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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  • 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

  • It’s The Jons 2016! Crunch Network

    It’s The Jons 2016!

    Happy New Year! 2016 was … well, we will not soon forget it. Brexit; Trump; the Grim Reaper’s celebrity killing spree; and, on the upside, a lot of magnificent tech achievements and breakthroughs. But The Jons are not about that. The Jons, an annual award named (in an awe-inspiring fit of humility) after myself, go to tech’s more dubious achievers. And hoo boy were there a lot… Read More

  • Dear Air Canada: a systems analysis of a comically colossal cascading failure Crunch Network

    Dear Air Canada: a systems analysis of a comically colossal cascading failure

    I’ll be blunt; I’m here to vent my fury. On your behalf, dear reader! Honest. When a corporation gets things terribly wrong, those of us with platforms need to turn our wrath upon them. It’s the only feedback that actually matters. But there’s a larger issue here: the way that poisonously rigid corporate software, when it meets reality, can cause whole companies to… Read More

  • The cleantech conspiracy Crunch Network

    The cleantech conspiracy

    This, if you squint and adjust your tinfoil hat in just the right way, is the real story of the US election: the Russian candidate defeated the Saudi Arabian candidate. Why them? Because they’re more desperate than anyone else. Both are failed, fragile petrostates propped up only by oil money; so both see cleantech, and climate-change concern — ie Elon Musk — as the real… Read More

  • Death to JIRA Crunch Network

    Death to JIRA

    I have long held that Atlassian’s ubiquitous JIRA bug-tracker / feature-planner serves a valuable purpose in the software biz: it gives project teams a common enemy to bond together against. Alas, it’s not worth it. JIRA’s design is fundamentally antithetical to good software development, if it is used for anything more than simple bug tracking. Allow me to propose a better way. Read More

  • Three cheers for Valley capitalism Crunch Network

    Three cheers for Valley capitalism

    It’s easy to be critical of the tech industry, and even easier to be critical of capitalism itself. Let us all continue to do so; criticism is valuable. But let’s remember that we do so because they are so important. Capitalism is still what lifts the world’s least fortunate out of poverty, and technology increasingly feels like the last, best hope of a world otherwise dead… Read More

  • We’re all screwed, but let’s not be nihilists Crunch Network

    We’re all screwed, but let’s not be nihilists

    We are so doomed it’s almost funny, and always have been. Don’t worry, I’m not being political! …well, not exactly. I’m talking about the State of Internet Security, which is, as always, disastrous-verging-on-cataclysmic. Are you worried about Russian hackers? Hah! You should be so lucky as to be hacked. We should all be so lucky as to have a functional Internet they… Read More

  • So you think you elected an autocrat Crunch Network

    So you think you elected an autocrat

    Welp. I’m sorry to hear that. Whether you are Venezuelan, Zimbabwean, Russian, Turkish, or American; whether your democratic process has been fatally compromised, or your fellow citizens have knowingly voted in a monster; indeed, even whether you’re right or wrong — I feel your pain. But for what it’s worth, some technology, if used correctly, is still on your side. Read More

  • Trendspotting Crunch Network

    Trendspotting

    Brexit and Trump; applied CRISPR and the Gigafactory; the rise of self-driving vehicles, the fall of pollsters; the global saturation of smartphones, the first mass-market VR headsets; the first drone-delivered terror bomb, the first drone drug mule; Signal and the Secure Enclave; Ethereum and the DAO; AI and SpaceX — we can all agree, I hope, that this has been one hell of a year. Read More

  • Welcome to the hardtech era Crunch Network

    Welcome to the hardtech era

    Good news, my friends! The day we have all ostentatiously longed for has arrived. I come to announce that the days of sugar water are over. The era of SoLoMo photo apps, messaging copycats, new niche social networks, “Uber for X”, and on-demand delivery of artisanal civet coffee is behind us at last. No more trivial apps and web services. At long last it is time to solve the… Read More

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