Some of our favorite Lego sets are at all-time low prices for Prime Day 2024

On day two of Amazon's Prime Day sale, we're still seeing deals on some great Lego sets. True, Legos may be slightly outside our tech purview, but an unofficial poll tells us that most people who are into gadgets also tend to love building with Bricks. A few noteworthy sets are going for up to 30 percent off for Prime Day and we rounded up a few of our favorites here. And there are plenty more Lego Prime Day deals to check out before the shopping event is over.

This Star Wars Luke Skywalker's X-Wing Fighter is down to $35 from its list price of $50. It's recommended for builders aged nine and above and has 474 pieces so it should keep you and/or (pun not intended) your kids busy for a while. The X-Wing has a retractable landing gear and a pair of spring-loaded shooters. You can convert the wings to attack position with the press of a button. The kit comes with Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and General Dodonna minifigures that you can place in the cockpit, while R2-D2 has his very own spot on board.

Marvel fans may be interested in picking up an Iron Man Nano Gauntlet that's kitted out with the Infinity Stones. This set usually costs $69, but it's on sale for $49. This 765-piece kit is geared toward adult builders. It comes with a stand and descriptive tablet, so the idea is to keep this on display, perhaps in your office, living room or den. The gauntlet also has jointed fingers, so you can position them as you like (perhaps with the middle one raised in the direction of a completed Thanos build).

Lego's relatively new botanical sets are super popular as of late, and we're seeing some discounts on a few of those sets. The Icons Wildflower Bouquet set is 20 percent off for Prime Day and down to a record low of $48, while the adorable Icons Tiny Plants Building set is 21 percent off and down to $40.

Finally, for car lovers out there, you can snag this Lego Technic Porsche 911 RSR race car set for $126, down from its usual $180 price.

Your Prime Day Shopping Guide: See all of our Prime Day coverage. Shop the best Prime Day deals on Yahoo Life. Follow Engadget for Prime Day tech deals. Hear from Autoblog’s experts on the best Amazon Prime Day deals for your car, garage, and home, and find Prime Day sales to shop on AOL, handpicked just for you.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/some-of-our-favorite-lego-sets-are-at-all-time-low-prices-for-prime-day-2024-111510687.html?src=rss

UK antitrust officials join FTC in investigating Microsoft’s hiring of Inflection AI staff

The UK's antitrust watchdog is once again investigating Microsoft. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has opened a formal probe over the company's hiring of former Inflection AI staff and its licensing of the startup's tech. The initial phase one investigation will be wrapped up by September 11, at which point the CMA will determine whether to open a more in-depth (phase two) probe.

The agency will try to determine whether Microsoft attempted to avoid antitrust scrutiny by recruiting Inflection's staff and employing its tech but not buying the company outright. It will look at whether the moves "resulted in the creation of a relevant merger situation under the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002" and if that has, or is likely to have, a negative impact on competition in the UK.

"We are confident that the hiring of talent promotes competition and should not be treated as a merger,” Microsoft told Bloomberg in a statement. “We will provide the UK CMA with the information it needs to complete its inquiries expeditiously.”

Microsoft's Inflection strategy is also under the spotlight in the US. The Federal Trade Commission is investigating the situation.

Microsoft last week gave up its non-voting observer seat on OpenAI's board in what onlookers believed was an attempt to evade further antitrust scrutiny. Microsoft has invested over $10 billion into OpenAI — which has also drawn the attention of the FTC and CMA.

Meanwhile, the CMA and Microsoft are familiar foes. The antitrust agency heavily scrutinized Microsoft's $69 billion takeover of Activision Blizzard. The probe was the final hurdle the companies had to overcome before closing the deal.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/uk-antitrust-officials-join-ftc-in-investigating-microsofts-hiring-of-inflection-ai-staff-143243701.html?src=rss

UK antitrust officials join FTC in investigating Microsoft’s hiring of Inflection AI staff

The UK's antitrust watchdog is once again investigating Microsoft. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has opened a formal probe over the company's hiring of former Inflection AI staff and its licensing of the startup's tech. The initial phase one investigation will be wrapped up by September 11, at which point the CMA will determine whether to open a more in-depth (phase two) probe.

The agency will try to determine whether Microsoft attempted to avoid antitrust scrutiny by recruiting Inflection's staff and employing its tech but not buying the company outright. It will look at whether the moves "resulted in the creation of a relevant merger situation under the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002" and if that has, or is likely to have, a negative impact on competition in the UK.

"We are confident that the hiring of talent promotes competition and should not be treated as a merger,” Microsoft told Bloomberg in a statement. “We will provide the UK CMA with the information it needs to complete its inquiries expeditiously.”

Microsoft's Inflection strategy is also under the spotlight in the US. The Federal Trade Commission is investigating the situation.

Microsoft last week gave up its non-voting observer seat on OpenAI's board in what onlookers believed was an attempt to evade further antitrust scrutiny. Microsoft has invested over $10 billion into OpenAI — which has also drawn the attention of the FTC and CMA.

Meanwhile, the CMA and Microsoft are familiar foes. The antitrust agency heavily scrutinized Microsoft's $69 billion takeover of Activision Blizzard. The probe was the final hurdle the companies had to overcome before closing the deal.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/uk-antitrust-officials-join-ftc-in-investigating-microsofts-hiring-of-inflection-ai-staff-143243701.html?src=rss

Prime Day deals include $200 off the Razer Blade 14 gaming laptop

Amazon Prime Day may technically be two days long, but the discounts actually start before that. As it happens, just before Prime Day gets underway on July 16, we've spotted a decent discount on a Razer Blade 14 gaming laptop. This model (we'll get into the specs in a second) is available for a record low price of $2,500. That's $200 off the regular price of $2,700.

This version of the laptop has a 14-inch QHD+ 240Hz HDR display. Combine that with the AMD Ryzen 9 8945HS CPU, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 GPU and 32GB of DDR5 RAM and most games should look and run very nicely on this system. There's a respectable volume of storage too as it has a 1TB SSD.

We gave the latest Razer Blade 14 a score of 85 in our review. While we feel that it's pricey (this sale will take some of the sting out of that) and the lack of an SD card reader is a disappointment, it's a great gaming laptop overall. It has a great build, strong performance and better-than-anticipated battery life (it ran for a shade under seven hours in our testing). We liked the bright, high-refresh-rate display too and a built-in webcam shutter is always welcome.

In fact, the Razer Blade 14 is our current pick for the best high-end laptop for gaming and school. The blend of power and portability is tough to beat, especially when you factor in Razer's typically robust build quality.

Your Prime Day Shopping Guide: See all of our Prime Day coverage. Shop the best Prime Day deals on Yahoo Life. Follow Engadget for Prime Day tech deals. Hear from Autoblog’s experts on the best Amazon Prime Day deals for your car, garage, and home, and find Prime Day sales to shop on AOL, handpicked just for you.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/prime-day-deals-include-200-off-the-razer-blade-14-gaming-laptop-145218018.html?src=rss

Ooni flash sale includes 20 percent off Karu and Koda pizza ovens

Amazon Prime Day is right around the corner so summer deal season is in full swing, including on some manufacturers' own storefronts. Ooni is running a flash sale at the minute and the company has slashed 20 percent off the price of some of its pizza ovens, including the Karu 12 and Koda 12. The Karu 12 has dropped to $239, which is $60 off the regular price. The Koda 12, meanwhile, is $80 off at $319. The sale runs until July 17.

Ooni makes some of our picks for the best pizza ovens. While we generally recommend larger models, there's no harm in going for the Karu 12 or Koda 12 if you prefer to make smaller pies or want a more compact model for camping trips .

The Karu is a multi-fuel oven that uses your choice of wood, charcoal or gas to cook pizzas. Bear in mind that you'll need to purchase a gas burner separately if you prefer that fuel. The Karu 12 doesn't come with a peel either, unfortunately.

Ooni says the Karu 12 can reach temperatures of up to 950°F or 500°C and that it can hit the optimal baking temperature of 850°F or 450°C in just 15 minutes. From there, it'll take just 60 seconds to cook a pie. Along with baking pizzas, you can bake, roast and sear in the Karu 12. You can control the temperature by adjusting the airflow on the chimney. The oven weighs 26.lbs (12kg).

As for the Koda 12, that's a gas-powered model that comes with a regulator and hose to hook up to your propane tank (you'll still need to buy a peel separately though). It's also more compact than the Karu 12, as it weighs 20.4lbs (9.25kg).

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This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/ooni-flash-sale-includes-20-percent-off-karu-and-koda-pizza-ovens-180029123.html?src=rss

The first Olympic Esports Games will take place in Saudi Arabia in 2025

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced that the inaugural edition of the Olympic Esports Games will take place in Saudi Arabia in 2025 as part of a 12-year partnership with the country's National Olympic Committee. The host city, venue(s) and dates are yet to be determined as are the games that will be included and the qualification process for each.

The IOC says that international federations and national Olympic committees that are already involved in a digital version of their sport and esports in general will be its first options for partners. The organization took a similar approach to a trial event that took place last year, which saw players compete in the likes of Gran Turismo, Fortnite, Just Dance, Zwift and even mobile games barely anyone had ever heard of.

That said, the IOC may be looking to bring other legitimately popular esports into the fold. According to L'Equipe, the organization is in talks with the publishers of Rocket League, Street Fighter and the biggest esport of all, League of Legends, to include those games. The Olympic Esports Games may take place every two years, with South Korea and the US said to be in discussions to host future installments.

The IOC had been mulling for years whether to run an official esports event under its banner, and the organization is finally going for it. However, opting for Saudi Arabia as the inaugural Olympic Esports Games host is a contentious choice given the country's dismal human rights record

The nation has been using entertainment, sports and esports in an attempt to clean up its image. It's been plowing billions of dollars into esports and gaming companies, forging partnerships with publishers to run the pro circuits for certain games and hosting the Esports World Cup, which is currently taking place with a $60 million prize pool. A state-funded company now owns 40 percent of the esports market, according to a New York Times report.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-first-olympic-esports-games-will-take-place-in-saudi-arabia-in-2025-154637804.html?src=rss

X is in hot water in the EU over blue checkmarks and ads

X is the latest notable tech company to land in trouble with the European Union. The European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm, has revealed the preliminary findings of an investigation. It claims that X has violated the Digital Services Act (DSA) in a number of ways.

The platform’s approach to paid verification has come into the EU’s crosshairs. Officials say that the practice “does not correspond to industry practice and deceives users.” It added that, since anyone can pay to get a blue checkmark, it’s difficult for folks to determine the authenticity of accounts (a browser extension can tell you which accounts are verified because of notability and which paid for a checkmark). The EU also said there’s evidence of bad actors using checkmarks to hoodwink people.

X's problems with verification stem back several years. But at least when it was known as Twitter, the blue check was a (reasonably) reliable form of assurance that an account was the real deal. Paid checkmarks, and the increase in visibility that Premium users get, seems to have led to an increase in scams and spam — just as many predicted.

Next up, the EU took issue with X’s alleged lack of advertising transparency. It claimed the company doesn’t have a reliable, searchable ad repository that enables researchers to look into “emerging risks brought about by the distribution of advertising online.”

In addition, the EU said X is violating the DSA by failing to give researchers sufficient access to public data. “In particular, X prohibits eligible researchers from independently accessing its public data, such as by scraping, as stated in its terms of service,” the bloc argued in a statement. In the EU’s view, researchers are either dissuaded from carrying out projects or forced to pay “disproportionately high fees” to do so given the way that X has set up its application programming interfaces (APIs).

"Back in the day, Blue Checks used to mean trustworthy sources of information. Now with X, our preliminary view is that they deceive users and infringe the DSA," Thierry Breton, the EU's internal market commissioner, said in a statement. "We also consider that X’s ads repository and conditions for data access by researchers are not in line with the DSA transparency requirements. X has now the right of defense — but if our view is confirmed we will impose fines and require significant changes."

If X is found guilty, it will face fines of up to six percent of its global annual revenue — so we may get a sense of just how much money the now privately held company is making these days. The EU may also direct X to take steps to ensure compliance with the DSA and impose further periodic fines if the company does not do so.

The EU hasn't been shy in taking tech companies to task under the DSA and its sibling legislation, the Digital Markets Act. Meta and Apple could both be on the hook for multibillion-dollar fines if preliminary findings of investigations hold up.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/x-is-in-hot-water-in-the-eu-over-blue-checkmarks-and-ads-145003468.html?src=rss

The second-gen Ring Indoor Cam is 50 percent off for Amazon Prime Day

Amazon Prime Day is usually a good time to pick up a new Ring video doorbell and other security gear. One of the best Prime Day deals at the moment is the second-gen Ring Indoor Cam for $30, which is 50 percent off the usual price. The latest model of the camera allows you to get a live look at what's going on in your home from wherever you are with 1080p HD video. There's color night vision support as well.

When the Ring Indoor Camera detects movement, you'll get a real-time alert. You'll be able to select the area of coverage so you only get a heads up about significant movement. You can receive notifications via your phone or an Echo smart speaker and watch video from the camera on an Echo Show.

One handy feature will let you rewind the footage to a few seconds before an incident that triggered a motion event took place. This advanced pre-roll function will help you get a better understanding of what happened, Amazon suggests.

The camera comes with a swivel mount, so you can place it on a wall. But you'll need to be judicious about positioning. The camera is not battery-powered so you'll have to plug it into an outlet.

If you subscribe separately to the Ring Protection Plan, you'll be able to record all videos and review stored footage for up to 180 days (but just seven days for still images). You'll have the option of sharing videos too. The deal is part of a broader sale on Ring gear.

Your Prime Day Shopping Guide: See all of our Prime Day coverage. Shop the best Prime Day deals on Yahoo Life. Follow Engadget for Prime Day tech deals. Hear from Autoblog’s experts on the best Amazon Prime Day deals for your car, garage, and home, and find Prime Day sales to shop on AOL, handpicked just for you.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-second-gen-ring-indoor-cam-is-50-percent-off-for-amazon-prime-day-173058773.html?src=rss

Joby Aviation says it completed a 523-mile test flight of a hydrogen-powered air taxi

Joby Aviation says a hydrogen-powered version of its electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft successfully completed a 523-mile test flight. The only byproduct from the prototype, which has a liquid hydrogen fuel cell and hydrogen-electric propulsion system, was water vapor. The company suggested that the test flight points toward a future of emissions-free regional aviation in an industry that still relies heavily on fossil fuels.

This is believed to be the first liquid hydrogen-powered eVTOL forward flight. Joby kept the same shell and most of the guts of its battery-electric air taxi but it reduced the battery load and installed a fuel tank that can store up to 40 kilograms of liquid hydrogen. This is pumped into a fuel cell system to produce electricity, water and heat. The electricity generated from the fuel cell powers the air taxi's six electric motors while the batteries deliver extra power during take off and landing. 

Joby is set to start commercial operations of its air taxi as soon as 2025. While the eVTOL doesn't need a runway, it's limited to a range of 100 miles before it needs to be charged up, making it a good option for short hops like from your home to the airport. Should the hydrogen-powered model ever go into production, it could result in emission-free inter-city aviation that's faster than travelling by road or traditional planes. It'll be quicker to refuel a hydrogen-powered air taxi than to recharge an eVTOL too.

“Imagine being able to fly from San Francisco to San Diego, Boston to Baltimore or Nashville to New Orleans without the need to go to an airport and with no emissions except water," Joby founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt said in a statement. "That world is closer than ever, and the progress we’ve made towards certifying the battery-electric version of our aircraft gives us a great head start as we look ahead to making hydrogen-electric flight a reality."

One major barrier in bringing this vision to fruition is obtaining enough sustainably sourced liquid hydrogen. As Inc. notes, that was a major factor in preventing Universal Hydrogen, a now-shuttered startup, from finding success. That company and ZeroAvia completed test flights of hydrogen-powered planes over the last couple of years. 

However, Bevirt is confident that there will be sufficient support from governments for hydrogen and green hydrogen supply and distribution. The US allocated $7 billion to set up green hydrogen hubs across the country under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. "The world is shifting to a hydrogen economy and aviation is one of the most important use cases for that green hydrogen supply," Bevirt told Inc.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/joby-aviation-says-it-completed-a-523-mile-test-flight-of-a-hydrogen-powered-air-taxi-154111466.html?src=rss

Apple Prime Day deals are here early with the M2 Macbook Air discounted to a new low of $799

Here's a juicy early Amazon Prime Day deal: you can snag the base, 13-inch M2 MacBook Air for only $799 right now. The laptop gleaned a $200 discount as part of Prime Day Apple deals, and the savings apply to all color options so you can score one in that beautiful Midnight finish. That's the price for the models without AppleCare+ — you'll have to spend just under $1,000 if you want that add-on.

This model isn't exactly top of the MacBook Air line anymore. It's been supplanted by the M3-powered MBA, which is now our pick for the best MacBook overall. But if you'd like to save some cash and still have a very capable Apple laptop to carry around, the M2 variant is our choice for the best budget MacBook — this latest discount just makes it even easier to recommend.

Engadget's Devindra Hardawar called the M2 Air a “near-perfect Mac” in his 2022 review and gave it a score of 96. One of the first things you'll notice is the 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display, which can reach a commendable 500 nits of brightness and has a 60Hz refresh rate. The inclusion of a 1080p webcam is welcome, while the triple-mic array does a solid job of capturing your voice for your calls. The speakers are impressive too, especially for a laptop that's just 11.3 millimeters thin and weighs only 2.7 pounds.

Despite that slender form factor, Apple has still kept fans of physical headphone jacks happy by retaining the 3.5mm port. There are two USB-C Thunderbolt ports and a MagSafe charging connector as well. You shouldn't have to worry too much if you leave your charger at home when you head to the office — the M2 MacBook Air's battery should easily last for an entire workday unless you're carrying out very power-hungry work like video editing.

The M2 MBA should handle everyday tasks with relative ease, and you'll be able to play a bunch of App Store and Steam games on it too (good luck doing anything else ever again if you install Balatro). One of our main reservations with the base M2 Air is that there's only 8GB of memory. That doesn't seem quite enough these days and unfortunately, Apple charges a premium for RAM upgrades. Still, if you just want a MacBook Air that checks pretty much all the boxes most people will need for a few years, this is a great option.

It's also worth noting that there are some cool features on the way when macOS Sequoia arrives later this year, including the ability to mirror your iPhone on your Mac and a new Passwords app. Apple Intelligence features are also coming to M1 and later Macs.

Your Prime Day Shopping Guide: See all of our Prime Day coverage. Shop the best Prime Day deals on Yahoo Life. Follow Engadget for Prime Day tech deals. Hear from Autoblog’s experts on the best Amazon Prime Day deals for your car, garage, and home, and find Prime Day sales to shop on AOL, handpicked just for you.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/apple-prime-day-deals-are-here-early-with-the-m2-macbook-air-discounted-to-a-new-low-of-799-140716416.html?src=rss