Stop using str()
If you are and get:
UnicodeDecodeError: 'ascii' codec can't decode byte 0xff in position 6: ordinal not in range(128)
More here https://docs.python.org/2.7/howto/unicode.html#the-unicode-type
Short version for the impatient (and in case that link goes away: - Set your encoding to closer to ascii if possible like: closertoascii = yourunicodestring.encode('utf-8') - But it is best to use Unicode across the board as some bits have no replacement..