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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  • Apps Have Got Your Back

    Apps Have Got Your Back

    Who needs governments? The ongoing trend toward mobile, social and crowdsourcing apps has led to a wealth of new community-based resources that support or supplant traditional civic and government services. Think Kickstarter instead of the NEA or Canada Council. Or consider the new Circle of 6 app, which is intended to help prevent violence before it happens, by letting users reach out to… Read More

  • When Code Is Hot

    When Code Is Hot

    Suddenly programming is sexy. Codecademy is drawing hundreds of thousands to its online programming tutorials. “Those jumping on board say they are preparing for a future in which the Internet is the foundation for entertainment, education and nearly everything else … ensuring that they are not left in the dark ages,” says a recent New York Times piece. The NYT’s… Read More

  • So Long, And Thanks For All The Quantum Research

    So Long, And Thanks For All The Quantum Research

    I’d like to be an optimist, like Matt Burns. I really would. Like Research In Motion itself, I was born and raised in Waterloo, Ontario. Like its former co-CEO Mike Lazaridis, I studied electrical engineering at the University of Waterloo. I’ve seen RIM transform my home town over the years, giving it new parks, new buildings, huge bequests for the university, and the Perimeter… Read More

  • Women, Tech, And Tone

    Women, Tech, And Tone

    Earlier this week a startup named Geeklist was called out on Twitter for a promotional video which apparently featured a woman dancing around in her underwear. (I say “apparently” because the video has since been made private.) The Geeklist founders acknowledged that that was problematic — and then, inexplicably, they went right off the rails. Click through that link to see… Read More

  • The September Problem

    The September Problem

    All right. That’s it. You kids come in off my lawn, gather round the table, throw a log on the Nest, and hear now a tale of the dread and fabled Time Before The Web. In the beginning1 there was Usenet, and it was good: online conversations ordered by topic, built around ongoing threads rather than individual posts, so that they could and often did last for months. Then came the Web. Read More

  • Save Helpless Faraway Africans From The Comfort Of Your Armchair!

    Save Helpless Faraway Africans From The Comfort Of Your Armchair!

    Wow. I never dreamed that I’d have a legitimate excuse to write a TechCrunch post about Joseph Kony, the crazed Ugandan warlord whose Lord’s Resistance Army has been a pet obsession of mine for some years now. The first draft of my thriller set mostly in Uganda and the Congo had a villain loosely based on Kony, but I had to edit him out, basically because he’s far too… Read More

  • Pair Programming Considered Harmful?

    Pair Programming Considered Harmful?

    “We have trained, hired, and rewarded people to be cowboys. But it’s pit crews that we need,” said Atul Gawande — a surgeon and Harvard professor who writes for The New Yorker in his copious spare time — in a recent TED talk. He was talking about doctors, but what tech profession might fit that description as well? Yes, that’s right. You there, huddled over… Read More

  • Sugar Water

    Sugar Water

    “Almost none of the stuff on the radar of the Silicon Valley echo-chamber is innovative or solves any real human needs. They won’t cure anyone of disease, feed a child, improve the environment, or radically improve manufacturing… Pinterest? Quora? Other social apps. It’s all a big distraction, it’s entertainment… It’s all well and fine to pursue… Read More

  • I Have Seen The Future, And Its Sky Is Full Of Eyes

    I Have Seen The Future, And Its Sky Is Full Of Eyes

    Allow me just a little self-congratulatory chest-beating. Four years ago I started writing a near-fiction thriller about the risks of swarms of UAVs in the wrong hands. Everyone I talked to back then (including my agent, alas) thought the subject was implausible, even silly. Well, it’s not like I’m the next Vernor Vinge — it always seemed like a pretty blatantly obvious… Read More

  • Is Facebook Finally Going To Do Something Interesting?

    Is Facebook Finally Going To Do Something Interesting?

    I can think of few subjects less interesting than Facebook’s forthcoming IPO. There, I said it. I honestly don’t get what the big deal is. So a few thousand people will finally liquidize their locked-up wealth, and the hoi polloi will at last be able to buy Facebook shares. Stop the presses! (It won’t meaningfully affect their ability to buy other companies; they already have… Read More

  • Algorithms/Data vs. Analysts/Reports: Fight!

    Algorithms/Data vs. Analysts/Reports: Fight!

    Quick, what’s the second most traded commodity in the world, after oil? Sorry, no: it’s not coffee. In fact, while hard data is scant, it may well be — of all things — carbon. No, really. According to the World Bank (PDF) , the global carbon market was worth a whopping 1.42 Facebooks US$142 billion in 2010. Mind you, it’s not like container ships weighed down to… Read More

  • iNdustrial Revolutions

    iNdustrial Revolutions

    To paraphrase Otto von Bismarck, “iPads are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.” It’s an ugly story. Over a hundred employees “injured by n-hexane, a toxic chemical that can cause nerve damage and paralysis” because its use “meant workers could clean more screens each minute.” Other workers killed or injured by explosions. All so… Read More

  • Steal This Book!

    Steal This Book!

    Nobody wants to be told that their business model is obsolete. Ask Kodak. Or Hollywood. And the publishing industry is slower on its feet than most. Bookstores don’t want to believe that they’ll ultimately lose 75% of their pre-e-book business to that scourge plus Amazon delivery. (I’m assuming e-book market share will eventually plateau somewhere north of 50%.) Meanwhile… Read More

  • OK, MG, I Take It Back

    OK, MG, I Take It Back

    A few weeks ago, I wrote: A couple weeks ago, MG wrote: Android development itself remains a huge pain in the ass. I hear this again, and again, and again. Which took me a bit aback. I’ve developed numerous Android and iOS apps (though not games, so I can’t speak to the differences there) over the last few years, and neither set of developer tools seems to me to be hugely… Read More

  • Scheming Intentions

    Scheming Intentions

    From Vannevar Bush to PageRank, the World Wide Web was built on hypertext, the notion that any morsel of information can link to any other. But that was always only a dream, and a rapidly-dissipating one of late. Nowadays even Web links are likely to terminate at warnings, paywalls or registration screens. Anil Dash rages that “Facebook is gaslighting the Web” with its treatment… Read More

  • Freight Train Kept A-Rollin’

    Freight Train Kept A-Rollin’

    2011 was the year of Android. A little over a year ago Andy Rubin tweeted that 300,000 Android devices were being activated each day. In January we reported that Android had surpassed iOS in terms of US smartphone market share. In June Android’s activations-per-day reached 500,000; this month they hit 700,000. That’s more than double the rate at which it was spreading when it… Read More

  • The Decline And Fall Of The Appian Empires

    The Decline And Fall Of The Appian Empires

    A couple weeks ago, MG wrote: Android development itself remains a huge pain in the ass. I hear this again, and again, and again. Which took me a bit aback: I’ve been writing both iOS and Android apps for more’n two years now, and while both platforms’ developer tools have their highlights and really irritating lowlights, overall it’s pretty much a wash. But then I… Read More

  • This Is Not The Net You Thought You Knew

    This Is Not The Net You Thought You Knew

    You know how the Internet works, right? Of course you do: you’re a TechCrunch reader, a power user. You know what that “HTTP” means in your address bar (if you’re not using Chrome.) You know that behind the scenes, the Domain Name System translates your requests for domain names like to numeric addresses like, and secure connections are… Read More

  • Double Hubble Bubble Trouble

    Double Hubble Bubble Trouble

    OK, now I’m worried. Here’s why: Lo these many years ago, in the long-gone spring of 1996, I set out to San Francisco to make my software fortune, armed with a freshly minted degree from Canada’s finest technical university. The second of the interviews I’d arranged via email–itself a radical notion, then–consisted mostly of playing Doom with my… Read More

  • Surveillance


    Your phone might be spying on you. The many cameras you pass every day can recognize your face. Facebook, despite its grudging concessions, still wants you to broadcast your personal life. “Eye in the sky” drones are already watching over borders; next, they’ll patrol the Olympics. It won’t be long before police drones are omnipresent in the skies over every major city… Read More