that's all fine and dandy, and once again you're making a solid effort to get the last word, but i would like to turn the thread back over to its original topic...
... which was how to do case-insensitive comparisons
(given that removing spaces from the search string might be needed and is easily accomplished)
my point is that mysql performs comparisons in a case-insensitive manner right out of the box, so there's nothing special that needs to be done
furthermore, distorting the user's origial data, by storing it either in lowercase (as you said you do) or in uppercase (as rajug suggested) is harmful
advice to the original poster: just don't do what these guys are telling you, store all data exactly as entered