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Rethinking personal data and national sovereignty

posted Aug 4, 2020, 4:01 PM by Jake Vosloo   [ updated Aug 4, 2020, 4:54 PM ]

Countries are realising the exceptional power and national security risks associated with private data of their citizens. For example, data exported from the EU to the US (China, or Russia) allow the US (Chinese, or Russian) governments unfettered access to personal relationships, political views, financial, geo-location, and password data about their citizens and with this a direct line to influence those citizens. The recent Schrems II decision by the EU court is the first step in restricting how data can be transferred between countries. A summarised extract follows:

In the view of the Court, the limitations on the protection of personal data arising from the domestic law of the United States on the access and use by US public authorities of such data transferred from the European Union to that third country, which the Commission assessed in Decision 2016/1250, are not circumscribed in a way that satisfies requirements that are essentially equivalent to those required under EU law, by the principle of proportionality, in so far as the surveillance programmes based on those provisions are not limited to what is strictly necessary. On the basis of the findings made in that decision, the Court pointed out that, in respect of certain surveillance programmes, those provisions do not indicate any limitations on the power they confer to implement those programmes, or the existence of guarantees for potentially targeted non-US persons. The Court adds that, although those provisions lay down requirements with which the US authorities must comply when implementing the surveillance programmes in question, the provisions do not grant data subjects actionable rights before the courts against the US authorities.

The Court points out, in particular, that decision 2010/87 imposes an obligation on a data exporter and the recipient of the data to verify, prior to any transfer, whether that level of protection is respected in the third country concerned and that the decision requires the recipient to inform the data exporter of any inability to comply with the standard data protection clauses, the latter then being, in turn, obliged to suspend the transfer of data and/or to terminate the contract with the former. 

As mentioned by, it is not immediately obvious what level of national security surveillance is acceptable without offending GDPR standards and that data subject rights under Australia’s Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) do not fully align with the data subject rights under the GDPR.


Why PSE?

posted Jun 1, 2016, 7:05 PM by Jake Vosloo   [ updated Aug 4, 2020, 3:59 PM ]

What is PSE?

The term PSE is just a placeholder as there's no clearly defined brand name that represents this concept. The below is an attempt to define what a PSE is.

The human mind is built to protect you as if you are living in the stone age. Your mind is not evolved to handle modern technology nor does it evolve to meet the new requirements as quickly as technology is changing. Your mind’s purpose is to protect you from things that can kill you and to keep you from being rejected by your social group, which would cause you to be killed by something if you were living in the stone age.

The PSE is designed to elevate your mind above the limitations of its evolution, I call it assisted evolution. It builds on top of what you already have and make it more powerful and better adapted to the modern world. The PSE doesn’t interfere with your minds’ functionality in that your mind will still be able to protect you from being killed but the PSE will help you identify when your mind is over protective and it will help you navigate the complexities of the modern digital jungle.

If you read this and wonder what the PSE is, hold on I will be writing about that a bit later. First go read the book by Shawn T. Smith: "The User's Guide to the Human Mind: Why Our Brains Make Us Unhappy, Anxious, and Neurotic and What We Can Do about It"

Here's a quick summary of the book:

Your mind is not built to make you happy; it’s built to help you survive. So far, it’s done a great job! But in the process, it may have developed some bad habits, like avoiding new experiences or scrounging around for problems where none exist. Is it any wonder that worry, bad moods, and self-critical thoughts so often get in the way of enjoying life?

Based in acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), The User’s Guide to the Human Mind is a road map to the puzzling inner workings of the human mind, replete with exercises for overriding the mind’s natural impulses toward worry, self-criticism, and fear, and helpful tips for acting in the service of your values and emotional well-being—even when your mind has other plans.

Read the book and you will:

  • Find out how your mind tries to limit your behavior and your potential.
  • Discover how pessimism functions as your mind’s error management system.
  • Learn why you shouldn’t believe everything you think.
  • Overrule your thoughts and feelings and take charge of your mind and your life.


Australian PR for IT Professionals

posted May 3, 2016, 3:57 PM by Jake Vosloo   [ updated Nov 9, 2017, 1:35 AM ]

If you're an IT specialist and want to immigrate to Australia with a permanent resident visa, you can either pay a consultant to guide you through the process or you can follow the instructions below. If you find these instructions need updating, please send me a notice through the contact me page. These instructions were last updated in 2015.

1. These instructions apply for visa 190 because Australia gives priority to visa 190 which is the regional sponsored visa as opposed to visa 189 which is the national visa. 

2. For regional sponsorship you must select a skill from one of the regional skilled occupation lists or csol but not from the Australia sol
    Each skill and its ANZSCO code is explained in detail at the asri occupations website
    Most importantly, find the national, state and territory skills shortage lists hidden on the linked page. You can also see how many people are being invited.

3. Once you have selected the skill you want to be certified for, go to the certifying authority website and complete the forms, pay about A$500. You must send the following supporting docs:
a. A signed references from each of your employers or company accountants for the past 10 years. (colour copy, certify, scan)
b. Your CV
c. All certificates you have. (colour copy, certify, scan)

4. Get unabridged Birth Certificate, marriage certificate(s) from your home government for you, your partner and dependents.

5. Write the IELTS exam, after getting online practice and going for training if needed.  Your partner should do the IELTS as well and you should include your dependents on your visa application.

6. Once you receive the skill certificate from the certifying authority:

a. Apply for EOI at

b. Request regional sponsorship at:

ii. South Australia

iii. And all the other states that list your skill on their shortage list.

c. Apply at your local police office for a Police clearance certificate (takes 8 weeks)

7. Once you receive an invitation from one of the states, cancel the other applications and go to EOI to convert your EOI into a Visa application

a. Pay A$5000
b. Print the Health assessment invitation and have it done at one of the registered clinics.
c. Attach all the following supporting documents (colour copy, certify, scan)
Evidence of Birth
Evidence of Character
Travel document
Evidence of Australian work experience
Evidence of Overseas work experience
Evidence of Identity
Evidence of English Language Ability
Evidence of Australian Qualifications
Evidence of Skills Assessment
Evidence of Health

8. Receive an email from your case officer and supply any other outstanding documents (3 weeks) 
They will ask for Form 80 (a detailed personal and family history) along with your Police Clearance certificate.

9. Receive your Visa.

10. Apply for jobs through contacts who are already there. You can also try online job websites but don't expect any quick results.

11. If you have enough money to support yourself for at least 6 months you can travel to Australia to apply for jobs there. If you travel on your own you can live quite cheaply in a backpacker hostel. Then after you found a job you can bring your family across.

Honey eye drops

posted Nov 13, 2015, 5:17 PM by Jake Vosloo   [ updated Nov 13, 2015, 5:24 PM ]

After having used both home made raw honey eye drops and Optimel, I can recommend the Optimel honey eye drops for .

Research is being conducted by a university on this:

It is available from Australian optometrists and online/ebay:

Home made honey eye drops

  1. Honey eye drops burn like fire, if it burns too much for you, dilute it. If it's been diluted, throw away after a few days because it will allow bacteria to grow. For this reason I use it in concentrated form and just live with the burn/sting which goes away quickly.
  2. The quality of the honey is a very important factor, medical grade manuka honey (Leptospermum spp) is best.
  3. Heat it until it is fully melted and check for any impurities, even the smallest grain of dust may scratch your eyes. 
  4. Sterilize the container as much as possible. ideally use a plastic pipette and sterilize it in a pressure cooker for an hour at 121 degree C.
  5. If you have manuka honey then heat sterilize it as follows: Put the clean honey into a sterilized plastic pipette and melt the tip shut. Then sterilize the filled pipette in a pressure cooker for an hour at 121 degree C. 
  6. Notes
    1. Non manuka honey is sensitive to heat and heat will destroy the active ingredients so you cannot sterilize it. Rather make a new batch from fresh honey every month.
    2. Honey from some flowers are dangerous, manuka honey has been tested by scientists, others have not.
    3. The commercial drops are safer than raw honey because it has been sterilized and any dirt and other contaminants have been removed from the honey. The contaminants can make a person blind.
    4. If you make something yourself, you are responsible for the result. If you don't want to take responsibility then buy the tested products.

Queensland legal limitations on restriction

posted Feb 10, 2015, 8:44 PM by Jake Vosloo

This is an interesting section of the Building Act 1975 section 246S. 
It states that a person cannot be prohibited by the body corporate from installing solar panels on the building purely for aesthetic reasons.

When requirement to obtain consent for particular activities can not be withheld—other matters
(1) This section applies if, under a relevant instrument, the consent of an entity is required to install a solar hot water system or photovoltaic cells on the roof or other external surface of a prescribed building.
(2) The entity can not withhold consent for an activity mentioned in subsection (1) merely to enhance or preserve the external appearance of the building, if withholding the consent prevents a person from installing a solar hot water system or photovoltaic cells on the roof or other external surface of the building.

12v Fluorescent lamp drivers

posted Oct 7, 2011, 2:28 PM by Jake Vosloo   [ updated Jan 5, 2014, 1:35 PM ]

12v Fluoro Inverter
This is a low-cost project for 20 or 40 watt fluorescent tubes. However the most efficient is to use a 40 watt tube (or two 20 watt tubes in series).

The circuit doesn't require many components but its operation is quite complex. The clever component is the transformer. It performs 3 functions.
Firstly it is acting as a feedback component for the transistor to create an oscillator circuit. Secondly it is providing a high voltage (over 1 000 volts) to strike the tube and keep it struck and thirdly it is supplying spikes of energy to illuminate the tube.
The circuit is shown in figure 1 and we will take a detailed look at how the transformer carries out the three functions.
The transformer in this project is not a lethal device as the output wattage is slightly below the value that produces electrocution. However the output is in excess of 1,000v and the ends of the secondary winding should not be touched when the transformer is operating.
To get a shock you must touch both
ends at the same time - it is not sufficient to touch one end and any other part of the circuit as the secondary is an isolated winding.
Even a simple transformer such as the one we are winding in this project will demonstrate a number of interesting features. One of them is the ability to step-up a voltage. This is the main purpose in this project as we require a voltage of approximately 1,000v to strike the tube.
Another interesting feature is the availability to get positive or negative voltage (phase) from a separate winding on the transformer, simply by connecting the winding around one way or the other. In this project we connect the winding to get positive feedback so that a single transistor will drive the circuit.

The oscillator works on positive feedback. This positive feedback comes from a separate 13 turn winding on the transformer called the feedback winding.
The cycle starts by turning on the transistor a fair bit via the 180R resistor on the base and this causes current to flow in the primary winding. The flow of current causes magnetic flux to be produced by the winding and this passes through the ferrite core. The feedback winding is also wound around the core and the magnetic lines pass through this winding and produce a voltage.
The winding is connected to the transistor so that the voltage from the winding ASSISTS the voltage from the 180R resistor and causes the transistor to turn on harder.
Thus more current flows through the primary winding and the magnetic flux increases. This causes more voltage to be produced in the feedback winding and the transistor turns on even harder.
This continues until the transistor is fully turned ON and maximum current is flowing in the primary winding.
Now comes the important part.
Even though maximum current is flowing in the primary winding and maximum flux is produced in the core, this flux is a steady flux and not an increasing flux.
The only time a voltage is produced in a secondary (or feedback) winding is when the flux is INCREASING (or decreasing). When the flux is stationary, the voltage in any of these windings ceases to be produced.
Thus we come to a point in the cycle where the current in the primary is a maximum but the voltage in the feedback winding is zero.
The only current flowing into the base of the transistor comes from the turn on resistor but this is note enough to fully turn the transistor ON and so the transistor turns off a small amount.
This has the effect of reducing the flux in the ferrite rod and we now have a situation where the flux is DECREASING. This changes the situation in the feedback winding. The voltage in the feedback winding is now produced in the OPPOSITE DIRECTION and the transistor begins to turn off even more.
The magnetic flux begins to collapse very quickly and this produces a very high reverse voltage on the base of the transistor (up to about 25v) to turn the transistor off completely.
This is how we get a positive and negative voltage for the transistor.
This is quite an amazing achievement as the voltage through the primary doesn't change direction - it merely increases and decreases in value - but the voltage from any of the other windings changes direction!
The collapsing magnetic flux cuts the turns of the secondary winding and produces a voltage of about 2.5v per turn in the 450 turns, making a total of about 1 ,000 appearing across the ends of the tube. This is sufficient to strike the tube and as we mentioned above, the resistance (or impedance) of the tube reduces as more current flows. In our case the voltage across the tube is about 400v (this voltage depends on how hard the tube is driven and is riot a fixed value).
When the magnetic flux has almost fully been converted to electrical energy, the 180R turn-on resistor on the base of the transistor starts the cycle over again.
The voltages produced by the transformer are very spiky and the gas in a fluorescent tube is very quick to react to these spikes. The gas produces ultraviolet light that strikes the fluorescent material on the inside of the tube and causes it to produce visible light.
The tube forms part of the load for the transformer and has an effect on quenching the spikes to the transistor so it is not advisable to operate the transformer without the tube connected.


1 – 2R2 1/4watt (for testing)
1 - 47R 1/4watt
1 - 180R 1watt
1 - 47k
1 - 100k mini rim pot
1 - 100ngreencap
1 - 100u 16v electrolytic
1 - BC338 transistor
1 - TIP 3055 transistor
1 - on/off switch
1 - 12mm bolt and nut for transistor
1 - heat-sink 5cm x 10cm
1 - ferrite rod 10mm dia x 8m long
1 - 30m winding wire .28mm dia
1 - 4m winding wire .61 mm dia
(wire diameters are NOT critical)
1 - insulation tape either sticky tape
or masking tape
1 - interlayer insulation - paper


2 - 20 watt fluorescent tubes
1 - box to house project
1 - 6m of figure-8 flex to go between inverter and tube(s)

8 Watt driver

The schematic for the 8 Watt driver will show you that this design is quite different from both previous ones. It uses capacitive ballasting like the 2 Watt driver, and a two-transistor saturation-limited oscillator like the 20 Watt design. But note an important difference: This circuit has a choke added in the DC supply, that produces more effects than you may think: Thanks to this choke, mutual conduction between the two transistors is no longer a problem, allowing for a very simple drive scheme and almost lossless operation. The input current becomes almost clean DC, minimizing further filtering requirements. And the waveform becomes a quite clean sine wave, which gives a tremendous advantage in terms of radiated noise! This lamp can be used in a radio station without causing any interference.


The circuit was designed to experiment with using small fluorescent lamps as a broad pattern source of modulated light. The circuit hits the small lamp with narrow 1us pulses at a rate of 10KHz. Each pulse launches about 10 watts of visible light. The lamp starting method is adcrude but the circuit does work.

12VDC Fluorescent Lamp Driver

A number of people have been unable to find the transformer needed for the Black Light project, so I looked around to see if I could find a fluorescent lamp driver that does not require any special components. I finally found one in Electronics Now. Here it is. It uses a normal 120 to 6V stepdown transformer in reverse to step 12V to about 350V to drive a lamp without the need to warm the filaments.

40W Fluorescent Lamp Inverter

This 40W fluorescent lamp inverter allows you to run 40W fluorescent tubes from any 12V source capable of delivering 3A. This is basically a larger version of the 12VDC Fluorescent Lamp Driver and can be used to light regular or blacklight tubes

Part Total Qty. Description
R1 1 180 Ohm 1W Resistor
R2 1 47 Ohm 1/4W Resistor
R3 1 2.2 Ohm 1W Resistor (only needed once)
C1, C2 2 100uF 16V Electrolytic Capacitor
C3 1 100nF Ceramic Disc Capacitor
Q1 1 TIP 3055 or 2N3055 or equivalent
L1 1 See "Notes"
T1 1 See "Notes"

Interesting alphabets

posted Nov 22, 2010, 1:10 PM by Jake Vosloo   [ updated Jan 5, 2014, 1:35 PM by Jake Vosloo ]

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