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Home and garden news: A reimagined home accessories line, the return of the parlour room and a new dining space in Banff – The Globe and Mail




Jewellery for the home

Vitaly has introduced a curated selection of home accessories made from aluminum, available online and at its Toronto and Los Angeles stores.Handout

The Canadian accessories brand Vitaly is taking its edgy hardware beyond the jewellery box. Known for contemporary styles with an industrial aesthetic, the brand has introduced a curated selection of home accessories available online and at its Toronto and Los Angeles stores. “We’ve known for a long time that we wanted to reimagine everyday household objects through our own design lens. During the pandemic, we all spent a lot of time in our houses thinking about the objects we were using daily to help keep us calm and grounded,” says Vitaly creative director Zack Vitiello. Meant to be displayed individually or together as a set, the collection includes an ashtray, incense holder, coaster and a joint holder, all made of aluminum. A handsome catchall with curved, molten edges does double-duty as a display for Vitaly’s chains, rings and bracelets.

Vitaly, 505 Queen St. W., Toronto, 416-901-7467; 7716 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, 323-879-9346,



Parlour trick

Parlours are back in fashion, and Atlanta-based interior designer Bradley Odom recommends delineating them from the rest of the home.Mali Azima/Handout

As we rethink how we entertain at home, some designers say that the parlour room is making a comeback. Traditionally, this formal setting was reserved for receiving guests. Today, it’s more a multifunction space suitable for unwinding, from reading in the morning or having cocktails in the evening. “It’s a comfortable and beautiful place without the distraction of modern technology,” Atlanta-based interior designer Bradley Odom says. In fashioning your own parlour, Odom advises delineating it from the rest of the home. “I think it’s also ideal to create some separation from the rest of the house to really emphasize that it is a space to unwind and enjoy the company of others with less distraction from the banalities of daily life.” Looking to the gathering spaces in hotels for inspiration, Odom suggests adding ambient lighting, stocking a bar area and incorporating dark, rich tones. “In the best-case scenario, the room is really enveloping in its efforts to create the parlour effect,” he says.


Big in Japan

Hello Sunshine is a retro-inspired Japanese restaurant and karaoke bar in Banff.Chris Amat

Two firms have teamed up to bring a fresh new dining space to Banff. Designed in partnership of Frank Architecture ( and Little Giant Studio (, Hello Sunshine ( is a retro-inspired Japanese restaurant and karaoke bar that juxtaposes Japanese psychedelia with a spaghetti western set in a mountain cabin. The result is a distinct design experience that brings the unexpected to Banff National Park.


Hollywood feature

Dear Future spans five decades of industrial designer and architect Gaetano Pesce’s work, including new and historic pieces and contemporary re-editions.Handout

In Los Angeles, contemporary design gallery the Future Perfect ( has curated the city’s first solo exhibition for Italian artist, industrial designer and architect Gaetano Pesce. Debuting during L.A. Art Week and open by appointment until the end this month, Dear Future spans over five decades of Pesce’s designs including new works, historic pieces and contemporary re-editions. These include La Mamma, a curvaceous armchair designed in 1969, River Table, a rare work from 2012, and the debut of a new series called Multicolored Lamps with Rocks. The exhibition is housed in the Goldwyn House, the new Los Angeles flagship for the Future Perfect and former home of movie producer Samuel Goldwyn. Throughout the grand Hollywood Hills mansion, guests will discover the work of other designers in situ, including a dazzling disco chair by Rachel Shillander and a garden filled with of one-of-a-kind sculptures by Dan John Anderson.

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Fresh cut

Tobisho SR-1 secateurs feature a locking mechanism that is easy to use, even with gloves on.Jo-Ann Richards/Handout

With the first day of spring just days away, gardeners across the country will be prepping to prune. At the Gardener’s Kit, which has stores in Vancouver and Victoria, owner Susanne Osmond says that a pair of Japanese secateurs selected for your hand size make for a comfortable experience, adding that these secateurs feature a locking mechanism that is easy to use, even with gloves on. “It never accidentally engages while you are working and you can lock them with one hand, if your other hand is full, by pushing them closed against your hip,” she says. For small- to medium-sized hands, Osmond recommends the Tobisho SR-1 Secateurs, a lightweight and well-balanced pair based on the traditional A-Type shape and constructed from one piece of Yasugi steel.

Tobisho SR-1 Secateurs, $145 at Gardener’s Kit (

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Is Shimano about to ditch derailleur hangers? Patent reveals direct-mount derailleur design



Shimano looks to be following SRAM with a direct-mount derailleur design

A patent application filed by Shimano appears to show that the brand is working on an integrated rear derailleur, similar to what we’ve seen on SRAM’s new T-Type Eagle Transmission.

The patent drawing shows a clamp design with the derailleur fitting directly onto the rear dropout, removing the need for a derailleur hanger, and held in place by the thru-axle.


The patent application hints at Shimano moving to a design similar to SRAM’s direct-mount T-Type rear derailleur.

However, as with any patent application, concrete details are limited. It does, however, provide another hint as to where the future of high-end drivetrains may lie.

Here’s what we know so far.

What is SRAM T-Type?

SRAM’s new T-Type Eagle Transmission uses a direct-mount rear derailleur. Ian Linton / Our Media

Before, we look at Shimano’s patent, let’s quickly cast an eye back at SRAM’s new T-Type Eagle Transmission, launched only last week.

In one of the most significant developments in drivetrain design in a number of years, T-Type Eagle combines SRAM’s existing Universal Derailleur Hanger standard with a new, direct-mount rear derailleur.

The new derailleur has no B-tension or limit screw adjustment, and doesn’t need a derailleur hanger. Instead, it mounts directly to the bike’s frame at the dropout.

The derailleur has user-replaceable components and, all told, SRAM says the new T-Type Transmission is intended to increase drivetrain robustness and reliability, improve shifting under load and offer easier setup. (How does it perform? Read our SRAM T-Type Eagle review).

So what about Shimano?

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What has Shimano patented?

Shimano’s hanger patent drawing, showing the thru-axle threaded into the frame. Shimano

Shimano’s patent drawing shows a design for the mounting of a derailleur “coaxially” to the rear wheel of a bike.

Shimano says the purpose of the patent is “to provide a rear derailleur with improved usability”.

The derailleur mount is attached coaxially to the rear axle. Shimano

Key to this is what Shimano describes as an “‘angular position structure”. This looks similar to a B-gap screw on the rear of the mount and will likely be used for the initial setup of the rear derailleur.

This could also suggest that Shimano’s design is intended to work with different cassette sizes. By comparison, SRAM’s T-Type derailleur forgoes the B-gap screw as it is designed to specifically work with a 10-52t cassette.

A screw is used to set the angular adjustment of the derailleur. Shimano

Shimano says the B-gap screw improves usability because it “allows for easy adjustment of the angular position of the rear derailleur relative to the frame of the bicycle”.

The patent application shows the setup tool needed. This measures the number of teeth on the cassette to help line up the derailleur correctly.

The patent document also specifies the thickness of the two arms that fit around the dropout. It says these arms will have a radial thickness of at least 2mm to increase the rigidity of the rear derailleur.

How does Shimano’s patent compare to SRAM T-Type?

Is Shimano working on a direct-mount rear derailleur? Shimano

Shimano’s patent depicts a similar-looking design to SRAM’s T-Type rear derailleur.

Notably, Shimano’s drawing shows two arms sandwiching the rear dropout.

SRAM’s T-Type is mounted around the axle, enabling it to work with a wide range of bikes that use the UDH dropout. Ian Linton / Our Media

As with the T-Type mount, Shimano’s patent drawing shows the rear axle screwing into a thread used to mount the derailleur, centring the derailleur around a constant point of reference.

Ahead of launching the T-Type Eagle Transmission, SRAM introduced the Universal Derailleur Hanger dropout standard in 2019.

A bike must use UDH in order to be compatible with SRAM T-Type’s Hangerless Interface and, in turn, accept the T-Type rear derailleur.

Shimano’s drawings hint at a similar design, though at this stage we’re unable to comment on how it might influence frame design and, significantly, any cross-compatibility with SRAM’s UDH standard.

Will Shimano go direct-mount?

Shimano’s drawing shows the design depicted on a mountain bike. Shimano

This patent application suggests Shimano may add a true direct-mount option to its mountain bike range.

On the one hand, Shimano appears to be following SRAM, but this would not be Shimano’s first foray into direct-mount derailleurs – at least in name.

Shimano’s Direct-Mount Rear Derailleur (DRD) standard, which debuted in 2012, replaced the upper link of traditional hangers, connecting the frame to the upper pivot of compatible derailleurs.

Shimano’s existing Direct-Mount Rear Derailleur (DRD) design replaced the upper link of traditional hangers. Shimano

However, this still sees the derailleur mounted below the dropout.

Shimano’s latest patent shows the first design from the Japanese firm whereby the derailleur is mounted directly to the axle/dropout.

Will we see Shimano’s patent come to life?

Well, we’ll have to wait and see on that one. A patent application doesn’t guarantee an end product and, while Shimano’s application was published in June 2022, we have no way of knowing whether anything has progressed since then.

But, given SRAM’s recent move with the public launch of T-Type, a direct-mount counter-punch from Shimano seems more likely than not.


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Microsoft Rolls Out New Version of Teams



For those who turn to tech stock leader Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and its Teams app for getting together with colleagues, today was a big day. Microsoft rolled out a new version and, with it, detailed monthly average users (MAUs) for the tool. Investors, however, weren’t particularly pleased, as Microsoft slipped slightly in Monday’s trading.

First off, the big score: Microsoft revealed that 280 million users a month are actively putting Teams to work. That figure is up from 270 million back in January and up from 250 million in July 2021. It’s also said to be about 14 times the users that Salesforce’s (NASDAQ:CRM) Slack boasts. Either way, that’s a lot of workers, but Microsoft didn’t stop there. It also noted that it was “…reimagining Teams from the ground up” to ultimately produce a newer, better Teams. The improved version would require fewer resources to run and also work better overall.

The new version of Teams is not only twice as fast as the previous versions, but it also requires just half the computing resources to run. Thus, those who keep Teams running in the background while working on documents, spreadsheets, or whatever will see better performance while they work. It also uses 70% less disc space, allowing more documents and spreadsheets on your local drives.

Overall, Microsoft stock is considered a Strong Buy by analyst consensus based on 26 Buy recommendations against four Holds and one Sell recommendation. Further, with an average price target of $292.48, Microsoft stock comes with 5.83% upside potential.




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Warner Bros brawler Multiversus to go offline in June 2023



MultiVersus, the online competitive platform fighting game from Warner Bros. and Player First Games will be temporarily closing its doors on 25 June 2023. The title, which features a number of characters from Warner Bros.-owned properties like Looney Tunes, DC Comics, Game of Thrones, Scooby-Doo, and several others, will be pulled offline with an aim to relaunch in early 2024, according to a statement from the company.

The news has come as a surprise to many, as the free-to-play game had been operating continuously since July 2022, with the ability to purchase virtual currencies, cosmetic items, and pricey ‘Founders Packs’ that offered a bounty of items and character unlocks. New characters were introduced somewhat regularly, and two seasons of Battle Pass content were offered.

When Multiversus closes in June 2023, it will have been in operation for almost a full year.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that this opening phase was framed as an ‘open beta’, and Player First Games appears to have no qualms in treating it as such. The game went through a closed beta stage in early 2022, before the ‘open beta’ began in July 2022.


Though the game saw particularly high player uptake when the open beta first launched – over 20 million players – by the end of 2022 it feels as if the player population – as well as new content – had dwindled.

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In a statement, Multiversus director Tony Huynh said that the studio knows ‘there’s still a lot of work to do’ on the game.

‘We have a clearer view of what we need to focus on, specifically the content cadence of new characters, maps, and modes to give you more ways to enjoy the game, along with updated netcode and more matchmaking improvements. We’ll also be reworking the progression system based on your feedback and looking at new ways for you to connect with your friends in the game.

After 25 June 2023, all online functionality in Multiversus will be unavailable, although offline training room and local multiplayer match functionality will still be available, along with access to any characters and cosmetic items that players have already unlocked.

Huynh assured that any and all progress that players have already unlocked in Multiversus would be carried over when the game relaunched next year.

A variety of ‘new content, features, and modes’ were promised for the 2024 relaunch.

We found Multiversus to be an entertaining take on the platform fighting genre, with some clever and interesting design choices that separated it from its competitors, and made for a more aggressive, dynamic game. Its focus on catering to high-level competitive play, despite the game’s clear intention to pull a broad, general audience with its characters, was much appreciated and seemingly well-received.

Though the temporary closure of the game is disappointing, given the dwindling playerbase, perhaps it’s what Multiversus needs to try and build in the longevity it needs to survive in a genre and community so heavily fixated on Nintendo‘s Super Smash Bros. series.



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