mySQL: what a character

I’ve always liked Bill Deterline’s observation, “Things take longer than they do.”  It connects with Alfred Whitehead’s “Seek simplicity, and distrust it.”

I’ve run into a lot of this in the transfer to a new ISP.  By and large, your internet hosting service isn’t interested in what you want to do while hosted, any more than the bank holding your mortgage cares what pictures are framed on your walls.  So you can feel a 19th-century Massachusetts printer who’s just taken possession of 160 acres in the Oklahoma Territory.

Overall, the database transfer went well...

Here’s my understanding :

(which is not to say
“here’s what’s really going on”

WordPress blogs, and the software that supports them, rely on a mySQL database.  Whether you have your own domain as I do, or use a blog hosting service like, you have to have your own database to manage the hundreds of files that make up WordPress.

In changing my hosting service, I had to export the data from my old database and import it into the new one.  One side effect seems to be that in old posts when two spaces appear together after a period, but not at the end of a paragraph, I get  — not a letter I use often.

After doing just enough research to reach the conclusion “you don’t say,” I’m seeing this as yet another problem that I don’t think I’m going to learn how to solve:

What happens when you execute the command:

mysqldump -u mysql_username -p example_db >

is that mysqldump takes the latin1 encoded tables (containing utf8 characters) and translates them into utf8 encoding (so the utf8 characters are no longer what they are supposed to be) before writing it to disk.

Well, that’s easy for Michael Chu to say.

Seriously, Chu’s examination of the problem is detailed, and as easy to follow as you might expect for a technical discussion outside your experience.  I do hear another of Whitehead’s observations in my head:

“Necessity is the mother of invention” is a silly proverb.
“Necessity is the mother of futile dodges” is much nearer the truth.

I’ll come back to this, I know, because I don’t like having those special characters loafing around in my posts.  In the meantime, what else is there for me to say?

Steps in the right direction?

“Interface” photo by sevensixfive / Fred Scharmen.
“Inconvenience” photo (worth clicking) by ajdavis.