5 things you need to know in Australian tech today

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The Tesla Model X 90D. Photo: Campbell Simpson

Oh, is it Wednesday already? Let’s do this.

1. Never mind the cost, feel the speed. Elon Musk flicked the switch to Steve Jobs mode in announcing the Tesla Model S P90D with Ludicrous mode will get you to the next set of traffic lights before everyone else by going from zero to 100km/h in 2.5 seconds. Yes, the LaFerrari and Porsche 918 Spyder are faster, but you can’t buy a new one of those cars, and even if you could, you’d be handing over more than the $A300,000 Tesla’s going to charge for a top of the line Australian version (note to self, in the US it’s $US135,500), while the base Model X 60D hits local roads for around $A130,000.

Tesla’s aiming to produce 80,000 cars this year, 29,000 more than 2015. Here’s what you need to know about the latest upgrades and here’s Musk explaining the differences. Meanwhile, Gizmodo’s Campbell Simpson has already been out and got his hands on one. His first impressions are here.

2. Goodbye Gawker. After 13 years, former pro-wrestler Hulk Hogan’s sex tape and Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel finally felled Nick Denton’s wild experiment in online journalism.

Denton said farewell in a final post called “How things work“, defending his legacy and achievements, recounting its demise. It’s well worth a read, whether in tech or a journalist, especially because he reminds us all of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos, arguing that Gawker was all about the sausage-making and not playing the usual trade press games.

Consider these lines:

Indeed, Gawker’s record for accuracy is excellent. For a site as reckless as it is purported to be, there have been no Jayson Blairs, no conflict-of-interest or plagiarism scandals, no career-ending corrections. The chief rule of establishment journalism that it violated to its detriment, it seems, is the one that recommends against pissing off billionaires.

Yes, there’s self pity in there, and farewell pot shots at Thiel too, but Gawker was spectacular gadfly from the wild early days of online publishing that will be missed, yet lives on via countless other titles.

3. Meet the Godzilla of drones. Speaking of fast electrical vehicles, meet “V1” by drone racing team Freedom – a 1.5 metre, 30kg drone they claim can take a 300kg payload and fly at 200km/h.

Peter Farquhar checked it out in Tassie recently on its initial flights. There’s even a snazzy video too.

4. Big Brother is catching the bus, with the NSW government giving the data it collects from Opal cards to apps so commuters know how full an approaching bus is.

Transport minister Andrew Constance said the data will be used to give real-time data to apps such as NextThere, which from today carries the feature, using icons to show how many people are on a bus. Other apps such as TripView, Metrarove, Arrivo and TripGo are expected to add the feature in coming updates. While it won’t solve the problem of delayed or missing busses, and then two showing up at once, the minister said it will help people choose when to travel on busy routes

5. Hands up if you bought Altium shares. Neither did we. Damned shame, because the share price has risen 11,000% in the last five years according to the AFR. Take that Sydney property. What’s their secret? They create software for others to design printed circuit boards, count Google, Philips and Tesla as clients and in the IoT era, that’s a winning combo. Altium just posted a net profit after tax for 2015-16 of $US23 million ($30.3 million). The Fin has the rest of the details here.

Enjoy the day. Find me on Twitter at @simonthomsen.

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