In my ..../phpMyAdmin/config.inc.php I did this:
// Allow charset recoding of MySQL queries, must be also enabled in language
// file to make harder using other language files than unicode.
$cfg['AllowAnywhereRecoding'] = FALSE;
//$cfg['AllowAnywhereRecoding'] = TRUE;
I changed this cfg to FALSE, it seems to have solved my problem.
I also noticed this problem exists only in the version you get from CVS, if you get the latest stable tar.gz it doesn't seem to happen.... but then I reinstalled a couple of months ago and may be remembering it incorrectly
mysql front is good but it isnt as user friendly as myadmin. i have loadsa stuff running on my machine testing. apache, php, mysql, myadmin, front, perl, asp... phpmyadmin has the niceset looking GUI for management of a service.