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 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 techcrunch.com to numeric addresses like 76.74.254.121, 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

    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

  • Sing Now The Praises Of Klout’s Klumsy Kludges

    Sing Now The Praises Of Klout’s Klumsy Kludges

    Over the last month, Charles Stross memorably called the online influence measurer Klout “the internet equivalent of herpes,” Rohn Miller of Social Media Today exhorted people to “Delete your Klout profile now,” John Scalzi lambasted it as “sad, and possibly evil,” the New York Times wrote about parents’ outrage when they discovered Klout was… Read More

  • Dog Bites Man; Pope Condemns Violence; Publishing Still Doesn’t Get It

    Dog Bites Man; Pope Condemns Violence; Publishing Still Doesn’t Get It

    I’m an author, but thankfully I’m not a member of the Authors Guild, that “not-for-profit American organization of and for authors”, who a few days ago issued a statement that first lauded publishers for not signing on to Amazon’s new Kindle book-lending program for Amazon Prime members, and then condemned those few publishers who did agree, citing a… Read More

  • What If Technology Is Destroying Jobs Faster Than It Creates Them?

    What If Technology Is Destroying Jobs Faster Than It Creates Them?

    The New Luddites are back, and they’re packing heat. The mighty Economist writes of “the disturbing thought” that “America’s current employment woes stem from a precipitous and permanent change caused by not too little technological progress, but too much … A tipping point seems to have been reached, at which AI-based automation threatens to supplant the… Read More

  • 52 Pick-Up, or, Where I Went Wrong

    52 Pick-Up, or, Where I Went Wrong

    Happy anniversary to me: I’ve now been writing this here weekly column for exactly one year. In that time I have opined, prescribed, and predicted many things. And now, 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 wrong. With luck this… Read More

  • In The Halls Of The Hedge Fund Hackers

    In The Halls Of The Hedge Fund Hackers

    I went down to the demonstration today, to get my fair share of bemusement. Occupy Wall Street seemed drizzly, dejected, and oddly disconnected from the world around it. I approve of their goals, and I think their message is very clear indeed, but I’m not so sure their methods are effective. We’ll see. But they did spur me to go back and reread, of all things, some Mark… Read More

  • I Believe In Google Plus

    I Believe In Google Plus

    Is this a contrarian view? I can’t even tell any more. On one hand, Google Plus now has 40 million users, it’s the fastest-growing social-networking site in history, and its users have uploaded 3.4 billion photos. On the other, Google is mum about how many of those users are actually active; some say that its traffic has declined significantly from its peak; Google’s own… Read More

  • Maide Turns Your iPad Into A 3D Controller

    Maide Turns Your iPad Into A 3D Controller

    The best demos are the ones that extend your sense of what’s possible a little, and Maide‘s did just that. I usually think of iPads as display devices that also support input; but Maide Control uses the tablet almost exclusively for input, which vastly expands the potential richness and repertoire of the interface. They’ve targeted 3D design and modelling as their initial… Read More

  • You’ve Got To Admit It’s Getting Better

    You’ve Got To Admit It’s Getting Better

    “I hate almost all software. It’s unnecessary and complicated at almost every layer … you don’t understand how fucked the whole thing is,” rants Ryan Dahl, the much- (and rightly-) lauded creator of Node.js. “It really, truly, is all crap. And it’s so much worse than anybody realizes,” agrees Zack Morris, who went on to add, “The industry… Read More

  • “For Those Who Don’t Want To Believe”

    “For Those Who Don’t Want To Believe”

    I feel uncomfortably like a prophet. In January, and again last week, I wrote about the prospect of UAVs used as weapons by terrorists; yesterday a man was arrested who “planned to attack the Pentagon using ‘small drone airplanes’ filled with explosives and guided by GPS.” In August I wrote about omnipresent mobile phones turning the world into a panopticon… Read More

  • Droning On Towards A Date With Destiny?

    Droning On Towards A Date With Destiny?

    Have you been watching the skies? I have. As the US expands its unmanned air force, researchers are testing and demonstrating autonomous drones — ones that could “hunt, identify and kill the enemy based on calculations made by software, not decisions made by humans.” (According to the author of the wonderfully-titled Army-funded study Governing Lethal Behavior in… Read More

  • Disruptive Tendencies

    Disruptive Tendencies

    Early on Day One of Disrupt SF, Silicon Valley legends Peter Thiel and Max Levchin came out on stage with a grim message of doom: “Innovation in the world today is somewhere between dire straits and dead … outside of computers and the Internet, we’ve had forty years of stagnation.” Meanwhile, Startup Alley boasted a large number of trivial, me-too apps, all too… Read More

  • Samsung Quietly Continues To Conquer The World

    Samsung Quietly Continues To Conquer The World

    Is there anything Samsung doesn’t do? The same week I bought myself a shiny new Galaxy S II, they launched a solar-powered netbook for use in the developing world. Unlike any American or European company, Samsung Electronics manufactures smartphones and their memory chips, TVs and their screens, computers and their hard drives. They’re the only entity that’s both arms dealer… Read More

  • The Tragic Triumph Of The MBAs

    The Tragic Triumph Of The MBAs

    “We’ve seen Mubarak fall,” said Salesforce’s Marc Benioff of the corporate need to focus on social networks at the recent Dreamforce conference. “We’ve seen Khadafy fall. When will the first CEO fall for the same reason?” What a fantastic comparison! Because, as we all know, dictators who brutalize, torture, and murder thousands of their own people over… Read More

  • The Long Hard Road To The Edge

    The Long Hard Road To The Edge

    A Year In The Life Of An Entrepeneur 1. July 2010: Ready: Set: Delaware, the state with the lowest highest point. David Argentar, a biochemist by training and bioinformaticist by trade, has launched a startup. Of sorts. Well – more of a hobby, he’d be the first to admit. He has no business plan, no investors, no employees. All he really has, in fact, is an idea and a pending patent. Read More

  • Revenge Of The Killer Script Kiddies!

    Revenge Of The Killer Script Kiddies!

    They’re out there. Be afraid. They could be anywhere, everywhere, anyone. They are shadowy, deadly, mysterious, guided by intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic. Security consultants and antivirus firms whisper legends of them to their clients to scare them straight. They’re the Voldemort of online security, except that everyone is all too eager to say their name: the… Read More

  • Americans Elect Shoots The Moon (And Misses)

    Americans Elect Shoots The Moon (And Misses)

    I want to talk about American politics. No, wait, don’t go! Don’t worry; it’s OK; I’m Canadian. Your nation’s psychotic death spiral of irrational blood vendettas, vampire-squid kleptocrats, and cargo-cult magical thinking means nothing to me. (Other than its undeniable entertainment value.) Yes, I mean both of your political parties. It’s so bizarre that… Read More

  • Welcome To The Panopticon

    Welcome To The Panopticon

    And so it begins. Carnegie Mellon researchers recently combined Facebook profile pictures and PittPatt‘s facial recognition software to identify supposedly-anonymous pictures from a dating site. Now they’re planning to demo a smartphone app that identifies faces by tapping into cloud-based image databases and recognition software. What’s next? That’s a question… Read More