Invisible Characters In Solarwinds Node Custom Properties

I’ve had an open issue for the last few weeks regarding why “odd” characters were showing up in Custom Property fields in my company’s Solarwinds Orion/Network Performance Monitor install. I detected them when I put a business-rules-integrity-checker in place, but I didn’t know where they came from. I cleaned up all the existing cases and waited to see if it would happen again. It did, and now I know where they came from and, I think, why.

Even after I understood the problem I couldn’t Google up any references to this situation, so I’m documenting it. One caveat – we’re running a non-current version of NPM (10.1.3; yes, we’re working on upgrading) so the issue I’m going to describe may not exist in later versions.
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Deleting PTR Records Containing Upper-Case Characters In Microsoft DNS

This morning I noticed that some of our network elements are using IPs that have more than one PTR associated with them. This isn’t a huge problem, but it was exposed to us because the DNS record in our monitoring system would just randomly pick a PTR when the element was rediscovered. Because these other PTRs were often just out of date cruft, having the old names show up in monitoring was confusing. I took this as a quick project to run through the IPs and resolve the duplicates. The fact that I’m now writing a blog post about it is a pretty good spoiler that it wasn’t as simple as I thought it was going to be.
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Rhythmbox Python Bindings Documentation

I have an itch I want to scratch in Rhythmbox, and I’ve been looking at the Python bindings for writing plugins. It’s clear that you can do a lot of stuff, but there is no documentation specific to the Python bindings. There is the Plugin Writing Guide, which is conceptually useful, and there are the C-specific development docs, but there’s a piece missing.
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Patch: Allow id3v2(1) to Include Colons in Comment Fields

After a disagreement with Rhythmbox about how ID3 comments on my music collection should be handled, I went looking for a more fine-grained tool to manipulate them. A quick browse through aptitude later, I chose a tool named ‘id3v2’, a frustratingly un-googleable name. The official distribution is available from SourceForge, and I’m using the Debian package locally. The tool worked well, but it was unable to properly handle comment text which contained a colon (:).
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Prevent nxrancid “show env power” Line Oscillations

Just came into managing a rancid install for the first time in a couple of years. It immediately became apparent that the email notification feature was worthless and likely being ignored by everyone. There was one specific Nexus7000 C7010 (NX-OS 5) that was almost constantly reporting false positives in its “show environment power” output, resulting in a “boy who cried” wolf situation.
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Removing Comic Sans From Messages in Outlook Rules

I started a new job this week. In completely unrelated news, I was strongly motivated this evening to figure out how to remove Comic Sans from inbound email automatically. It turns out that it’s actually pretty simple. However, much like Picasso spending 50 years to learn to do a sketch in 30 seconds, it actually took me a bit of digging to understand how this “simple” solution is put into place.
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Dan Wheldon’s Good Company

The upcoming Indy 500 has me bummed out all over again about the death last October of Dan Wheldon. While reminiscing and thinking about IRL/Champ Car/CART/”big car” safety advances over the years, I started to wonder how many past winners of the race were killed before they had a chance to defend their win. For a sport which has such a bloody history, the list includes surprisingly few names.

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Adding An Icon To The “Edit With Sublime Text 2” Contextual Menu Item

As mentioned elsewhere I’ve totally fallen in love with Sublime Text 2 as an editor. One of the issues I’ve had switching to using it on Windows, though, is the muscle memory I’ve developed for selecting the “Edit With Notepad++” contextual menu option. I think part of the reason I’m having trouble switching is that the Notepad++ item has an icon and, by default, the Sublime Text 2 item does not. Several weeks ago I figured out how to add an icon to the Sublime Text 2 item and it has definitely reduced the number of times I’ve accidentally chosen Notepad++. Better write it down before I forget how I did it…

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Getting Up To Speed With Sublime Text 2 – Notes For Notepad++ Users

I recently started a love affair with the Sublime Text 2 text editor. Looking around the web, I’m certainly not alone, and there are many great tips and tricks posts. I probably can’t write anything better than what’s already out there, so this post is really just an attempt to document for my future self my own customization decisions and the logic behind my choices.

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