I was given a horrible data file last week, one 'delimited' by variable numbers of spaces, and full of strange characters that choked the API I was sending the data to. There were plenty of little exceptions as well, where some rows would have fields delimited by one space, and I had to guess how to split full names into first and last, full names with many parts. Anyway, I was sure happy to have Perl along with me. This got me thinking about what other data horror stories there might be out there. Surely other monks have tales which will put mine to shame (and make me feel better.)
So, what's your dirtiest data experience? Please describe any cool Perl hacks you used to rise to the challenge.