in reply to work with unicode data and regexps
If you know the encoding of the file, you can tell Perl what it is, and it will act accordingly. Otherwise, it assumes it is 1 byte = 1 character, and fail on several multi-byte (or variable-length) encodings.
Note: I wrote UTF-16 above since you said you got 'NULs after every character'. You should check if it is indeed UTF-16, or maybe UCS-2 (they're not the same, you know...), or even something else.
-- dakkar - Mobilis in mobile