my host upgraded me to mysql 4.1.8-standard from 4.0.x. I used to be able to handle utf-8 without problems but can't anymore. i was able to convert the existing data into utf-8 using instructions listed on http://dev.mysql.com/doc/mysql/en/alter-table.html
ALTER TABLE t1 CHANGE c1 c1 BLOB;
ALTER TABLE t1 CHANGE c1 c1 TEXT CHARACTER SET utf8;
however, all the new data that gets inserted (using the same code as before), loses utf-8 chars and displays them as question marks.