PHP, UTF-8 encoding, CSV and Excel

Horrible combination, spent all day on this!
My goal was to take some data (which contain UTF-8 unicode characters), generate a CSV file using PHP and send it via mail. The problem is that Microsoft Excel doesn`t accept UTF-8 CSV files.
Some people suggest using mb_convert_encoding($contents, "ISO-8859-1", "UTF-8"); or mb_convert_encoding($contents, "UTF-16LE", "UTF-8");, neither worked for me, though I have multibyte extension installed
It seems that the solution is different by server setups. This solution worked for me:

$message= iconv("UTF-8","WINDOWS-1257",html_entity_decode( $message ,ENT_COMPAT,'utf-8'));

You might want to change “WINDOWS-1257” to something else, like WINDOWS-1255 or WINDOWS-1252 or ISO-8859-1, etc.. My server did not have the “iconv” function enabled, so I asked server administrator to enable it and it worked!

Campaing tracking in Flash ClickTAG

Today we encountered a problem. Nothing showed up in Google Analytics tracking campaigns. We used a clickTAG code to swfobject (a.k.a FlashObject) like this:

so.addVariable(“clickTAG”, “”);

But the banner link only went to “”. After a bit of research I found out that Flash didn`t accept anything that’s after the ampersand &. Some suggested using & instead of &, but it did not work. I`m not sure if it`s a problem of Flash or SWFobject, but anyway I found a simple solution – use javascript escape() function to translate the URL, like this:

so.addVariable(“clickTAG”, escape(“”));

Voila! Now the banner opens full URL with tracking code! I think this is a problem with other tracking and ad network users also.
I hope this helps someone! :)

Scite default encoding to UTF-8

Scite is one of the best text editors out there – functional, fast and lightweight! If you write a lot of text that is not in english (read: UTF-8) it becomes pretty annoying as every time you open Scite.exe it defaults to 8-bit character set. To write or see the opened document with UTF8 characters you have to click File > Encoding > UTF-8. While there is no graphical interface for options, you can still change the default encoding manually. Here is how:

  • Open Scite, click Options > Open global options file
  • search for “” (mine is at line 218) and uncomment it (remove # symbol)
  • comment out “” (add # symbol)
  • save the global ooptions file and restart Scite.exe

Now every time you open scite or a document in it, the default encoding will be “Code page property” or UTF-8 in most cases. If it doesn`t work, there area few other lines that you can uncomment right under the mentioned ones.
Hope this helps!

Flickr Uploadr 3.0 proxy settings

Flickr Uploadr 3.0Flickr uploader software “Uploadr 3” is out! As I spend most of the time at work where i`m behind a firewall AND a proxy, first thing I noticed, I couldn`t sign in. Of course I searched for proxy settings, but the software has no settings available until you sign in. Also when you solve the problem, you dont have any proxy settings using the graphical user interface. Here`s how to add/edit proxy settings:

  • Close Flickr Uploader (if its open)
  • Go to your Flickr Uploadr 3 installation directory and find the configuration file (usually “C:\Programm Files\Flickr Uploadr\defaults\preferences\prefs.js” )
  • Add following lines to the end of the file:

    pref(‘network.proxy.http’, ‘’);
    pref(‘network.proxy.http_port’, 3128);
    pref(‘network.proxy.type’, 1);

  • change and 3128 to whatever your proxy has and save the file.
  • Enjoy the new uploader!

I`m impressed of the new and nice interface which is finally useful for uploading! The previous uploader was awkward to add tags and to add photos to more than one set. Also the previous versions didn`t upload most of my jpegs saying “incorrect file type”. So far seems the issue is fixed. Thanks Flickr!

Download Flickr Uploadr3 here

P.S. when copying the 3 lines from my site, check that the quotes have copied correctly and are the same as for the other settings in the preferences file! otherwise it may not work!

Items lost on Netvibes or Netvibes not working at all

I`m pretty married to Netvibes by using it everyday. Mainly I use it for tracking RSS news, RSS music releases and “notepads” for saving rly various stuff.
Today I logged in and half of my items were lost. “Mail tab” was completely empty, about 40% of RSS items were left. A million thoughts crossed my mind! So I searched for support on Netvibes, but the answer was in the FAQ section:

When trying to access your netvibes page and all your tabs are empty, this is due to a desynchronization with our server.

Use this url:
Your page will be refresh with all the modules in the correct place.


Today I opened Netvibes and it showed only the top bar which says “add new items” and nothing else, the whole page was blank no matter if i clear my cookies or delete cache. In the end I tried this same link and it works again!