This week's giveaway is in the EJB and other Java EE Technologies forum. We're giving away four copies of EJB 3 in Action and have Debu Panda, Reza Rahman, Ryan Cuprak, and Michael Remijan on-line! See this thread for details.
I would work with Rene's suggested code (no need to write your own conversion when Java has the API to do it for you)! You can also then look at Calendar and Locale classes in order to get things in the correct timezone etc.