2nd, in MySQL, all my collation has defaulted to latin1_swedish_ci. Is this NOT correct for a US/English based website? I tried changing fields over to utf8_general_ci and it returned this error: "Column 'description' cannot be part of FULLTEXT index".
Ok, let me get greedy and throw in a 3rd question. If I have a webpage that has the WRONG charset, and data is retrieved via a form and put into MySQL with the RIGHT charset. What are the consequences if the two charsets aren't set right?
2) Not sure, but you *may* have to re-install MySQL with the correct collation to fix that. Someone else with more MySQL experience may have a better fix.
3) For the character sets you mentioned, I don't think you'll have a problem. Most problems occur when you are using double-byte charsets (like Japanese or Korean). But even then, if you only have standard ISO-8859-1 characters in your data, I think you'll be okay. My (limited) understanding is that the different sorting takes place above the standard ASCII characters, or at least sorting on ISO-8859-1 characters remains the same as in the ISO-8859-1 charset.