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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  • 42: The answer to life, the universe and education Crunch Network

    42: The answer to life, the universe and education

    “We believe that IT has nothing to do with math and physics… it is more artistic than scientific,” says Nicolas Sadirac, as he cheerfully slaughters whole herds of sacred cows. “Knowledge is not useful any more, because IT advances in revolutionary ways, not iterative ones… we ask our students not to learn, just to solve the problem.” Oh, yes, and… Read More

  • All the cool kids are doing Ethereum now Crunch Network

    All the cool kids are doing Ethereum now

    In the beginning the Prophet Satoshi brought us Bitcoin. And the cryptogeeks and libertarians looked upon it, and said lo, we smile upon this, for it is good, and decentralized, and solves the Byzantine Generals Problem. For a time all was well. But then came wailing and gnashing of teeth and wearing of sackcloth. And then came the Prophet Vitalik, bearing Ethereum; and lo, it was even… Read More

  • Power laws rule everything around me Crunch Network

    Power laws rule everything around me

    We live in a time of great polarization. Politically, in nations across the world, both the left and the far right grow more numerous, and draw further away from the mainstream establishment, every year. Economically, the rich continue to separate themselves from the poor, as the very rich do from the rich. And in tech, of course, we increasingly live in a “winner-take-most” world. Read More

  • VR is terrible for traditional storytelling Crunch Network

    VR is terrible for traditional storytelling

    “But among them was this poor Earthling, and his head was encased in a steel sphere which he could never take off. There was only one eyehole through which he could look, and welded to that eyehole were six feet of pipe… He was also strapped to a steel lattice which was bolted to a flatcar on rails, and there was no way he could turn his head.” — Kurt Vonnegut… Read More

  • On the dark art of software estimation Crunch Network

    On the dark art of software estimation

    “How long will it take?” demand managers, clients, and executives. “It takes as long as it takes,” retort irritated engineers. They counter: “Give us an estimate!” And the engineers gather their wits, call upon their experience, contemplate the entrails of farm animals, throw darts at a board adorned with client/manager/executive faces, and return–a… Read More

  • The FBI is working hard to keep you unsafe Crunch Network

    The FBI is working hard to keep you unsafe

    Did you know that the US government is sitting on its own Strategic Zero-Day Reserve? A “zero-day” is a software vulnerability that allows adversaries to bypass or reduce security restrictions; lets them hack systems which use that software, basically. These are not restricted to shady criminal hackers. They are strategic weapons in the hands of nation-states, including America. Read More

  • We should be worried about job atomization, not job automation Crunch Network

    We should be worried about job atomization, not job automation

    In the future, machines will do tedious, repetitive work for us, and do more of it than humans ever could, simultaneously increasing economic output and liberating humans everywhere from drudgery. We all know what that means: Disaster! Dystopia! Catastrophe! Everybody panic, the robots are stealing our jobs! We’re dooooooomed! Read More

  • Dear Facebook, why are Facebook Comments so unremittingly terrible? Crunch Network

    Dear Facebook, why are Facebook Comments so unremittingly terrible?

    For long months now, Facebook Comments have been riddled by some of the most transparent, eye-roll-inducing “I make a good salary working from home” spam you’ve ever seen. Every mail service can filter it out; but Facebook? Home to cutting-edge AI research, massively scalable services, some of the smartest software people in the world? Nope, spam appears to be beyond… Read More

  • Hollywood vs. VR Crunch Network

    Hollywood vs. VR

    Let us all take a moment to celebrate the remarkable resilience of Hollywood. As “the music industry finds itself fighting over pennies while waving goodbye to dollars,” to quote the New York Times; as the publishing industry finds itself increasingly eclipsed by Amazon; as “the number of people watching TV is falling off a cliff,” as Business Insider puts it —… Read More

  • This war on math is still bullshit Crunch Network

    This war on math is still bullshit

    In the wake of Paris, San Bernardino, and now Brussels, the encryption debate has become such a potent cocktail of horror, idiocy, and farce that it has become hard to tease out any rational threads of discussion. There is so much stupidity that I hardly know where to begin; but let’s start with the farce. Everybody loves a farce, right? Read More

  • These are testing times: mavericks vs. ice people Crunch Network

    These are testing times: mavericks vs. ice people

    One of my earliest engineering jobs, before I fled hardware in favor of the (relative) ease and lucre of software, was in chip design. I remember being shocked when I learned just how much of the processor in question was devoted to test circuitry. Why waste so much on testing, I thought, instead of just getting it right the first time? Oh, how young and incredibly stupid I was. Read More

  • Technology and the laws of power Crunch Network

    Technology and the laws of power

    Is the tech industry partly responsible for the rise of Donald Trump? That’s what John Robb, who’s always worth reading, suggests in a series of recent posts, citing the great Nassim Taleb in support. His vision: “The nation-state as we’ve known it is rapidly hollowing out … this century’s spike in globalization, financialization, and technological change… Read More

  • On the war between hacker culture and codes of conduct Crunch Network

    On the war between hacker culture and codes of conduct

    Did you know that a Code of Conduct war is underway in the world of open-source software development? I realize that this sounds ridiculous. Codes of Conduct boil down to: “a) don’t be an asshole, b) this is how we define ‘asshole’ around these parts”. Who could argue with that? And yet this has become eruptively controversial — and with good reason. Read More

  • After The Gold Rush Crunch Network

    After The Gold Rush

    The startup gold rush of the last ten years is over. Sorry. Those hordes of ambitious entrepreneurs still stampeding to the Bay Area in the hopes of building their Minimum Viable Product, getting into Y Combinator, and growing their app into the Next Big Thing–they’re already too late. That era is behind us. It was a good run, even a legendary one, but it is over. Time for the new… Read More

  • We Now Return You To Your Regularly Scheduled Cyberpunk Dystopia Crunch Network

    We Now Return You To Your Regularly Scheduled Cyberpunk Dystopia

    Apple will lose this battle with the US government. Maybe not this year, or next, but soon enough, and for the rest of our lives. It is folly to pretend otherwise. Most ordinary people, and most powerful people, don’t care about abstruse theoretical arguments against back doors and weakened security. They care about—or want to exploit—the raw visceral fear of terrorist violence. Read More

  • When Data Goes Bad Crunch Network

    When Data Goes Bad

    So I know this guy Sulemaan from my Toronto days. Really good guy, despite being a Spurs fan. Sulemaan has a son, Syed, who is flagged as a security risk, a suspected terrorist, every time he flies. Syed is six years old. This is, of course, completely insane. But the data has been parsed; the algorithm has spoken; and so others must suffer from the idiocy of those who built the system. Read More

  • How To Fix Tech’s H-1B Problem Crunch Network

    How To Fix Tech’s H-1B Problem

    I’m a Canadian who has spent a sizable fraction of his adult life working in the USA, so immigration, especially as it relates to the tech industry, is a pretty personal subject. I was at a Waterloo Engineering alumnus event in San Francisco this week, and, inevitably, the arc of every conversation bent towards immigration, and how Kafkaesque it can be, even for us fortunate Canadians. Read More

  • The Great White Fail Whale Crunch Network

    The Great White Fail Whale

    Call me Ishmael. Some years ago–never mind how long precisely–having nothing particular to interest me in meatspace, I thought to visit the Vale of Silicon. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen. Whenever my meds get such an upper hand of me, that I yearn to troll passersby–then, I account it high time to get to cyberspace. Read More

  • Bitcoin Is Dead (Again), Long Live Bitcoin (Again) Crunch Network

    Bitcoin Is Dead (Again), Long Live Bitcoin (Again)

    Oh, the drama, such drama. Last week, longtime Bitcoin developer Mike Hearn declared “the Bitcoin experiment…has failed,” and resigned from that community with a fusillade of verbal grenades (and a New York Times profile of his dissent.) This in turn provoked a whole torrent of hot takes and reactions, which mostly had one thing in common: contempt for all who disagree. Read More

  • Book It, Baby Crunch Network

    Book It, Baby

    Remember e-books? Those were the days, weren’t they? Those crazy few years when the fad of reading on a Kindle swept the nation. Now, of course, that fit of mass hysteria is behind us. E-book sales are falling, down more than 10% in 2015 — YA down 44%! — while used bookstores are coming back. Yes, that’s right; print is regaining its regal primacy; e-books are dead. Right? Read More

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