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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  • Enter The Dronenet

    Enter The Dronenet

    Here’s my favorite Big Idea of the year so far, via John Robb, who’s always worth your attention: The Dronenet, a “short distance drone delivery service built on an open protocol.” He fleshes it out in a series of posts, but basically, it would be a network of drones that would carry things the same way the Internet carries data: in packets, over a series of multiple… Read More

  • All Journalism Is Tech Journalism Now

    All Journalism Is Tech Journalism Now

    I am about to commit an act of meta-journalism. I’m sorry. I hate meta-journalism. I unfollowed GigaOm’s Mathew Ingram (a fine writer) on Twitter some time ago because I could not muster any more interest in articles about articles and blog posts about blogging. I believe that journalists (like people in most professions) vastly overestimate their own importance, significance… Read More

  • Single-Click Double-Tap Murder

    Single-Click Double-Tap Murder

    Gun control is on many minds this week, but let’s not talk about guns. Let’s talk about drones. (With a reported 300 million guns in private hands in America already, it’s probably too late for gun control anyhow.) Drones are to nation-states what assault rifles are to psychotic mass murderers. Worse yet, the way things are going, it’s only a matter of time until… Read More

  • Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Writers

    Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Writers

    So this is awkward. Ownshelf is a new service that lets people store and share ebooks online. Pretty nifty, huh? They reached out to me in part because I’ve released several of my own books for free under a Creative Commons license. (For those of you new to this column, I write fiction when not writing code, and have had a bunch of novels published by HarperCollins, Hachette, etc., over… Read More

  • Q: What’s Wrong With Quora?

    Q: What’s Wrong With Quora?

    Imagine that you are transported by a time machine to somewhen in the depths of prehistory, like maybe 2005 or something. Imagine further that you subsequently must try to convince people there/then that one day in the future, an online service which codifies, organizes, and ranks excellent answers to very nearly any imaginable question–for free!–will be wildly less successful than… Read More

  • Security Is Hard, But That Doesn’t Mean You Should Ignore It

    Security Is Hard, But That Doesn’t Mean You Should Ignore It

    Six weeks ago I was out drinking in a Kipling-themed bar in Rangoon, Myanmar–as you do–and happened to find myself next to a table of high-powered international telecommunications consultants, overhearing juicy lines like “Skype and Viber are going to kill us.” Needless to say I told Twitter right away. Then an old friend who’s also a genuine International Man… Read More

  • Microsoft’s Long And Winding Road To Becoming Kind Of Cool

    Microsoft’s Long And Winding Road To Becoming Kind Of Cool

    Long have I hated Microsoft. For decades their bloated mediocrity infuriated every fiber of my being. Like Adam Sandler and leaf-blowers, for a very long time, they represented everything that was wrong with today’s world. But just as Adam Sandler went and made Punch Drunk Love, over the last few years, Microsoft has released a body of work that even I must grudgingly admit is… Read More

  • Something Someday Will Kill Facebook, But We’re Not There Yet

    Something Someday Will Kill Facebook, But We’re Not There Yet

    Two years ago I wrote a post entitled “Can Anything Stop The Facebook Juggernaut?” in which I marvelled at the fact that Facebook was then worth a whopping $35 billion, according to Second Market. Today, after its much-touted stock price “collapse,” the company is worth roughly $51 billion. It’s a strange world when a market-value increase of $16 billion/~45… Read More

  • Where I Went Wrong, Second Annual Edition

    Where I Went Wrong, Second Annual Edition

    Happy anniversary to me: I’ve now been writing this here weekly column for exactly two years. Over the last year I have opined, prescribed, and predicted many things. And now, like last year, as part of my one-man crusade for greater opinion-journalism accountability, I’m going to take a moment to go back and look at what I got right … and where I went horribly, hilariously… Read More

  • 3D Printers Are Not Like 2D Printers: A Rant

    3D Printers Are Not Like 2D Printers: A Rant

    The last time I wrote about 3D printers, an appalling number of people in the comments – including VCs who really, really should know better – kept writing things like: “Nearly identical comments were made about personal computers, desktop printers, color printers, laser printers…” and “just like printing at home” and “Let’s use the… Read More

  • How Long Will Programmers Be So Well-Paid?

    How Long Will Programmers Be So Well-Paid?

    Last week Glassdoor published its most recent software engineering salary report. Short version: it pays to code. Google and Facebook employees earn a base salary of ~$125K, not counting benefits, 401k matching, stock options/grants, etc., and even Yahoo! developers pull in six figures. Everyone knows why: ask anyone in the Valley, or NYC, or, well, practically anywhere, and they’ll tell… Read More

  • The Second Billion Smartphone Users

    The Second Billion Smartphone Users

    I speak with little fear of contradiction when I tell you this is the first TechCrunch article posted from Myanmar aka Burma. Only a few years ago the Internet here was both tightly censored and insanely slow. But now that this country is “on the path to democracy,” according to Daw Aung Sun Suu Kyi herself, Free Wi-Fi signs are widespread, and its Internet is freewheeling and… Read More

  • Prepare To Pay For Your Privacy

    Prepare To Pay For Your Privacy

    Yesterday I walked from Cambodia into Thailand. On the way out of Cambodia, I was fingerprinted; on the way into Thailand, I was photographed. While I waited for the train to Bangkok I read legendary hacker Jamie Zawinski’s tale of how the powers that be “wanted to mandate that I surveil all of my customers, and turn that information over to the Government without a warrant”… Read More

  • There Is No Reason For Any Individual To Have A 3D Printer In Their Home

    There Is No Reason For Any Individual To Have A 3D Printer In Their Home

    The maker movement is on the cusp of a boom. They’re job-creating world-changers, on the verge of thoroughly disrupting everything from crafts to consumer electronics to, heck, well, everything, by democratizing manufacturing. Makerbot has released their Replicator 2. Form 1 sought to Kickstart $100,000 for their professional 3D printer; they’re at $1.5 million and counting. Read More

  • Lessons From The Dramatic Slow-Motion Death Of Wikitravel

    Lessons From The Dramatic Slow-Motion Death Of Wikitravel

    Once upon a time, in 2003, there were two entrepeneurs with a dream. Their names were Evan Prodromou and Michele Ann Jenkins, and they dreamed of a collectively edited global travel guide — a Wikipedia for travel, if you will. So they created Wikitravel. And it went over like the proverbial “lead zeppelin.” Two years later, a company named Internet Brands bought it from them… Read More

  • Google Granted Pseudonym Patent (You’re Welcome. And, What Is Wrong With You)

    Google Granted Pseudonym Patent (You’re Welcome. And, What Is Wrong With You)

    This week Google was granted a patent for “Social computing personas for protecting identity in online social interactions”; in other words, “a pseudonym could be presented as someone’s name based upon their choices of who would see that name or their ‘real’ name.” Sound familiar? It does to me. Two months before the patent was filed, I wrote here… Read More

  • The Mobile/Social/Local/Cloud Land Grab Is Over

    The Mobile/Social/Local/Cloud Land Grab Is Over

    This was my second TechCrunch Disrupt, and what a difference a year makes. Not this year. I mean the year that began in July 2006, when Twitter launched. Two months later, Facebook finally opened up to everyone worldwide; in June 2007, Dropbox was founded; and one month after that, the first iPhone went on sale. Since then nearly everyone else has been playing in the space opened up by those… Read More

  • Sock Puppet Spectacular: Are Online Reviews Completely Worthless, Or Only Mostly Worthless?

    Sock Puppet Spectacular: Are Online Reviews Completely Worthless, Or Only Mostly Worthless?

    “Nicodemus Jones” was a big fan of bestselling crime author RJ Ellory. His five-star Amazon reviews of Ellory’s books were littered with phrases like “modern masterpiece”, “will touch your soul”, “a magnificent book.” He was less kind to Mark Billingham and Stuart MacBride, both of whom were victims of one-star reviews by… Read More

  • Apple’s Patent Win Is Bad For Us All

    Apple’s Patent Win Is Bad For Us All

    Look, I get it. It’s a great story, maybe the greatest in the history of American business. From Day One, Apple did things the right way: clean, elegant, beautiful. But they were brought to their knees by Microsoft’s colossal mediocrity. Their visionary founder was forced out. They teetered on the brink. And then–bam! They were saved (ironically, by Microsoft.) They… Read More

  • What Happens When Pollsters Are No Better Than Psychics?

    What Happens When Pollsters Are No Better Than Psychics?

    I’m going to get a little political here, but bear with me, this is a tech post in the end. I’m in the midst of a trip from my new home in Berkeley, through my old stomping grounds in New York City, to my hometown in Canada. Politically, almost everyone in all three places falls in one of two camps: either they view the US Republican Party as evil incarnate, or (like me)… Read More

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