Jon Evans

Jon Evans
Jon Evans is a novelist, journalist, and software engineer. His novels have been published around the world, translated into several languages, and praised by The Times, The Economist, and the Washington Post. His journalism has appeared in Wired, Reader's Digest, The Guardian, The Globe & Mail, and The Times of India, and he writes a weekly column for TechCrunch. Jon also has a degree in electrical engineering and a decade of experience as a software developer, building everything from smartphone apps to billion-dollar asset-allocation services. CrunchBase profile →

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  • We Have Entered The Golden Age Of Hardware Hacking

    We Have Entered The Golden Age Of Hardware Hacking

    Hardware is the new hotness. This has been true for some years now: but today, the acorns planted by Arduino, TechShop, Kickstarter, lean prototyping, etc., are finally beginning to sprout into oaks. The best thing about this year’s Disrupt SF conference was that its Startup Alley boasted far fewer sugar-water SoLoMo apps…and many more nifty hardware start-ups. Read More

  • Let’s Fix The Internet

    Let’s Fix The Internet

    I hate to be the one to tell you this, but: we, the people of the Internet, have collectively run up a colossal amount of technical debt. Much of our online infrastructure consists of band-aid and/or legacy Rube Goldberg solutions hacked together with bubble gum and baling wire; and the only way to pay back technical debt is to fix it. The good news is, we’re finally doing just that. Read More

  • Twitter’s Huge Mistake

    Twitter’s Huge Mistake

    The worst tech news I read last week was: “Twitter CFO says a Facebook-style filtered feed is coming, whether you like it or not.” The horrified firestorm of condemnation that erupted in response was the first time I’ve ever seen anything like unanimity on my Twitter feed. Fortunately, it seems it’s not actually happening. (At least not any time soon.) Read More

  • When Old-Economy Jobs Become New-Economy Gigs

    When Old-Economy Jobs Become New-Economy Gigs

    I love the sharing economy because it’s efficient. Got some spare time? Become a TaskRabbit! Spare space? AirBNB it! A car and nowhere to go? Drive for Uber or Lyft! The taxi industry is a regulatory-capture nightmare. Disrupt ‘em ’til they’re dead! …But our 21st-century sharing-economy dream is beginning to look worryingly like a 19th-century robber-baron nightmare. Read More

  • Online Anonymity Will Soon Be The Only Kind We Have

    Online Anonymity Will Soon Be The Only Kind We Have

    Anonymity: it’s all the rage–Whisper, Secret–and it’s rage-inducing. A Brazilian court has ruled that Secret must be removed from app stores there, and existing installs remotely wiped. The UK’s House of Lords has recommended the end of online anonymity. As usual, judges and politicians don’t understand technology. Anonymity can used for awful things, yes… Read More

  • Women In Tech: It’s Not Just A Pipeline Problem

    Women In Tech: It’s Not Just A Pipeline Problem

    Why are there so embarrassingly few women in the tech industry? Repeat after me, robotically, defensively: “It’s a pipeline problem!” So says David Cohen of TechStars, echoing many others, e.g. Paul Graham and CNN. But come on, folks. We’re kidding ourselves if we pretend that’s the only obstacle here. The pipeline problem is very real; but so is the trapdoor problem. Read More

  • Do Software Engineers Get Enough Respect?

    Do Software Engineers Get Enough Respect?

    “For software engineers, life must seem like it keeps getting better,” cheerleads CNet. Glassdoor agrees: our median salary is now $85K, and six figures in San Francisco. And everyone predicts that demand for our talents is skyrocketing. So what is one to make of a recent claim that, as a class, we are downtrodden, disrespected, and disenfranchised? …Actually, the guy kind of… Read More

  • John McAfee In Crazytown

    John McAfee In Crazytown

    “The press has portrayed me alternately as a mad genius or a mad psychotic genius,” began the infamous John McAfee, speaking at Def Con–and why break that streak now? I must admit: when he’s crazy, he’s crazy like a fox. Ultimately, though, as insane and riveting as his tale is, what’s most interesting to me is the way he has weirdly come to symbolize… Read More

  • Notes From Crazytown, Day Three: Black Hat Breakdown

    Notes From Crazytown, Day Three: Black Hat Breakdown

    So far this week, at Black Hat, I have learned to deeply mistrust: passwords, chip-and-PIN cards, USB devices, HTTPS connections, more than two billion phones, governments worldwide, all human societies, and my sense of the ridiculous. You should mistrust all those too! Sorry. What follows is a summary of the most eyebrow-raising talks I attended or heard about: Read More

  • Notes From Crazytown, Day Two: How To Fix Everything

    Notes From Crazytown, Day Two: How To Fix Everything

    Did you know the CIA has a venture fund? Of course the CIA has a venture fund. It’s called In-Q-Tel, and yesterday its Chief Information Security Officer, Dan Geer, a world-weary man with white Wolverine sideburns, stepped forth from the shadows to give the keynote address at Black Hat. It was a remarkable speech and I want to signal-boost it. Read More

  • Notes From Crazytown, Day One: The Business Of Fear

    Notes From Crazytown, Day One: The Business Of Fear

    Can your computer be hacked? Yep. Can your phone be hacked? Yep. Have your passwords been harvested? Very possibly. (The NYT just reported that one Russian group has more than a billion, though it’s unclear how many are salted and hashed.) So how worried should you be, exactly? …Good luck getting a real answer to that. Almost nobody has a strong incentive to give you one. Read More

  • Dear America, Would You Please Give Edward Snowden His Medal Of Freedom Already?

    Dear America, Would You Please Give Edward Snowden His Medal Of Freedom Already?

    2013: “A government task force is preparing legislation that would pressure companies such as Face¬≠book and Google to enable law enforcement officials to intercept online communications as they occur.” 2014: “Politically, it’s plutonium now for a member of Congress in this environment to be supporting something that would enhance the government’s ability to… Read More

  • Talk Private To Me: Free, Worldwide, Encrypted Voice Calls With Signal For iPhone

    Talk Private To Me: Free, Worldwide, Encrypted Voice Calls With Signal For iPhone

    Rejoice, O lovers of privacy! For Open WhisperSystems has released Signal for iPhone, which gives any and every iPhone wielder the power to fully encrypt their calls against prying ears — and is completely compatible with OWS’s time-tested and well-liked RedPhone for Android. Read More

  • How To Save Books

    How To Save Books

    It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was a time of triumph, it was a time of disaster, it was the publishing industry in 2014, just after mighty Amazon fired a new salvo in its war on traditional publishing by announcing its $10/month Kindle Unlimited book subscription service. At first glance this might seem useless and ridiculous: Read More

  • Eigenmorality And The Dark Enlightenment

    Eigenmorality And The Dark Enlightenment

    This is a post about good vs. evil and right vs. wrong, but don’t worry, it’s highly technical. Let’s start with Stormfront, the white-supremacist hate site that attracts circa 300,000 unique American visitors per month, and the recent analysis of its members (and follow-up) by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz in the New York Times. Some numbers you probably didn’t expect: Read More

  • The Great Fragmentation: We Are All Weirdos Now

    The Great Fragmentation: We Are All Weirdos Now

    “Technology isn’t a section in the newspaper any more. It’s the culture,” quoth Buzzfeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith, prompting some eyebrow-raising by Guardian and New York Times columnists. And here’s some more from TechCrunch…but my stance is a bit different. “The culture”? That’s an oxymoron. There is no such thing as majority… Read More

  • Who Watches The Watchmen?

    Who Watches The Watchmen?

    In honor of the Fourth of July, let’s talk a little about how horrifically paranoid and counterproductive the US government has become. And I’m not even talking about Congress! Instead I mean our old friend the No Such Agency, who, it turns out, have been singling out for special treatment anyone who displays any interest in tools which might make the NSA’s life more difficult. Read More

  • Foursquare, Quora, Path: What Becomes Of The Underachievers?

    Foursquare, Quora, Path: What Becomes Of The Underachievers?

    Foursquare, Quora, Path. Each is (or was) a Valley darling; each has millions of loyal users; each has raised more than $50 million, albeit nontraditionally, and been valued at $400 million or more — and each has recently done something remarkable. Foursquare and Path pivoted, hard. Quora, bizarrely, joined Y Combinator. Are they flailing, or is there method to this madness? Read More

  • Welcome To Extremistan! Please Check Your Career At The Door.

    Welcome To Extremistan! Please Check Your Career At The Door.

    Will robots and software eat all the jobs? No. Will robots and software eat your job? Yes, probably. Eventually. Rejoice! …for your grandchildren. You and your kids are likely to have a pretty tough time over the next few decades. Sorry about that. Read More

  • The Only Tragedy Of This War Is That One Day It Will End

    The Only Tragedy Of This War Is That One Day It Will End

    Did you know that the book publishing industry is at war with itself? No, wait, you’re a TechCrunch reader, wrong question. Did you know that the book publishing industry still exists? …This is kind of an awkward time for those of us who love both books and technology. It’s almost like you can’t cheer for both. This week’s example: the ongoing dirty war between… Read More