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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  • Check In, Flame Out: How To Save Foursquare

    Check In, Flame Out: How To Save Foursquare

    This hasn’t been a great year for Foursquare. “Check-ins are no longer what they used to be,” as Ingrid Lunden observed last month. There seems to be a general consensus that “Foursquare keeps resembling Yelp more and more…” but that comparison isn’t necessarily flattering, especially since there’s little doubt that Yelp has much greater… Read More

  • Big Data Could Cripple Facebook

    Big Data Could Cripple Facebook

    So there’s this startup called SmogFarm, which does big-data sentiment analysis, “pulse of the planet” stuff. I spotted them last year, and now they’ve got an actual product with an actual business model up and running in private beta: KredStreet, “The Social Stock Trader Rankings,” which performs sentiment analysis on StockTwits data and a sampling of… Read More

  • “The Business Of Literature Is Blowing Shit Up”

    “The Business Of Literature Is Blowing Shit Up”

    If you love books–heck, if you even like ’em–run, don’t walk, and read this magnificent, magisterial essay by Richard Nash on their past, present and future. It’s long. Don’t be frightened. But even if the Internet has shredded your attention span, at least scroll down to its epic final paragraph. Go on. I’ll wait. It’s been a rotten decade for… Read More

  • Who’s Afraid Of Google Glass?

    Who’s Afraid Of Google Glass?

    “First you see video. Then you wear video. Then you eat video. Then you be video.” — Pat Cadigan, Pretty Boy Crossover Sheesh. A whole lot of people who presumably have never actually seen Google Glass in action appear to be really upset. “People who wear Google Glass in public are assholes,” says Gawker’s Adrian Chen. “You won’t know if… Read More

  • Bring On The Platform Wars!

    Bring On The Platform Wars!

    Writing software used to be so simple. A giant pain in the ass, mind you, but simple. You were a Microsoft developer, with binders full of Visual Studio CDs; you were a Java developer; you used the LAMP stack; or you worked with something proprietary from IBM or SAP or the like. Nowadays, though, while the tools and technologies we use have improved enormously…imagine, God forbid… Read More

  • It’s The End Of The News As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

    It’s The End Of The News As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

    Their downside to pet projects is that they invariably teach you something you didn’t really want to know. This time, it was that most of the people who do what I do are doomed. Let me explain. Mostly for fun, I’ve recently built1 a news aggregator I call Scanvine, which ranks stories and authors and publications by how often they’re shared on social media. (TechCrunch does… Read More

  • The Chinese Are Coming! The Chinese Are Coming!

    The Chinese Are Coming! The Chinese Are Coming!

    By now you must have heard of Unit 61398 of the People’s Liberation Army: “an overwhelming percentage of the attacks on American corporations, organizations and government agencies originate in and around [their] white tower,” claims the New York Times, who were themselves recently owned by the 1337 h4ck3r5 of the 61398. And just recently, there were “extremely… Read More

  • Get Ready To Lose Your Job

    Get Ready To Lose Your Job

    “Technological revolutions happen in two main phases: the installation phase and the deployment phase,” observes Angel of the Year and new Andreessen Horowitz GP Chris Dixon, who says that the turning point between those phases for the Age of Information is…now. Meanwhile, “profits have surged as a share of national income, while wages and other labor compensation… Read More

  • Technical Debt Will Kill You Dead (If You Let It)

    Technical Debt Will Kill You Dead (If You Let It)

    A project I’ve been working on launched recently. Well, re-launched. A slick little iPhone app called Postography, which lets you send postcards with messages and pictures from your iPhone. Nifty, but sounds fairly straightforward, right? An app that shouldn’t have taken too much time to build. Unfortunately, we didn’t build it; we rebuilt it. And the company that took the… Read More

  • Don’t Mess With The GOOG

    Don’t Mess With The GOOG

    A couple of years ago I wrote in this space: “A spectre is haunting Mountain View. No, not bed bugs: bit rot. Google is in serious decline.” Well, credit where it’s due. These days Google has put its problems behind it and is soaring from strength to strength. Contenders keep coming and trying to claim its crown–and failing. I give you Apple Maps and Facebook’s… Read More

  • America Has Hit “Peak Jobs”

    America Has Hit “Peak Jobs”

    “The middle class is being hollowed out,” says James Altucher. “Economists are shifting their attention toward a […] crisis in the United States: the significant increase in income inequality,” reports the New York Times. Think all those job losses over the last five years were just caused by the recession? No: “Most of the jobs will never return, and… Read More

  • Your Database Is Probably Terrible

    Your Database Is Probably Terrible

    Databases aren’t sexy, but they’re the absolute foundation of the tech world, the ground on which all of its edifices are constructed. You probably use a hundred every day. At least. They’re like the Spice in Dune: “S/he who controls the database, controls the universe!” Well, don’t look now, but that universe is beginning to quake. Read More

  • Nadia Heninger Is Watching You

    Nadia Heninger Is Watching You

    It’s been a bad week for online security. An “extremely critical” Ruby on Rails security hole; a Yahoo! Mail XSS exploit; and yet another Java 0-day vulnerability. I know, I know, security is hard: still, it’s difficult not to be left with a frustrated throw-up-your-hands “can’t anybody do anything right?” feeling. Read More

  • 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

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