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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  • Not even remotely possible

    Not even remotely possible

    Down with the tyranny of geography. Down with commuting, “the daily activity most injurious to human happiness.” Down with allegedly “collaborative” open floor plans built such that “high-level executives […] are exempt from this collaborative environment.” Up with more time, greater flexibility, and, believe it or not, higher… Read More

  • Beyond the boring blockchain bubble

    Beyond the boring blockchain bubble

    The silly season continues. Speculators are piling into the cryptocurrency space in the hopes of–sometimes very literally–making money fast. As I write this Ethereum’s value has halved since June but is still 20x since January. Litecoin is up 12x since then. Even Bitcoin has tripled, again. It seems like everyone now has an opinion on, and a position in… Read More

  • When Snowden mattered

    When Snowden mattered

    Four years ago, the deep state was the enemy. Edward Snowden had just revealed its machinations. The head of the NSA was angrily catcalled during his Black Hat keynote. “We”–hackers, iconoclasts, individualists, and/or everyone in tech who hopes we’re building a better future–readied for a battle against surveillance capitalism and the surveillance state. How… Read More

  • Unhack the vote

    Unhack the vote

    Voting is the free world’s Achilles heel and/or Trojan horse. Valid voters are suppressed. Vote audits are suppressed. Voter registration systems are hacked. And the worst-case scenario of all looms before us all like a monster in a horror movie: what if voting machines themselves are hacked, the “results” are faked and democracy is quietly cancelled without the general… Read More

  • When your fear is my opportunity

    When your fear is my opportunity

    I’m not saying the people around me here at Black Hat are malicious, or that the threats aren’t real. I’m saying that the industry, and everyone it, is strongly incentivized to make its customers and the wider world as frightened as possible, and people tend to follow the path of most incentivization, consciously or not, reluctantly or not. The security industry is the… Read More

  • Facebook’s CSO: the security industry needs to change

    Facebook’s CSO: the security industry needs to change

    Every summer, suited and/or black-clad security geeks flock en masse to the sun-drenched surreality of Las Vegas for “Hacker Summer Camp”: a full week of various security and hacker conferences. Today Facebook’s CSO Alex Stamos gave its keynote address. He began by calling the infosec community a “family” — then gave a speech which felt a little like an… Read More

  • Dear tech dudes, stop being so dumb about women

    Dear tech dudes, stop being so dumb about women

    I want to talk about a relatively little-discussed aspect of the venture-capitalist sexual-harassment revelations that have rocked the Valley of late. In their wake, I have seen, first- and secondhand, men react with statements which can be collectively paraphrased as “Now I’m nervous about hiring women / investing in women / being alone in a room with a woman, what do I… Read More

  • Death to C, ++

    Death to C, ++

    The C programming language is terrible. I mean, magnificent, too. Much of the world in which we live was built atop C. It is foundational to almost all computer programming, both historically and practically; there’s a reason that the curriculum for Xavier Niel’s revolutionary “42” schools begins with students learning how to rewrite standard C library functions… Read More

  • Why so costly?

    Why so costly?

    Technology makes things better. Not morally, of course: military technology kills and maims people more efficiently, surveillance technology invades privacy more pervasively, and so forth. But improved technology leads to more output from less input for any system. Almost a tautology, right? I mean, that’s the whole point. So why, in our technology-laced world, do certain domains… Read More

  • Cry ‘Havoc!’, and let slip the dogs of lulz

    Cry ‘Havoc!’, and let slip the dogs of lulz

    Well, why not? I mean, you know, what the hell. Dave Aitel’s proposal over at The Hill for “a cyber investigatory setup funded by private industry” to react to hacks into the American government may not be a good idea, per se, but who can afford that kind of cost-benefit analysis when we’re already in the throes of de-facto high-seas Internet warfare? Let’s just… Read More

  • The Uber and the frog

    The Uber and the frog

    How the mighty are fallen. Travis Kalanick is out, and Uber has become something of a headless horseman, with no current CEO, COO, CFO, CMO, VP of Engineering, or general counsel. Its alleged valuation has fallen by $18 billion and counting. How did this happen? Or maybe a better question is: how could this not have happened? It really wasn’t so long ago, believe it or not, that Uber… Read More

  • How to kill a golden age

    How to kill a golden age

    So I was sitting in the Theatre of Salt in Florence with my friend Jo discussing golden ages, as one inevitably does when in Florence — it having been the birthplace of that most famous and most consequential of all golden ages, the Renaissance — and I found myself speculating that Silicon Valley’s own ongoing golden age is at real risk of ending soon. I don’t think… Read More

  • The new new things that weren’t

    The new new things that weren’t

    We’re always looking for the New New Thing in tech, since long before Michael Lewis coined the phrase. Often we are entirely too successful. There are so many New New Things — and so many of them fall from the sky like burned-out flares soon enough, to further litter the graveyard of Old New Things. Can we learn from them? Probably. Will we learn from them? Probably not. But… Read More

  • Facebook is broken

    Facebook is broken

    The problem is this: Facebook has become a feedback loop which can and does, despite its best intentions, become a vicious spiral. At Facebook’s scale, behavioral targeting doesn’t just reflect our behavior, it actually influences it. Over time, a service which was supposed to connect humanity is actually partitioning us into fractal disconnected bubbles. The way Facebook’s… Read More

  • Blockchains are the new Linux, not the new internet

    Blockchains are the new Linux, not the new internet

    Bitcoin is up sevenfold, to $2,500, in the last year. Three weeks ago the redoubtable Vinay Gupta, who led Ethereum’s initial release, published an essay entitled “What Does Ether At $100 Mean?” Since then it has doubled. Too many altcoins to name have skyrocketed in value along with the Big Two. ICOs are raking in money hand over fist over bicep. What the hell is going on? Read More

  • 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

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