The details below reference mkwACT
frequently. It is a free .shn software program that
decompresses the shorten files into wav. Then you can listen to or
burn the files. mkwACT is the software of choice for the webmaster
of this website. If you are not familiar with using the software, etree.org
has written instructions that should get you started. The official mkwACT
website has the software and more.
Below are some experiences working with
shorten .SHN files written by a kind soul, Jeff
Cotsman who appreciates good music.
If you work with SHN's, you absolutely
should get into the habit of using md5 checksums
I'm really not very good at explaining
this, so bear with...
1) why shn files can transfer with errors:
--SHNs are rather large files. Files of such size are multitudes
more prone to making a file transfer error than tiny files, whether
it be disc-->hard drive, hard drive-->burning a disc, or
internet-->hard drive downloading.
2) equipment does matter:
--dirty or cheap discs are a likely source of errant transfers.
--some CDroms do not read certain discs as well as others.
--broken/strained downloads, which are much more likely with
slow/modem connections are a very likely culprit for shn failures
3) why your system/pc doesn't know when an
error takes place:
--actually, I'm no computer expert, so I don't know exactly why,
--o.k., sometimes your system will warn you that a transfer failed,
or mkwACT will not decode a shn if it is messed up
---but I assure you that often everything looks o.k., but your
system is unaware that a shn has taken on a flaw in transit
4) the purpose of the md5:
The md5 tag should accompany any set of shns. It serves as a
fingerprint and can be used to quickly sort through the
corresponding shns to make sure that no errors have taken place.
5) how do you check the md5?:
Usually, an md5 is made for each disc, and has "fingerprint
info" on each track for that disc.
You must have mkwACT installed on your system. Clicking on the md5
will bring up the mkwACT window, and it should display the course of
searching through the shns, as well as any error info.
***you must have the md5 in the same folder as the corresponding
6) if a shn fails md5 verification:
--if it was a download, try downloading that file again
--if you can, repeat the transfer if it was from a disc. If you have
to, try a different CDrom to read some skeevy discs that give you
--if it was during a burn, reburn, as you've just gained another
coaster...it might be the disc's fault
7) when should you check md5s?
--anytime you transfer them.
--if you get a shn disc from a vine, transfer it to your hard drive,
then check the md5 before burning anything or decoding the shns.
--likewise, check the md5 after downloading shns
--after you burn a shn disc, check the md5s on that disc.
7) the shit that happens if people don't
--you might get a bunch of shn discs from a trade, but you realize
that several shns fail md5 verification.
--you might get or burn audio discs that have a problem that you
will not know about until you have listened through them. For
example, that ripping "Jack Straw" might be fine until you
get 3 minutes in...all-of-the-sudden there are 4 minutes of silence
instead of a rousing jam---which aren't supposed to be there. this
is what happens when a screwed up shn gets decoded----all silence
from the point at which an error occurs.
8) in conclusion:
--if you are worried about the fact that you haven't been checking
the md5s, well, everything probably went o.k. anyhow. md5 failures
are rare when simply transferring shns from disc and burning.
--if a screw-up happens, no big deal. Life is not perfect. CD
trading is not some big, glorious business (like Enron) that needs
lawyers and governmental protection. no heads will roll.