5 things you need to know in Australian tech today

Songlines by Karla Dickens on the Sydney Opera House. Source: Vivid Sydney.

Hello, it’s week’s end, Vivid Sydney starts tonight, and here’s what’s happening in the tech world.

1. Australia’s 3 biggest technology challenges. Our tech editor, Harry Tucker, left the building yesterday, and left readers with his final thoughts on where to next for the sector. His choices on the three biggest may surprise you. Yes, the NBN is front and centre, but then he gets into culture and how humans (remember them?) function within a rapidly expanding new arena. Read his provocative thoughts here.

2. We’ve put together a list of Australia’s 20 hottest startups.
The only insight we can offer in order to be successful is pick a name that starts with S or I. The Smart Kids On The Block are here.

The TAG Connected.

3. The watch we’ve been waiting for is finally here. Move over Apple, Tag Heuer’s smartwatch, Connected, has finally landed in Australia. It’s already a global phenomenon for the luxury Swiss watch brand, so if you didn’t pre-order one, you might have to wait another month or two to get one around your wrist. Business Insider is going to take a longer look at it soon, but one thing we love about the Android-friendly $2000 timepiece is the watch face is designed by the company’s ambassadors. We hear Australian Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo is currently working on his design.

4. You know the fight between the Kaiju and Jaegers in Pacific Rim? That’s how the battle between Gawker founder Nick Denton and billionaire Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel is shaping up after the latter admitted he secretly funded Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against the media company, which earned the ex-wrestler $140 million in damages.

Thiel told The New York Times he was backing lawsuits against Gawker Media trying to shut it down, because it “ruined people’s lives for no reason”.

Denton’s written an open letter to Thiel, challenging him to a public debate about free speech.

“At the very least, it will improve public understanding of the interplay of media and power,” it says.

But to give you some idea of how tough the next stage of the Hogan fight is going to get as it heads to the appeals court, here’s a warning shot from the Gawker boss to his nemesis from the letter:

We, and those you have sent into battle against us, have been stripped naked, our texts, online chats and finances revealed through the press and the courts; in the next phase, you too will be subject to a dose of transparency. However philanthropic your intention, and careful the planning, the details of your involvement will be gruesome.

Read more here.

Meanwhile, BI’s Matt Rosoff has made his feelings known, arguing that Mark Zuckerberg should put his money where is mouth is and throw Peter Thiel off Facebook’s board.

5. Speaking of fights, it’s Google 1, Oracle 0 in the first round. The $9 billion lawsuit over whether Google violated Oracle’s copyright with its Android operating system is over, with a jury finding in the search giant’s favour.

There was a lot at stake in this decision over whether Google pinched Java, because if its defence of fair use was rejected, a whole bunch of startups and developers using Java, along with a bunch of other software, could have been facing bills for copyright breach and the notion of open source development would have been threatened. That has the potential to stifle software innovation.

Oracle is expected to appeal, so the battle’s over, but the war still has a long way to run. The details are here.

BONUS ITEM: Vivid starts tonight. Here are 5 tips from Canon photographers on how to take great pictures.

* Disclosure: Allure Media, which publishes Business Insider, also has the Australian licences for Gawker sites, including Gizmodo.

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