The allow_url_fopen directive of php.ini is disabled at DreamHost, for reasons of security. You cannot use those functions with external URIs. See the wiki for more information.
Dunno about iconv(), though. If you are using PHP4, it may not have been compiled during DreamHost’s installation. It should be there if you are using PHP5 because it is in the default installation. Do a phpinfo() call and see if it appears (it has its own section).
Simon Jessey | Keystone Websites
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