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Ian Hilt

Date: 2009-12-22 12:32
Subject: Convert VHD to VMDK
Security: Public
Tags:convert, esxi, vhd, virtual machine, virtual server, vmdk, vmware
Required programs: VMware Virtual Machine Importer 2

The purpose here is to convert a VHD file to a VMDK file and then upload it to a VMware ESXi 4.0 server.

First, start the importer. Click Next.

Select Import a standalone machine. Click Next.

Browse to the VMC file associated with the VHD file. Click Next.
This is the stage at which the importer checks the VHD file.  If it cannot determine the OS, cannot read the filesystem, etc, then it will fail.  Check the log file for errors.  

Choose VMware workstation virtual machine as the destination. Click Next.

Give the virtual machine a name and choose the destination directory.  Select Workstation 5.x, VMware Player 1.x and VMware Server 1 under Create this virtual machine for. Click Next.

In Disk Options, choose Create a full clone, and Allocate all disk space now for better performance.  Click Next.

If all the settings look ok, click Next.
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Date: 2009-12-15 09:00
Subject: Deploying Webapps From Gwt to Tomcat
Security: Public
Tags:annoying, gwt, sqlserver, tomcat
This is mainly a way for me to remember what the heck I did. YMMV. echarts is the name of my app.

On the server, do the following,
  • Install Debian 5.0
  • Install Apache Tomcat 5.5
  • Install sun-java6-jre (This isn't absolutely necessary for most cases, but in mine it was the only way to figure out why my application was failing.)
  • Install sqljdbc4.jar in $CATALINA_HOME/common/lib. DO NOT put this file in $CATALINA_HOME/webapps/echarts/WEB-INF/lib. It won't work.
In the $CATALINA_HOME/conf/policy.d/04webapps.policy file, make the following changes.

diff --git a/04webapps.policy.orig b/04webapps.policy
index bc4f009..d738d06 100644
--- a/04webapps.policy.orig
+++ b/04webapps.policy
@@ -47,6 +47,8 @@ grant {
     permission java.lang.RuntimePermission "accessClassInPackage.org.apache.jasper.runtime";
     permission java.lang.RuntimePermission "accessClassInPackage.org.apache.jasper.runtime.*";
+    permission java.net.SocketPermission "databaseserver:1433", "connect,resolve";
+    permission java.lang.reflect.ReflectPermission "suppressAccessChecks";
 // The permissions granted to the balancer WEB-INF/classes and WEB-INF/lib directory
@@ -58,4 +60,5 @@ grant codeBase "file:/usr/share/tomcat5.5-webapps/balancer/-" {
 grant codeBase "file:${catalina.home}/bin/tomcat-juli.jar" {
        permission java.io.FilePermission "/usr/share/tomcat5.5-webapps/jsp-examples/WEB-INF/classes/logging.properties", "read";
        permission java.io.FilePermission "/usr/share/tomcat5.5-webapps/servlets-examples/WEB-INF/classes/logging.properties", "read";
+       permission java.io.FilePermission "/var/lib/tomcat5.5/webapps/echarts/WEB-INF/classes/logging.properties", "read";

In /etc/default/tomcat5.5 uncomment the line JAVA_HOME=/usr/lib/jvm/java-6-sun.

That's all I can remember for now.
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Date: 2009-09-03 21:20
Subject: Why Are We Here?
Security: Public
Tags:college, funny
Something funny my online math instructor said.

"Remember, we are here to learn HOW not to get correct answers."

Huh.  That makes my life way easier.
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Date: 2009-09-02 13:47
Subject: To All My Friends Out There ...
Security: Public
Tags:arguments, college, friends, funny

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Date: 2009-09-02 12:16
Subject: Scare Tactics
Security: Public
Tags:firefox, friends, frustrated, rants, work
A few years ago I had a job offer for a position in technology.  Since this was what I wanted to do at the time, it seemed like a great idea.  It also seemed like a great idea because I would be getting a raise.  I interviewed and decided that it was a go from my end.  After a few days, I thought instead of keeping it a secret (one of my beliefs is secrets are stupid), I decided to tell my boss.  This was before I knew it would work out, so I was taking a chance.  However, I thought that if my boss wanted to keep me, this was the time to do it.  At the time, I believed this was not, in any way, going to happen.  Let's just say wages were frozen at this point.

Anyway, he said he would talk to the president.  The next day he came back with a better offer than the other company.  I was absolutely shocked.  "Wow," I thought, "they must think I do good work here."  Now, before I explain why I think this thought of mine is wrong, please understand that I'm a realist.  I do my best to see the truth rather than focus on the negative or the positive, in other words, I do my best to stay objective.

So, a few months later, I was discussing this situation with my boss.  I can't remember exactly how we arrived at this point, but he began explaining the events that transpired from his end.  Apparently he told the president, in other words, that if I left, he would have to do my job, and if he couldn't do the job, then the president would have to do it.

Your first reaction might be, "Why on earth would your boss tell you that?!  That's insane!"  a) I don't know and b) I'd have to agree with you.  Keep in mind this company is rather small, the president started the company over thirty years ago, and my boss was the first employee.  Still ...

"Wow," I thought to myself, "glad I stayed here."  Sarcasm, sarcasm, sarcasm

No, my friends, yours truly is not wanted because of his skill, his intelligence, his integrity, his passion, or his leadership skills. No, he is wanted so that his boss's boss doesn't have to get his hands dirty.  Huh.  Sure you couldn't, ya know, HIRE SOMEONE ELSE!

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Date: 2009-08-27 20:36
Subject: Does the MMR Vaccine Cause Autism?
Security: Public
Tags:autism, measles, mmr, mumps, pdd, research, rubella, vaccination

Recently there has been considerable controversy over whether children should be vaccinated for the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) viruses.  This controversy has arisen primarily from one paper written by Dr. Andrew Wakefield.  In this paper he speculates that there is a possibility the vaccine for these viruses can cause the pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) autism.  Since this paper was published, there has been a growing amount of research that has found no causal connection.  Additionally, Wakefield’s ethics concerning the supporting research have come under scrutiny.  After reviewing the statistics for the number of cases of MMR in the U.S. over the last century, it is obvious that allowing Wakefield’s paper to decrease the administration of the vaccine for MMR would be disastrous.  In summary, although some have speculated that autism is caused by the MMR vaccine, this claim is unsupported by the scientific evidence and should be discarded as a reason to withhold the MMR vaccination from children.

In 1998, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, with thirteen of his colleagues, published a paper that suggested the MMR vaccine may cause autism.  In this paper Wakefield states that he and his team had identified a “chronic enterocolitis in children that may be related to neuropsychiatric dysfunction” (1998, p. 641).  In most cases, the parents of the twelve children investigated had indicated most of their children developed symptoms after the MMR vaccination had been administered (1998, p. 641).  This observation led to what Wakefield thought could be a causal link between the MMR vaccine and autism and to an international dispute over whether the MMR vaccine should be administered to young children.

However, the evidence that suggests the MMR vaccine may cause autism is speculative, at best.  In 2001, DeStefano and Chen published a paper reviewing the research for this supposed connection and concluded that it was not persuasive.  Specifically, they point out that in Wakefield’s study there was no control and experiment group (p. 832), the test for causality was false (pp. 835-836), and subsequent experiments by other researchers with control and experiment groups found no correlation between the MMR vaccination and autism (p. 833).  In one particular study, 498 individuals diagnosed with autism and vaccinated with the MMR vaccine were investigated for some indication of a connection between the two (Taylor, 1999).  The conclusion was simple:  there is no connection (Taylor, 1999, p. 2029).  Even those who support the work of Wakefield agree that the connection is speculative (Hendrickson, 2002, p. 2052).  Based on these findings it’s difficult to understand how one researcher could determine a connection in 12 out of 12 cases when these other researchers were unable to find a connection in hundreds of cases.  Indeed, the entire medical community seems to be saying that there is no connection.  Finally, Andrew Wakefield was summoned for a hearing before the General Medical Council (GMC) for ethical malpractice regarding the research that supports the paper in which he suggests there is a possible causal connection between the MMR vaccine and autism (General Medical Council, n.d.).  Why would the GMC have reasonable cause to conduct this hearing?  Surely, there has to be something questionable about Wakefield’s behavior for this to occur.  If his ethical behavior is under scrutiny, perhaps his results should be as well.  In any case, the scientific community agrees that the results of Wakefield’s study and his ethical behavior are on shaky ground.

This leaves one last point to be made:  not vaccinating for MMR is not worth the risk.  Of these three viruses—measles, mumps, and rubella—measles is the only one that is fatally dangerous.  According to A. Parker (2009), the number of reported cases of measles in the United States has decreased from 894,134 in 1941 to fewer than 150 each year since 1997.  With such a dramatic decrease in the reported cases, it is obvious the MMR vaccine works.  Sadly, measles continues to be a leading cause of death among young children worldwide (World Health Organization, 2008).  As a result, it is widely agreed among medical authorities that vaccinating for MMR must continue to maintain reduced deaths caused by the measles virus.  In fact, the American Red Cross, World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, and United Nations Foundation formed a partnership to reduce the number of measles related deaths worldwide (Center for Disease Control, 2009).  Autism, on the other hand, rarely, if ever, causes death.  Arguably, not vaccinating for MMR makes little sense when the consequences are considered.

After reviewing the evidence and the scientific community’s collective opinion, this author has concluded that there is no credible scientific evidence to support the claim that the MMR vaccine will lead to autism.  In fact, even if the vaccine caused autism in very rare cases, not vaccinating for MMR is not worth the risk of MMR spreading through unvaccinated children and resulting in many deaths.  Therefore, the very remote possibility of causing a neuropsychiatric dysfunction, such as autism, by vaccinating children for MMR should not be used as a reason not to vaccinate for MMR.


Center for Disease Control. (2009 May). Measles mortality reduction and regional global measles elimination - program in brief- 508 compliant. Retrieved August 24, 2009, from http://www.cdc.gov/ncird/progbriefs/downloads/global-measles-elim.pdf.

DeStefano, F. & Chen, R. (2001). Autism and measles-mumps-rubella vaccination: controversy laid to rest?. CNS Drugs, 15(11), 831-837. Retrieved July 28, 2009, from MEDLINE with  Full Text database.

General Medical Council. (n.d.). General Medical Council Press Office. Retrieved July 30, 2009, from http://www.gmcpressoffice.org.uk/apps/news/events/detail.php?key=3657.

Hendrickson, B. & Turner, J. (2002, June 15). MMR vaccination, ileal lymphoid nodular hyperplasia, and pervasive developmental disorder. The Lancet, 359(9323), 2051-2052.  Retrieved July 30, 2009, from MEDLINE with Full Text database.

Parker, A. & Uzicanin, A. (2009). Measles (rubeola). Retrieved August 2, 2009, from http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2010/chapter-2/measles.aspx.

Taylor, B., Miller, E., Farrington, C. P., et al. (1999 June 12). Autism and measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine: no epidemiological evidence for a causal association. The Lancet  353(9169), 2026-2029.

Wakefield, A., Murch S., Anthony A., et al. (1998). Ileal lymphoid nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and regressive developmental disorder in children. The Lancet 351(9103), 637-641.

World Health Organization. (2008). Measles. Retrieved August 2, 2009, from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs286/en/index.html.

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Date: 2009-08-26 16:39
Subject: The Simple Life
Security: Public

I consider myself to be a simple person.  I hadn't realized I was a simple person until I started to take notice of other people which was around twelve years of age.  Now it is true that I noticed people before I was twelve, but in much the same way as one notices a chair or foot rest.  Around this time I started to realize that people are not simple; people are complicated, much like a ball of yarn that has been unwound then tangled by a kitten is complicated.

For example, take coffee.  I like to drink it black and warm.  Not scaldingly hot.  Not filled with additives.  Just coffee.  Why, you ask?  Because I just do.  See?  Simple answer.

I do think that there is an art to brewing good coffee.  I've had great coffee and I've had coffee that was only a hair better than drinking urine.  I suppose one could argue that this is complicated, but it doesn't mean I have to know how to do it.  Just that somebody does, and that I get to drink it.  Nice and simple.

Recently, as in five minutes ago, I perused http://coffeegeek.com.  Very complicated website.  Could I find a simple, easy recipe to brew great coffee?  Didn't look long enough to find out.

In essence, I suppose I think that there is a recipe for The One coffee brew.  The One will taste perfect in every way, will not need any additives, and generate long-lasting memories of the experience.  It seems people just want options so that they have options.  I don't mind options as long as I can eliminate them.
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Date: 2009-08-21 10:14
Subject: Educational future continued
Security: Public
If I could just avoid human contact while still doing medical research, then I think it would work out. Problem is, I don't know how I could get a degree in pathology without human contact.

Can you tell I'm bored with my job?
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Date: 2009-08-20 21:13
Subject: Follow-up to previous post about educational future
Security: Public
Yea, so maybe I was on the fence before about the whole medical/pathology thing.  I am no longer.  I just tried to watch a lumbar puncture on youtube and nearly passed out.  PASSED FREAKIN' OUT.  I'm a loser.  Why does that happen?  Is it genetic?  I know my aunt following injection of any sort would pass out five to ten minutes later.  As I watched, I didn't have any negative thoughts.  I wasn't scared.  I didn't feel panicky.  I just noticed I started to sweat a little bit and get light-headed.  It was weird.  It must be psychological, but I wouldn't know how to counteract it since I didn't have any thoughts about it.  Maybe that's the problem ... I should think more???  In any case, I think for now, med school is off the list of things to do.
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Date: 2009-08-19 21:05
Subject: My Educational Future
Security: Public

In case you haven't heard, I'm currently enrolled at DeVry University in their B.S. program of computer engineering technology.  I've nearly completed (90%) my first two courses!  I'm currently holding about 98% in both, so I'm pleased.

Ok, onto the topic of this post.  Apparently to my brain this wasn't enough.  Instead, it decided to remind me of my childhood dream of becoming a pathologist.  "That sounds like a great idea!", I said.  So, I did some research into what I would need to accomplish this lofty goal.  The results look like this:  four years of a bachelor's degree, probably in biology; four years of medical school; four years doing research for a doctorate; four years in residency for my specialty, pathology.  Is it possible?  Maybe.  Would it be worth it?  Yup.  Would I do it?  In a heart beat.  Should I do it? Nope.  Why not? Well, that's complicated, but it boils down to these following reasons.  Currently, my life is busy.  Family, work, church, band stuff, and school work take up my time.  This makes online learning basically the only option.  Since biology would be an onsite thing, it would take some nifty maneuvering to accomplish this goal, not to mention med school.  Next there's educational reimbursement.  My employer is paying for 100% of a given course if I receive an A for that course.  The only catch is that the degree to which the course applies has to be blessed by the president of the company.  Since the company is a contract manufacturer for electronic assembly, I don't see biology or med school entering that picture.

So, I decided that if things don't pan out for computer engineering, I'll give biology a shot.  Besides, my dream job is research scientist which could be fulfilled along this computer science path.  I'm also considering the master's program of electrical engineering DeVry offers, which would involve research.

I guess for now I've chosen the easier and more practical route, but I'm keeping my options open.
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my journal
December 2009