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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  • Google in, Google out

    Google in, Google out

    Call it the Triumph of the Stacks. I attended Google I/O this week, and saw a lot of cool things: but what really hit home for me, at the keynote and the demos and the developer sessions, was just how dominant Google has become, in so many different domains … and, especially, how its only real competition comes from the four other tech behemoths who dominate our industry’s… Read More

  • Pattern recognition

    Pattern recognition

    I helped work on a thing last weekend that I can’t write about, yet, and then last week I found my way to San Jose for Nvidia’s GPU Technology Conference, and fine, all right, OK, I’m convinced: Now that the smartphone boom is plateauing, AI/deep learning is the new coal face of technology — and, at least for now, Nvidia bestrides it like many parallel colossi. Read More

  • This dystopia is completely ridiculous

    This dystopia is completely ridiculous

    We live in dark and darkly hilarious times. Our world has grown so bewildering and complicated, in no small part because of the finger jammed on technology’s fast-forward button, that many people have given up trying to make sense of it — or to make sense at all. That’s honestly my only explanation for some of the craziness out in the tech world these days. I once saw… Read More

  • Reasons to be cheerful

    Reasons to be cheerful

    I know, I know, it’s been a rough year. Fury, discord, and hatred seem to be on the rise. The super-elite keep getting richer, while young workers keep getting poorer, and economic mobility has plummeted. “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” And yet. Quietly, stubbornly, defying the headlines, bit by bit, around the world, slow… Read More

  • Hope and rapture on West Broadway

    Hope and rapture on West Broadway

    I stared out at San Francisco and wondered if, with the right kind of eyes, someone who wasn’t me could almost see a high and beautiful wave gathering, readying itself to inundate the nation and the world. Read More

  • Stop blaming the tech industry for the world’s problems

    Stop blaming the tech industry for the world’s problems

    Everything we do is terrible, says the trope. We’re oppressive. We’re exploitative. We’re sexist, racist, classist. We cater to the rich and privileged urban elite, while the poor masses fall further behind. How can we possibly claim to be building a better world? Read More

  • Waiting for the new new thing

    Waiting for the new new thing

    The smartphone wars are over, and everybody won. Life without our phones is almost unthinkable. I just spent the last five days on a couple of remote Pacific islands, and every so often I’d look up and see a flower-garlanded local child immersed in a Samsung tablet — and this seemed wholly unremarkable. Read More

  • Why do developers who could work anywhere flock to the world’s most expensive cities?

    Why do developers who could work anywhere flock to the world’s most expensive cities?

    Politicians and economists lament that certain alpha regions — SF, LA, NYC, Boston, Toronto, London, Paris — attract all the best jobs while becoming repellently expensive, reducing economic mobility and contributing to further bifurcation between haves and have-nots. But why don’t the best jobs move elsewhere? Read More

  • Sex and Gor and open source

    Sex and Gor and open source

    A few weeks ago, Dries Buytaert, founder of the popular open-source CMS Drupal, asked Larry Garfield, a prominent Drupal contributor and long-time member of the Drupal community, “to leave the Drupal project.” Why did he do this? He refuses to say. A huge furor has erupted in response — not least because the reason clearly has much to do with Garfield’s unconventional… Read More

  • Transnational socialism vs. Transnational Socialism

    Transnational socialism vs. Transnational Socialism

    “Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel … I declare the global social space we are building to be naturally independent of the tyrannies you seek to impose,” declaimed the Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, 21 years ago. Welp. That did not go quite as intended. Instead the Internet seems to have brought us new, networked forms… Read More

  • Bittercoin: true blockchain believers versus the trough of disillusionment

    Bittercoin: true blockchain believers versus the trough of disillusionment

    The last 12 months have seemed an annus horribilis in the cryptocurrency world. The Bitcoin community is still fighting its years-old esoteric-to-an-outsider civil war, and is still nowhere near consensus; Ethereum’s public image has not recovered from the DAO fiasco; the much-hyped R3 consortium has abandoned blockchain technology; and the SEC rejected the touted Bitcoin ETF. Read More

  • Hollywood producers and executives: what do they know? Do they know things? Let’s find out!

    Hollywood producers and executives: what do they know? Do they know things? Let’s find out!

    Did you watch the Oscars? Did you care about the Oscars? Statistically, if you’re American, you cared 25% less than 10-15 years ago. US movie theaters sold 5.5 tickets per capita to the American public in 2002, a number which has since declined to 4.1 in 2016. The overall box office looks healthy, thanks to ticket price inflation, but behind the headline numbers, Hollywood is not what was. Read More

  • I Am Annoyed

    I Am Annoyed

    When people ask me what this column’s theme is, my usual response is, tongue-in-cheek, “Whatever has annoyed me about the tech industry during the last week.” This is not always true. Often I celebrate things! But this week, my friends, this week is different; this week so much has annoyed me about the industry that I scarcely know where to begin. Read More

  • Why is Android Studio still such a gruesome embarrassment?

    Why is Android Studio still such a gruesome embarrassment?

    About twice a year, I get involved in a project that requires me to do some Android development; so, about twice a year, I re-launch Google’s so-called integrated development environment, Android Studio, with fingers crossed… and twice a year I find myself wincing with bitter disappointment, as I rediscover that it still has all the elegant, intuitive simplicity of a Rube… Read More

  • H-1B and you and me

    H-1B and you and me

    Let’s talk about something non-awful that Donald Trump has done. (Shouldn’t take long, right? Ba-dum-bump-wince.) Specifically, let’s talk about the draft executive order floating around which calls for H-1B visas to be allotted not by lottery, as they are today, but by auction, so that only highly-paid jobs are filled by H-1B holders. Read More

  • Technofascism and the three percent

    Technofascism and the three percent

    Everywhere I look, I see the magic number: 3%. On the right, a whole quasi-militia movement is named that. On the left, activists report “it takes 3.5% of a population engaged in sustained nonviolent resistance to topple brutal dictatorships.” Nassim Taleb argues that once an intransigent minority reaches “3 or 4%” of the total population, the latter will “have… Read More

  • Voting is at risk; let’s strengthen it Crunch Network

    Voting is at risk; let’s strengthen it

    In the wake of President Trump’s ludicrous lies about illegal votes in November’s election — immediately after the lies about the size of the audience for his inauguration — it’s tempting to just point and laugh at his apparent insecurity and fears of illegitimacy. He does, though, inadvertently raise a point worth considering: how can we strengthen the integrity… Read More

  • WhatsApp, Signal, and dangerously ignorant journalism Crunch Network

    WhatsApp, Signal, and dangerously ignorant journalism

    There is something about encryption that brings out the worst in journalists. Because to most of them it is magic, they are always searching desperately for the proverbial man behind the curtain, without knowing what to look for. Which may explain The Guardian’s recent bizarre attack on WhatsApp, which they accused, wrongly, of having a “backdoor.” And the security… Read More

  • Dronerise: gradually, then suddenly Crunch Network

    Dronerise: gradually, then suddenly

    Drones feel a bit like old news already, don’t they? At least in the Valley, with its hyper-fragmented mayfly attention span. The military has used them for decades. DJI, the undisputed (consumer) polycopter industry leader, was founded in 2006. We tech journalists can’t stop talking about drones, but they’re still mostly playthings, curiosities. One might well ask: what… Read More

  • AirWander for your wanderlust: legitimately impressive Crunch Network

    AirWander for your wanderlust: legitimately impressive

    It’s reassuring to know that, jaded as I am, every so often, I can still stumble across a service that makes me think: “At last! I’ve waited years for this to exist!” So I’m exceedingly pleased to tell you all about AirWander, a web site built for peripatetic travel junkies like me; one which — at last — allows you to easily search for, and book… Read More

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