I just switched my linux machine over to the utf8 charset. My first problem was that now when I ssh over to another host to check my post, and that host is using latin1 then those characters specific to latin1 get all mixed up.
Enter luit to the rescue!
Instead of saying "ssh firstname.lastname@example.org" then you say "luit -encoding iso-8859-1 ssh email@example.com" and voila, everything is fine. Of course you dont type this all the time, you make it a default alias :-)
Another problem is that many files on my system are still in the latin1 encoding, then iconv is the thing to solve my problems. Take the file and run "iconv -f latin1 -t utf8 filename" and it will spit out the contents of the file but in utf8 encoding instead of latin1.