thanks for that Fou-Lu!
I feel so dumb - when I was trying to google the error yesterday I was reading the error incorrectly so I never even looked up fwrite on php.net - mostly because I knew that only the $columns values was the only thing that was different from what I'd used in the past
I have now learned that the 3rd parameter is indeed for an (int) value - yes I went back to php.net which I should have done from the gitgo...
I'm looking up fputcsv now
thank you for your time!