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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  • This Is Where The Magic Happens

    This Is Where The Magic Happens

    Seventeen years ago Wired published Neal Stephenson’s magisterial epic “Mother Earth Mother Board”, about the web of undersea fibre-optic cables being built to connect all of humanity. Well – almost all. Africa, again, was left behind. Until 2009, all of East Africa could only connect to the Internet over slow and hugely expensive satellite links. Finally, two years… Read More

  • The Unconquered Nation, Crippled By Bureaucrats

    The Unconquered Nation, Crippled By Bureaucrats

    Seems like it’s Sub-Saharan Month around here: first Sarah Lacy went to Nigeria, and now here I am in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital and Africa’s fourth-largest city. It feels like a boomtown. There are cranes and construction sites everywhere, throwing up gleaming new glass-and-steel buildings full of shops selling computers and mobile phones. The major thoroughfares… Read More

  • Make.Money.Slow : The Bitcoin Experiment

    Make.Money.Slow : The Bitcoin Experiment

    Bitcoin. Oh, man, where to begin. Its Hype-O-Meter got cranked to 11 this week, and breathless histrionics are everywhere. Death and Taxes called this new currency “a seismic event“; Adam Cohen says it’s nothing but a giant scam; Jason Calacanis calls it “the most dangerous project we’ve ever seen“; and they’re all completely wrong. It’s… Read More

  • When Dinosaurs Ruled The Books

    When Dinosaurs Ruled The Books

    This is a really weird time to be a writer. Agents are becoming publishers; publishers have moved to “the agency model“; and some self-published authors are making millions—all because e-books are now outselling all other segments. Magazines and newspapers are dying, blogs and aggregators are thriving, and the line between them all is blurring. Last year Apple was their… Read More

  • Why The New Guy Can’t Code

    Why The New Guy Can’t Code

    We’ve all lived the nightmare. A new developer shows up at work, and you try to be welcoming, but he1 can’t seem to get up to speed; the questions he asks reveal basic ignorance; and his work, when it finally emerges, is so kludgey that it ultimately must be rewritten from scratch by more competent people. And yet his interviewers—and/or the HR department, if your company… Read More

  • The Cloud Has Us All In A Fog

    The Cloud Has Us All In A Fog

    Ever heard of Dropship? It’s an open-source project that “enables arbitrary, anonymous transfers of files between Dropbox accounts.” Dropbox hopes you haven’t; they tried to squelch it this week, and even accidentally reported that it was subject to a DMCA takedown notice, with predictably futile results. I’m mostly sympathetic: I’m a huge fan of their… Read More

  • If Music Be Thy Dream Of Filthy Lucre, Press Stop

    If Music Be Thy Dream Of Filthy Lucre, Press Stop

    I always enjoy seeing science fiction prophecies come true. Last month, Broadcastr. This month, Wolfram Alpha’s WolframTones, modestly subtitled “A New Kind Of Music.” (Yes, that would be the same breathtaking humility that led them to originally price the Wolfram Alpha app at a hilarious $50. Fortunately, they subsequently bought a clue.) It is pretty cool, in a geeky sort… Read More

  • What App Developers Want: Letters To Steve Jobs And Larry Page

    What App Developers Want: Letters To Steve Jobs And Larry Page

    The next smartphone wave is about to hit. There are rumors that Android 3.1 (Ice Cream Sandwich) will drop in May, and iOS 5 in June. Greg already posted a pretty compelling user’s wish list for the latter, but what developers want is at least as important—because, as the lukewarm-to-appalled recent PlayBook reviews show, it hardly matters how great your hardware is. Nowadays… Read More

  • TxtEagle Raises $8.5 Million To Give 2.1 Billion A Voice

    TxtEagle Raises $8.5 Million To Give 2.1 Billion A Voice

    Never mind tablets, smartphones, and mobile-social-location-photo-sharing apps. Heck, never mind computers. The single most important technology of the last half-century, the one that has drastically changed the day-to-day existence of very nearly everyone on Earth, remains the plain old GSM phone; unloved and half-forgotten in NYC and Silicon Valley, but still used by the billion in the rest… Read More

  • Guardly Watches Your Back, From The Mean Streets Of Toronto

    Guardly Watches Your Back, From The Mean Streets Of Toronto

    I can’t help but be amused that the personal-security platform Guardly, which launches today, was born in virtually-crime-free Toronto, where I live, and where I’ve never encountered anything more fearsome than bad weather. (Q: How do you get 20 Canadians out of a pool? A: “C’mon, guys, get out of the pool.”) Security is a big market, though: there are a lot of… Read More

  • Facebook Comments Epitomizes Everything I Hate About Facebook

    Facebook Comments Epitomizes Everything I Hate About Facebook

    It’s been a month since we introduced Facebook Comments round these parts, time enough to have given it some serious consideration. And my conclusions are as follows: …are you kidding me? This is the best a $75 billion company could come up with? Isn’t Facebook supposed to be the new home of software’s best and brightest? Is this some kind of elaborate practical… Read More

  • How The Mainstream Media Is Failing Us With Its Nuclear Hysteria

    How The Mainstream Media Is Failing Us With Its Nuclear Hysteria

    The news from Japan is both awful and appalling. Awful: 23,000 confirmed dead or missing, and counting. Appalling: pretty much anything to do with the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant. Nuclear meltdown like Chernobyl! Deadly contaminated milk and radioactive tap water! Tokyo a postapocalyptic ghost town! A plume of radiation that threatens America’s West Coast! Where do they get these morons? Read More

  • Listen Closely: Broadcastr Brings You An Audio Guide To The Whole Wide World

    Listen Closely: Broadcastr Brings You An Audio Guide To The Whole Wide World

    I’m a huge William Gibson fan, not least for the ideas with which his books overflow. One such in Spook Country was location-based virtual art: VR images that can only be seen at specific real-world places. As is often the case with Gibson, I read that and wondered, “How long?” Well, today we’re halfway there. I give you Broadcastr, a new platform that allows anyone… Read More

  • The Android Kill Switch: Mea Culpa

    The Android Kill Switch: Mea Culpa

    Over the weekend I wrote a piece which argued that walled gardens were conquering the Internet, and Google’s ability to to remotely delete apps from Android devices effectively turned Android into a “subtler but no less forbidding” walled garden than Apple’s iOS ecosystem. Today I am pleased to report that on one key point I was completely wrong. I assumed that since… Read More

  • The Walled Garden Has Won

    The Walled Garden Has Won

    Ten days ago Google discovered that apparently innocuous Android apps were in fact infested with “DroidDream” malware that included an Android rootkit, with the apparent intent of creating a smartphone botnet. It infected more than a quarter of a million devices before Google intervened. The thriller writer in me immediately began to wonder what would happen if black hats built… Read More

  • RIM Finally Sees The Light. Unfortunately, It’s An Onrushing Train – Or Is It?

    RIM Finally Sees The Light. Unfortunately, It’s An Onrushing Train – Or Is It?

    Strange things are afoot in my hometown of Waterloo, Canada, which doubles as Research In Motion’s headquarters. ShopSavvy says that someone there has been running their Android app — on BlackBerry devices. Separately, Bloomberg has reported that RIM’s forthcoming PlayBook tablet will run Android apps. A video from the Mobile World Congress allegedly shows a BlackBerry… Read More

  • Burning Chrome

    Burning Chrome

    “A good player goes where the puck is. A great player goes where the puck is going to be”—The Great One Google made a few interesting announcements this week. First, Google Docs Viewer support for a sheaf of new document types, including Excel, Powerpoint, Photoshop and PostScript. Second, Chrome’s new ability to run background apps that run seamlessly and invisibly… Read More

  • Quora vs. StackExchange: Why, Joel, Why?

    The Q&A land rush is on. Quora, of course, has been hyped to the moon, and not without reason. Fortune magazine recently profiled five more Q&A sites, and three new ones just launched: Cloudy, where your friends answer your questions via SMS; Setlr1, which is like Twitter for yes/no questions; and InboxQ, Q&A on Twitter. Is this a bubble full of copycats doomed to wither into… Read More

  • The End Of History, Part II

    The world is quaking. Egypt and Tunisia are overthrown; Gabon, Jordan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen are rocking. Some say this is thanks to Twitter and Facebook. Others, notably Malcolm Gladwell and Evgeny Morozov, say that social media are politically irrelevant and/or dangerous. China has censored “Egypt”, Syria has legalized Facebook, and the president of Sudan has declared he will… Read More

  • In Praise Of Piracy

    I’ve had to think a lot about digital rights management lately. Not that I wanted to. But I recently did some eye-opening contract software development for a DRM-heavy media app, just as our government up here in the Great White North introduced a new and extremely DRM-friendly copyright law, and links to Don’t Make Me Steal started popping up all over the Internet. You… Read More