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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  • Sol vs. Sol, for the fate of humanity

    Sol vs. Sol, for the fate of humanity

    I happened to spend much of this week in Abu Dhabi, from whence came, conveniently, the most important news of this week, month, year, and arguably decade. Yes, bigger than the American election; yes, bigger than the long-awaited rise of machine learning; yes, bigger than Elon Musk’s one-two punch of space travel and electric cars — although it’s related to that. Read More

  • Don’t just pardon Edward Snowden; give the man a medal Crunch Network

    Don’t just pardon Edward Snowden; give the man a medal

    As Barack Obama’s second term comes to an end, an increasingly loud chorus of voices are calling for a dramatic final presidential act: the pardoning of Edward Snowden. Authoritarians are horrified by this, and, as usual, they are wrong. A pardon really isn’t enough. As I’ve argued before, Snowden deserves a medal. Read More

  • The Beginning Of Protest Crunch Network

    The Beginning Of Protest

    The most provocative book I’ve read this year is The End Of Protest, by Micah White, one of the two initiators of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Remember Occupy? Those crazy days when, giddy with the apparent success of the previous year’s Arab Spring, independent, decentralized groups of protestors, connected by cell phones and social media, seized public spaces across… Read More

  • Cinemapocalypse Now? Crunch Network

    Cinemapocalypse Now?

    Let’s talk box office! Because it’s one of my pet obsessions; I’ve long been curious how the rise of new entertainment tech (Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, Pokémon Go) will impact movies, our oldest and most storied cultural commons. And because I was trawling through Box Office Mojo’s numbers, as you do, and happened to stumble across something which makes me fear for… Read More

  • Tech and Trump Crunch Network

    Tech and Trump

    I won’t insult your intelligence by pretending to be unbiased. I think exactly what you’d expect a Canadian who lives in San Francisco to think: how could anyone with a reasonable command of the available evidence even consider voting for Donald Trump? …But my search for an answer has led me to the uncomfortable sense that the tech industry is partly responsible for… Read More

  • Ads are bad, and also terrible Crunch Network

    Ads are bad, and also terrible

    Every so often, I find myself forced to use the Web on a browser without uBlock or an equivalent; and every time, I think to myself “How do people live like this?” The un-ad-blocked web is a miserable cesspool of autoplaying video and hysterical calls to action, slow to load, hard to look at. It’s even worse on your phone, where ads devour your battery life and up to 75% of… Read More

  • It’s time to publicly shame United Airlines’ so-called online security Crunch Network

    It’s time to publicly shame United Airlines’ so-called online security

    Dear executives of United Airlines, I have some advice for you. 1: Fire whoever is in charge of your online security. 2: Burn down the building in which they worked; it may be tainted. 3: Salt the ground so nothing ever grows there again, to be safe. 4: Hire somebody competent who will not infuriate your users while simultaneously compromising their security. Read More

  • Stand up against the stand-up Crunch Network

    Stand up against the stand-up

    It’s custom; it’s tradition; it’s dogma; it’s a cargo cult. It is well-intentioned, but all too often, ill-advised. It’s done because it is the thing one does. It wastes your time, shackles your mind, kills your productivity. It is the ritual that so many software developers suffer silently through, every day It is the daily stand-up. I say to you: no more! Before… Read More

  • VR needs a hit Crunch Network

    VR needs a hit

    I believe virtual reality is going to be huge. Huge. …Eventually. But when? Are we talking years, or decades? I visited yet another VR festival this week, and I couldn’t shake the feeling that we’re still in the very early days of the medium. It’s amazing! It’s thrilling! And it’s still kind of the Stone Age. When do we get to discover bronze? Read More

  • How much does it matter if your software quality sucks? Crunch Network

    How much does it matter if your software quality sucks?

    I ran across a fascinating piece by Leo Polovets of Susa Ventures this week, provocatively titled: “Why Startup Technical Diligence Is A Waste Of Time.” You should go read it, but its central thesis is simple: “in today’s world of SaaS tools, APIs, and cloud infrastructure … technical resources are rarely the cause of success or the reason for failure.” Is… Read More

  • Immersion is going to be immense Crunch Network

    Immersion is going to be immense

    Pokémon; Macbeth; the Illuminati. Those may not sound like they have a lot in common, but they exemplify the three whole new forms of technology-driven entertainment that have erupted in recent years. We’ll soon combine all three–and, eventually, use them to create whole new multi-faceted immersive worlds that will make today’s entertainment look like radio dramas. Read More

  • Westphalexit Crunch Network

    Westphalexit

    As technology advances, a world partitioned into nation-states makes less and less sense. That may sound crazy, if you take it as granted that our world must be divided into nations. But the whole concept of a “country” is a 400-year-old weird hack, riddled with crippling bugs, plagued by contradictions that sharpen each year. It is unlikely to survive this century. Read More

  • A brief history of cryptocurrency drama, or, what could possibly DAO wrong? Crunch Network

    A brief history of cryptocurrency drama, or, what could possibly DAO wrong?

    It makes SILICON VALLEY look like C-SPAN — and yet it’s a documentary. Yes, it’s Cryptocurrency!, the show! You already know it’s been the hit of the last half-decade in extreme-nerd, get-rich-quick, and/or libertarian-conspiracist circles. But the story so far may seem incredibly… well… cryptic. So if you’re just tuning in, here’s a timeline to catch… Read More

  • The dredge report: being an account of an expedition into the hyperreality of the California Delta Crunch Network

    The dredge report: being an account of an expedition into the hyperreality of the California Delta

    It has occurred to me that perhaps TechCrunch pays insufficient attention to slurry, sediment, silt, sludge, mud, and muck; to canals, earthworks, levees, dikes, dredges, and the Army Corps of Engineers; to the vast engineering works, with lifespans measured in decades, that literally reshape our world. So last weekend I boarded a bus hired by the Dredge Research Collaborative. Read More

  • Learn deeply, but baby, don’t fear the Skynet Crunch Network

    Learn deeply, but baby, don’t fear the Skynet

    Who’s afraid of AlphaGo? Everyone who’s anyone, you might think. Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Stephen Hawking have all expressed concern about the “existential threat” of AI, just as “deep learning” neural networks are revolutionizing the AI field. Should we be scared for our jobs? Or even our species? Fear not, I have answers! They are, respectively… Read More

  • FFS, Facebook Crunch Network

    FFS, Facebook

    For your convenience. For your security. To better serve you. To offer you the best experience. To better fit our future plans. To comply with regulations. To optimize our resources. These are the blandly vicious lies that companies proffer when they want to take something away from you. I thought I was used to this game, but this week I was actually upset by it again. Et tu, Facebook? Read More

  • Vive la France! Vive la Tech!… But do these two great tastes taste great together? Crunch Network

    Vive la France! Vive la Tech!… But do these two great tastes taste great together?

    I spent last week on a junket in Paris, paid for by the French government, visiting the various hubs and spokes of the burgeoning French startup scene. I don’t think they’ll invite me back, after they read this. My considered assessment is that the French government, and to an extent the larger French tech scene, lacks ambition, boldness, and confidence, and their technology… Read More

  • Who’s afraid of the IoT? Crunch Network

    Who’s afraid of the IoT?

    It’s heeeere! The Internet of Things, I mean. I just spent several days at the Connected Conference in Paris, which focused on IoT hardware. They built a whole home full of connected devices, showcased the War for the WAN and underscored that the IoT is — as always — not quite what we imagined, and not quite what we hoped. Read More

  • 42: The answer to life, the universe and education Crunch Network

    42: The answer to life, the universe and education

    “We believe that IT has nothing to do with math and physics… it is more artistic than scientific,” says Nicolas Sadirac, as he cheerfully slaughters whole herds of sacred cows. “Knowledge is not useful any more, because IT advances in revolutionary ways, not iterative ones… we ask our students not to learn, just to solve the problem.” Oh, yes, and… Read More

  • All the cool kids are doing Ethereum now Crunch Network

    All the cool kids are doing Ethereum now

    In the beginning the Prophet Satoshi brought us Bitcoin. And the cryptogeeks and libertarians looked upon it, and said lo, we smile upon this, for it is good, and decentralized, and solves the Byzantine Generals Problem. For a time all was well. But then came wailing and gnashing of teeth and wearing of sackcloth. And then came the Prophet Vitalik, bearing Ethereum; and lo, it was even… Read More

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