Archive for September 15, 2022

Raven Capital Launches Fund II With Investment From TELUS Pollinator Fund And $75M target

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 15, 2022 by itnerd

Raven Indigenous Capital Partners, North America’s only Indigenous-led and owned venture capital intermediary, launched its second fund today (Raven Fund II) with an initial close of $46M, and a target size of $75M. Raven Fund II invests in innovative, scalable Indigenous enterprises at the forefront of advancing the well-being of Indigenous Peoples. Investors include BDC CapitalFarm Credit Canada, the TELUS Pollinator Fund for GoodVancityBank of America, and others.

There are an estimated 325,000 Indigenous-owned companies in North America, including about 50,000 in Canadaaccording to the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Businesses. Most struggle to access the required capital, capacity building support and networks to fulfill their potential.  

Raven’s first fund, launched in 2019, set an initial goal of $5M and closed at $25M. To date, it has made 20 investments in 11 companies, including OneFeather, a company developing Indigenous banking solutions, who are in the process of raising a Series B.

Raven provides late seed and early-stage capital to innovative, scalable, purpose driven Indigenous enterprises.  Companies are screened through a unique, Indigenous impact framework that both expresses, and reflects, Indigenous ways of knowing and being.

Based on investor interest in Raven Fund II, Raven expects to reach its final closing target soon. The team is also continuing to build a strong pipeline of Indigenous enterprises as it works to revitalize the Indigenous economy.  

Uber Introducing Comfort Electric to Vancouverites 

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 15, 2022 by itnerd

I have some good news for Vancouverites who want to get around town in style and be part of the climate solution. Uber is introducing Comfort Electric – a product for riders to be connected to premium electric vehicles like a Tesla or Polestar. This means newer, more spacious cars for your ride. This product is currently only available in Vancouver in Canada and has expanded to more cities in the US.

Their newsroom post related to this is here

Earlier this summer, Uber announced a partnership with Hertz to accelerate the adoption of EVs. Rideshare drivers on Uber can now sign up to rent Teslas on a weekly basis from Hertz in Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal. This partnership is one of the reasons why we are able to offer this new product. 

Drivers eligible for Comfort Electric can earn more per hour than those eligible only for standard products, as a result of the Zero Emissions Incentive, and access to Comfort Electric’s higher fares. Not to mention all the money they’re saving from not having to pay for gas!

This is all part of Uber’s global commitment to becoming a zero-emissions mobility platform by 2040, and in Vancouver by 2030. They continue to take steps to help riders go electric. 

It’s Time For @Twitter To Fix The Fact That It Is A Toxic Environment

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 15, 2022 by itnerd

You’ll note that the title of this post has “@Twitter” in it. That’s because when this gets posted to both this blog and to Twitter, I want Twitter to see this as they need to see this feedback about their platform which can be summed up in these five words: Twitter is a toxic environment.

There. I said it. Twitter used to be the town hall for the planet. But instead it’s become a place with racists, misogynists, and other really negative types to be able to have free reign to say and do whatever they want. And if you call out one of these types, the perception is that you are the one that will be punished by Twitter. And that’s a problem.

Let me give you an example.

A friend of mine called out a bunch of Armie Hammer sympathizers on Twitter. In case you’re wondering who Armie Hammer is, this Wikipedia article will help. But you should pay attention to this specific section which outlines some very serious abuse allegations against Hammer. During this exchange on Twitter where opinions were exchanged on both sides of the argument, a bunch of trolls predictably appeared to make the conversation take a trip to a very toxic place. And my friend told one of the trolls to choke on a vegetable. That was apparently enough to get her banned from Twitter for a few hours. From what I can tell, none of the trolls were banned from Twitter as checking their accounts illustrates that they are still able to post freely online while my friend couldn’t do so as she was in Twitter’s penalty box so to speak.

The thing is, this isn’t an isolated incident. I have heard of this sort of thing before and it isn’t an uncommon experience where the trolls get away with all sorts of things on Twitter and people who stand up to them get punished by Twitter. And this illustrates problem number one. Twitter doesn’t appear to deal with situations like this in a fair manner. This is how it was put to me by the person who got banned in the example above:

It’s completely a 2 tiered approach. People of colour and women don’t have the right to fight back, while white people, “DEVOUT CHRISTIANS,” racists, trolls and abusers can say whatever they want.

I want to believe that this isn’t the case. But in the absence of objective facts that prove otherwise, this is reality that people see on Twitter. This is a huge problem if you’re Twitter as perception is reality to anyone who uses the platform. So my first suggestion to Twitter is to lay out how you deal with situations like this and clearly demonstrate that punishments for racism, misogyny, and the like are fairly and publicly doled out.

Related to that, I have ask why are racists, misogynists, and other really negative types welcome on Twitter in the first place? Seriously. Social media spaces online should not be lawless spaces where these people are free to roam and say whatever they want. There are laws against this sort of thing. Specifically laws against hate speech and verbal abuse. These should be applied online just as they are in person. And Twitter should have a protocol to “encourage” these people to alter their online behaviour and bring them to the attention of law enforcement if they don’t alter their online behaviour. Now some free speech types may read that and say that this is a massive over-reach. My response is that free speech has limits. And based on what I have seen where examples like the one above, and based on experiences that I have experienced on Twitter with comments about my race, that limit was reached a long time ago and Twitter needs address this.

Now in the absence of Twitter seriously addressing these issues in a more active way, there are ways that you can address this sort of behaviour if you are a victim of it. Twitter themselves have these tips to deal with these situations. But Twitter really needs to address this in a very meaningful and public way if they want to still be known as the town hall for the planet instead of being known for being a very toxic cesspool.

The ball’s in your court now Twitter.

My Day Would Not Be Complete Without Reporting On An Extortion Phishing #Scam

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 15, 2022 by itnerd

A reader of this blog forwarded me yet another extortion phishing scam. Here’s what the reader got:

I am sorry to inform you but your device was hacked.

That’s what happened. I have used a Zero Click vulnerability with a special code to hack your device through a website.
A complicated software that requires precise skills that I posess.
This exploit works in a chain with a specially crafted unique code and such type of an attack goes undetected.
You only had to visit a website to be infected, and unfortunately for you it’s that simple for me.

You were not targeted, but just became one of the many unlucky people who got hacked through that webpage.
All of this happened in August. So I’ve had enough time to collect the information.

I think you already know what is going to happen next.
For a couple of month my software was quietly collecting information about your habits, websites you visit, websearches, texts you send.
There is more to it, but I have listed just a few reasons for you to understand how serious this is.

To be clear, my software controlled your camera and microphone as well.
It was just about right timing to get you privacy violated. I have made a few pornhub worthy videos with you as a lead actor.

I’ve been waiting enough and have decided that it’s time to put an end to this.
Here is my offer. Let’s name this a “consulting fee” I need to get, so I can delete the media content I have been collecting.
Your privacy stays untouched, if I get the payment.
Otherwise, I will leak the most damaging content to your contacts and post it to a public website for perverts to view.

You and I understand how damaging this will be to you, it’s not that much money to keep your privacy.

I don’t care about you personally, that’s why you can be sure that all files I have and software on your device will be deleted immediately after I receive the transfer.
I only care about getting paid.

My modest consulting fee is 1700 US Dollars to be transferred in Bitcoin. Exchange rate at the time of the transfer.
You need to send that amount to this wallet: [BITCOIN ADDRESS REDACTED]

The fee is non negotiable, to be transferred within 2 business days.

Obviously do not try to ask for help from the law enforcement unless you want your privacy to be violated.
I will monitor your every move until I get paid. If you keep your end of the agreement, you wont hear from me ever again.

Take care and have a good day.

So let’s ignore the questionable English in this email and start with you cannot see. The email address was spoofed so that it seems like it was sent from your account, but it really wasn’t. That’s meant to get your attention. Second, it claims that you were hit with via “zero click vulnerability”. I call BS on that. Basically, they’re trying to take advantage of people’s lack of knowledge of computers by saying that they used some super scary exploit to hack you. To be clear, there are such things as “zero click” vulnerabilities, but they are so valuable that a guy like this wouldn’t have access to them. Or anyone with that level of skill would be working for a nation state trying to do some form of espionage and not trying to extort people.

So as usual, the scumbag claims to have recorded you “pleasuring yourself” so to speak. And they even mention PornHub. That’s pretty ballsy. I’ll dole out my usual advice. If you are worried about some piece of software using your camera to record you without your knowledge, put some tape over your camera.

And judging from the fact that when I checked his Bitcoin wallet, there were no deposits in it, it either means that nobody has fallen for this scam. Or nobody has fallen for it yet. Seeing as you’re reading this, you won’t be falling for this scam.

Finally, the scumbag says to not to go to law enforcement for help. Whatever.

Really, the quality of these extortion phishing email scams is really low. I’ve shown off a few of them in the last couple of weeks and I remain unimpressed. Absolutely nobody should be falling for these because they are so badly done. And I do mean nobody.