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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  • 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?

    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 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

    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

  • When The Drones Come Marching In

    When The Drones Come Marching In

    Way back in the 1970s, hardware-hacker hobbyists built kit computers like the Altair 8800 — and in doing so paved the way for the computer revolution that would reshape every facet of modern life. Today the same breed of people are building and selling kit flight controllers for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Just sayin’. Drones are far from new: the US military has been using… Read More

  • The 4-Hour Body: The Real App You Are Working On Is An App Called Yourself (Review)

    The 4-Hour Body: The Real App You Are Working On Is An App Called Yourself (Review)

    Tim Ferriss is a 33-year-old Silicon Valley angel investor, consultant, Singularity University advisor, and former entrepreneur who in 2007 published a book called The 4-Hour Workweek; in 2008 won Wired‘s “Greatest Self-Promoter of All Time” prize; and last month published a sort-of-sequel, The 4-Hour Body. His books seem roughly equally divided between really worthwhile… Read More

  • Can Google Get Its Mojo Back?

    Can Google Get Its Mojo Back?

    A spectre is haunting Mountain View. No, not bed bugs: bit rot. Google is in serious decline. I don’t see how they can deny it. They have famously always been a data-driven organization, and the data is compelling. Business Insider’s list of the 15 biggest tech flops of 2010 cited no fewer than four from Google: Buzz, Wave, Google TV, and the Nexus One. Bizarre errors have erupted… Read More

  • The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be

    The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be

    My advice for the new year: go East and South, young man and woman … and investor. America, Europe, and Japan are stagnant and ponderous. More and more, in the coming years, the real moving and shaking will happen elsewhere. “2011 will be the year Android explodes!” cried a recent headline, citing a new Broadcom chipset that will reportedly make sub-$100 unsubsidized… Read More

  • It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad App World

    It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad App World

    Editor’s note: Contributor Jon Evans is an author and software engineer. He hails from the Great White North, but we let him write here anyway. Report from the app-development trenches: it’s gettin’ kinda crazy out there. I’ve lost track of how many NDAs I’ve signed this year from people with app ideas. Old coworkers and previous clients have deluged me with so… Read More

  • Google eBooks: Is That All There Is?

    Google eBooks: Is That All There Is?

    Two weeks ago the Google eBookstore finally launched, and the world was briefly amazed. Google Editions, as it was known until launch, was the book world’s Duke Nukem Forever: vaporware for seven years, depending on how you count. Its actual emergence was like the birth of a unicorn. A mewling, misshapen, half-baked unicorn. Some background: “In 2004 Google digitized the entire… Read More

  • Letter From Canada: Why Is America So Furious About Wikileaks?

    The most baffling thing about the Wikileaks Cablegate kerfuffle is the massive foot-shooting overreaction across the entire American political spectrum. Here in the rest of the world (okay, in Canada), we’ve already moved on, because (to date) the cables are more shrug-inducing than explosive—but US senators are still in the throes of a bizarre frenzy of rabid chest-beating and… Read More

  • Here Comes The Wetware

    Here Comes The Wetware

    Throw out your touchscreens, kibosh your Kinects: thought-controlled computing is the new new thing. Brain-computer interface technology has been simmering for years, and seems finally ready to bubble out of research labs and into the real world. Earlier this year, friends of mine at the Toronto art space Site3 built a thought-controlled flamethrower, for fun. (Don’t you hate how… Read More

  • Can Anything Stop The Facebook Juggernaut?

    Can Anything Stop The Facebook Juggernaut?

    So. Facebook. $35 billion valuation; 600 million users; 25% of all US Web traffic — and all that with fewer employees than Google has job openings. The inventor of the World Wide Web recently warned that the web may be endangered by Facebook’s colossal walled garden. A Google engineer was recently paid $3.5 million to not jump ship to work there. Facebook seems an unstoppable… Read More

  • I Have Seen The Future, And It Looks A Lot Like Bump (Without The Bump)

    I Have Seen The Future, And It Looks A Lot Like Bump (Without The Bump)

    There is something about exchanging information by bumping fists that is deeply satisfying. What I like most about the iPhone app Bump is that it’s different. Its features are nifty enough; transfer money, information, and as of last week, music to someone else by tapping your phone against theirs. More importantly, though, it’s a harbinger of the next wave of the mobile… Read More

  • Dear Foursquare, Gowalla: Please Let’s Stop Pretending This Is Fun

    Dear Foursquare, Gowalla: Please Let’s Stop Pretending This Is Fun

    It’s a bad month to be Foursquare or Gowalla. Ten days ago, 900-pound gorilla Facebook announced Facebook Deals for Facebook Places (i,e., location-based coupons) and check-ins for third-party apps. A day later, Pew Research reported that, despite all the hype, the use of location-based services is actually declining in America, from 5% of the online population in May to 4% last month. Read More