MD5 files ... SHN files
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Downloading Music Files
Cassettes to Computer
MD5 files ... SHN files

shn and mp3 information

A Long Strange Strip: A History of the Grateful Dead

MD5 files: 
Downloading .shn files.  

Garcia: An Amercia Life - Jerry Garcia

Directions for using md5's with shorthen . shn files

MD5 files: Downloading .shn files.

Shorten files are much larger than MP3 files; however, the quality of the sound is superior. To make the files smaller MP3 sacrifice quality.

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, 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.  

md5 checksums

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 shns

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 problems.
--if it was during a burn, reburn, as you've just gained another 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 check md5s:
--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.

Thanks for reading our Jeff's instruction on md5's.


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