement-based ranking altogether.

A Facebook spokesperson confirmed to The Verge that the bug had been fixed, saying it “has not had any meaningful, long-term impact on our metrics.”

Still, the fact that it took Facebook so long to come up with a fix, is likely to bolste calls for the company to change its approach to algorithmic ranking. The company recently brought back Instagram’s non-algorithmic feed partially in response to concerns about the impact its recommendations have on younger users. Meta is also facing the possibility of legislation that would regulate algorithms like the one used in News Feed.

E3 2022 is canceled, but might be back next year

Multiple publications are reporting that E3 2022 is fully canceled. Both the physical and a planned digital version of the gaming convention have been scrapped for this year, according to IGN and Variety. The Entertainment Software Association (ESA), which organizes the show, has officially confirmed to Engadget that E3 2022 is canceled, and provided an official statement. 

In January, the ESA announced that E3 would be an online-only event, citing concerns over "COVID-19 and its potential impact on the safety of exhibitors and attendees." According to today's statement, the ESA said "E3 will return in 2023."

The Association added that it "will devote all our energy and resources to delivering a revitalized physical and digital E3 experience next summer." The organization said it wants to "ensure that the revitalized showcase sets a new standard for hybrid industry events and fan engagement."

Next year's show will be presented "to E3 fans around the world live from Los Angeles," the ESA said. E3 2021 took place online, and in spite of some hiccups, the event saw the announcement of a ton of news. Though E3 has long been a huge and influential show, in the last decade, companies have increasingly shifted to doing things on their own schedules. The pandemic, which forced many companies to learn to host virtual events, only exacerbated the trend.

Here's the entire statement from the ESA:

E3 will return in 2023 with a reinvigorated showcase that celebrates new and exciting video games and industry innovations.

We previously announced that E3 would not be held in person in 2022 due to the ongoing health risks surrounding COVID-19.  Today, we announce that there will also be no digital E3 showcase in 2022.

Instead, we will devote all our energy and resources to delivering a revitalized physical and digital E3 experience next summer. Whether enjoyed from the show floor or your favorite devices, the 2023 showcase will bring the community, media, and industry back together in an all-new format and interactive experience.

We look forward to presenting E3 to fans around the world live from Los Angeles in 2023.Look for more news and announcements soon.

Update (at 3:55pm ET): Added official statement from ESA after the organization sent confirmation after this story was published.

Xbox Game Pass will reportedly get a family plan

The days of getting kicked off of Xbox because a partner or family member decides to sign in from another room may soon be over. Microsoft is reportedly adding a family plan as a separate subscription tier to its Xbox Game Pass, according to Windows Central

Engadget reached out to Microsoft for confirmation of the news, but the company is keeping its lips sealed for now. “We are always looking for ways to improve the Game Pass experience and add more value for members, which includes regularly testing and refining features based on community feedback. However, we have nothing to announce at this time," wrote a Microsoft spokesperson in an email to Engadget.

Unlike Netflix, Spotify and many other subscription services, the Xbox Game Pass currently has no option for multiple users to share one account. This has been a common frustration amongst Xbox players over the years, particularly those who share a household with other people who love to play games. Xbox Game Pass subscriptions are tied to specific Xbox profiles and not specific devices, allowing players to sign-in from anywhere. While players can technically add a secondary Xbox console to their Game Pass subscription, the primary account holder must be signed in for the second person to access their games. Households with multiple gamers often get around this inconvenience by paying for multiple individual Game Pass subscriptions.

The family plan will reportedly allow up to five players on a single subscription and should debut later this year. It is unknown what the exact pricing will be, and whether the family plan will be exclusive to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, or include the other subscription tiers. 

A family plan will likely give Microsoft an extra edge over Sony Playstation, which this week announced a newly revamped set of subscription plans — none of which include a family plan — to compete with the Xbox Game Pass. 

As we’ve noted in the past, Microsoft has been very eager to grow its Xbox Game Pass subscriber base. The cloud gaming service is currently at 25 million subscribers as of this January. The company’s $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard is expected to close next summer, meaning popular titles like Call of Duty, Diablo and World of Warcraft are coming to Game Pass. It’s not surprising that one of the ways Microsoft will accommodate this larger subscriber base is by making it easier for households to share a subscription.