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.

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  • Uber Über Alles

    Uber Über Alles

    Oh, Uber. Such a great service…run by such short-sighted, thin-skinned executives. Clue: when people criticize you and/or your company, suck it up, take the criticism on board and apologize/adjust if warranted, then shut up and move on. Do not muse aloud, even at a quasi-off-the-record party, about forming million-dollar funds to attack and silence your critics. Read More

  • WhatsApp Partners With Open WhisperSystems To End-To-End Encrypt Billions Of Messages A Day

    WhatsApp Partners With Open WhisperSystems To End-To-End Encrypt Billions Of Messages A Day

    Good news for people who love privacy and security! Bad news for black-hat hackers and government surveillance agencies. WhatsApp, the wildly popular messaging app, has partnered with the crypto gurus at Open WhisperSystems to implement strong end-to-end encryption on all WhatsApp text messages–meaning not even Zuck himself to pry into your conversations, even if a court order demands it. Read More

  • Where I Went Wrong, Again

    Where I Went Wrong, Again

    Dear readers: can you believe I’ve been writing this weekly column for four years now? Me neither. But I have, and it’s time for my annual self-flagellation piece, in which I iterate over my opinions and predictions of the previous year, trumpet my triumphs, and confess all the things I got completely wrong. Read More

  • Disrupting Democracy

    Disrupting Democracy

    You have to grudgingly admire the black-hat political hackers who have pwned the American electoral system. First, entrench a two-party system; second, gerrymander districts into tortuous shapes; third, cultivate an electorate so polarized that no matter how much voters dislike their incumbent, they hate the alternative worse; fourth, profit! It’s elegant, horrifying brilliance. Read More

  • Why Is It Bad For Tech To Eat Jobs?

    Why Is It Bad For Tech To Eat Jobs?

    Most jobs suck. Yours probably doesn’t–after all, you’re a member of the highly educated, cutting-edge TechCrunch demographic–but most jobs, almost by definition, are done by people coerced by the fear of not having enough money into doing work they mostly don’t want to do. We should be ecstatic about the prospect of robots doing that work for us. Shouldn’t we? Read More

  • Bitcoin 2.0: Sidechains And Ethereum And Zerocash, Oh My!

    Bitcoin 2.0: Sidechains And Ethereum And Zerocash, Oh My!

    Strange, interesting, and wildly ambitious things are afoot in the world of Bitcoin and blockchains. I give you Zerocash, a completely anonymous currency; Ethereum, a blockchain platform designed to decentralize much of the Internet; and Sidechains, a proposal to accelerate the evolution of Bitcoin itself. Any one of these could conceivably become a very big deal. All three? Prick up your ears. Read More

  • You Too May Be A Victim Of Developaralysis

    You Too May Be A Victim Of Developaralysis

    Dear developers: Do you feel insecure because you’re only fluent in a mere eight programming languages used across three families of devices? Does exposure to yet another JavaScript framework make you shudder and wince? Have you postponed a pet project because you couldn’t figure out which cloud platform would be best for it? You too may suffer from Developaralysis. Be afraid. There… Read More

  • The Internet Of Someone Else’s Things

    The Internet Of Someone Else’s Things

    The Internet Of Things is coming. Rejoice! …Mostly. It will open our collective eyes to petabytes of real-time data, which we will turn into new insights and efficiencies. It will doubtless save lives. Oh, yes: and it will subtly redefine ownership as we know it. You will no longer own many of the most expensive and sophisticated items you possess. You may think you own them. But… Read More

  • Us vs. Them: What’s Wrong With You People?

    Us vs. Them: What’s Wrong With You People?

    Internet, we need to talk. In a nuanced, thoughtful, intelligent way. I don’t want this to turn into some kind of knee-jerk confrontation. But it will, won’t it? You’ll end up citing the Nazis while frothing at the mouth, won’t you? That’s what you do. Every. Single. Time. What’s wrong with you, Internet? Why can’t we just agree to disagree? By which… Read More

  • 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

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