A quick but obscure tidbit for something that consumed my day today (reported here only because it wasn't reported anywhere else on the web):
If you're using the Laravel PHP framework with MySQL running on CentOS, you probably need to change the charset in application/config/database.php to be "latin1" instead of Laravel's example of "utf8". Otherwise, you'll get garbled strings.
CentOS (even the current 6.3 distribution) comes with MySQL 5.1, which is from before Oracle acquired it and modernized it (e.g. with things like foreign key constraints). Another modernization is that whereas MySQL 5.1 defaults to the latin1 character set, its successor MySQL 5.5 defaults to the utf8 character set. Laravel's example database.php connection specifies utf8, so unless you've manually upgraded CentOS to MySQL 5.5, you will need to change database.php to specify the latin1 character set.