You’re on Mac OS X (somewhere around 10.7.5) and you’re using the sed command to replace characters from the latin1 or Windows-1252 character encoding with their utf8 equivalents. Unfortunately you get an error like the following:
sed: 1: "s/#/’/g ": RE error: illegal byte sequence
Luckily you’re not alone!
This happened to me while working on HamDecks, a small project that creates Mnemosyne decks to help you study for the Amateur Radio Operator exams using questions from the official ARRL Question pools. The source question pool files (Technician, General, Extra) though have some problems… There’s a lot of characters with strange/exotic encoding in the ARRL pool files that could not be imported into Mnemosyne. That’s how I got myself into this whole mess in the first place.
The stackoverflow link above makes two suggestions:
Your Mileage May Vary, but neither of those suggestions worked for me. So what did work then?
Once again, we will visit our system locale settings.
Here’s what worked for the HamDecks project:
Instead of just prefixing the sed command with LANG=C, we prefix it with LANG=C LANG_ALL=C. I’m not saying this is a silver bullet, just that it worked for me and might work for you too.
A while back I wanted to backup the songs I’ve saved to my iPod. I was running Mac OS X Leopard (10.5). When I searched around I found a tool called iPodDisk. It worked great! Then Snow Leopard (10.6) came out.
The way the launcher for iPodDisk was written meant it only would launch on 10.4 or 10.5. When you launched iPodDisk you would receive the message:
“Sorry iPodDisk requires OS X 10.4 or later”
Fixing this was pretty simple. After searching their google code issue tracker I quickly came across issue #34, “Sorry iPodDisk requires OS X 10.4 or later“. The fix was simple, reply #3 in the thread said to just edit one line in the launcher so that the version check accepted a higher version.
Time goes on and eventually I did a full OS reinstall (for some reason or another) and just recently upgraded to 10.7 (Lion). I’d bought a new network storage unit (Western Digital My Book Live) and wanted to back up my iPod again. Of course, upon downloading and launching iPodDisk again it produced the same error it did previously. It was clear to me that iPodDisk was clearly not being maintained.
While searching for the fix again I decided to read some newer posts on the issue tracker. Reply #51 referenced MacFuse. The project site for that hasn’t made a new release since 2008 though. Reply #60 had the information I was finally looking for.
So the final solution that allowed me to backup my iPod on OS X 10.7, Lion, was to install these two pieces of software: