Author Topic: CrowsTown for Dummies - A Beginners Guide  (Read 5581 times)

Offline Nicolas

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CrowsTown for Dummies - A Beginners Guide
« on: April 12, 2009, 07:10:18 AM »
Quote
I took this from TapeCity, adapted and added some stuff. It would be great if this could be stickied ;)


Crowstown is a community of people who love Counting Crows' live and unreleased music.

So you're new to CrowsTown and perhaps new to BitTorrent as well. This Beginner's Guide will help you through understanding the community, how to share music, and some basic Do's and Don't that will make you're time here as enjoyable as it can be. If you find yourself stuck, please don't hesitate to PM (Private message) a Moderator or post a question in the Help Desk forum.

This guide does not take the place of the Seeding policy and/or Seeding Guide. For a detailed understanding of all of the CrowsTown features, please take some time and review them:
Seeding Policy
Seeding Guide

CrowsTown Fundamentals:
First and foremost, CT does NOT permit the sharing of commercially released music by any artist, specifically Counting Crows. The music you will find here is typically in the public domain and sharing is often encouraged by the artists. Counting Crows happen to be a band that allows taping shows; for more information click here: CC Taping Policy

BitTorrent Basics:
BitTorrent is a networking protocol used to send large files at "high" speeds. It should not be confused with a program by the same name, which happens to use the BitTorrent protocol. In BitTorrenteese, 'Seeders' are the people who are uploading files, 'Leechers' are people who are downloading files. Once you have completed downloading all the files in the BitTorrent stream (known as a torrent), you move from being a leecher to being a seeder. You are then sharing the files with others who are leeching, theoretically speeding up their downloads (although its still based on their Internet connection speed) Also, if one seeder leaves, the leechers wont be waiting for the rest of the file because the other seeders can provide it. All of the seeders and leechers connected to a torrent are collectively referred to as a 'Swarm'. 'Trackers', which CrowsTown is one of, provide a common directory of active torrents as well as statistical tracking of the swarm (See 'Share Ratios' below). It is important to note that the Trackers DO NOT store the files in the torrent - they only provide information on how to connect to the seeders. Additional information can be found here.

Approved torrent clients:
uTorrent. Simple huh? Okay, okay.Azureus (Vuze) as well. :) Seriously - there are countless bittorrent clients out there, but many of them are VERY tough on the trackers. Please use one of these approved bittorrent clients.

File Format:
All files here are Lossless - i.e. they contain the compete range of the music as it was taped. This includes FLAC, SHN, APE, and WMA Lossless files (but mostly FLAC). Lossy files, i.e. MP3's, are files that cut off different ranges of the music in order to save file space. All files uploaded to CT will be checked (through spectrum analysis) to ensure they are lossless. MP3's, or files derived from mp3's will not be permitted on CrowsTown Torrents. Please do not try to 'sneak them past' by changing the extension to .flac - some of the most insanely intelligent audiophiles peruse CT and they WILL find you. (Andy, I'm looking at you :D)

Note on sharing lossy music (MP3):
CrowsTown allows posting of shows in a lossy format, as long as:
-There's not already another lossless source.
-It is uploaded on an external filesharing site, such as Rapidshare, Megaupload, or my personal favorite, Mediafire.

Lossy shows are usually going to be posted in ZIP or RAR formats (compressed folders), so you're going to need a program such as WinZip, WinRar, or 7-Zip to open them.


How can I play lossless files?
Below are a few suggestions of players you can use with the files found here at CrowsTown:

Share Ratios:
Share Ratios are the percentages that are calculated by dividing the number of bytes downloaded by the number of bytes uploaded. A target of 1.00 is a nice ratio. Anything above is better, and below is not so good. The longer you leave the torrent active after you finish it, the more you'll upload, the better your ratio will be. A good rule of thumb is to leave a torrent running for a week OR until the ratio hits 1.50. You can build up a nice ratio that way that wont get killed when you try to download the 7.5 GB DVD of concert footage you're dying to see.

A word of thanks and hanging around:
After you download the music, please be sure to thank the poster, seeder, and/or re-seeder for their effort. It's cordial and the right thing to do. Also, don't just download and run. Let the torrent continue to run for a while so others can also share in the music you were so fortunate to acquire. By letting the torrent run after its complete, you become a seeder and are now helping all the other eager fans get the music as well. As previously mentioned, the Share Ratios are important and almost a sign of your character, though you won't be banned for having a low ratio. Nevertheless, don't be an ass and cut and run - Seed for others. Enough said.

Trading in the Good Ole' Way:
Way back before Internet was invented, traders used to trade music via regular, old postal mail. With the advent of all the latest and greatest technology, well, many still do. CT hosts a forum for traders who use this method, called B&P (Blanks & Postage) / Snail Trading. By doing this, you can quickly build up your collection and start trading with others. It takes some patience, but if you're willing to wait, there's nothing like a 20-DVD set arriving in the mail.

Sharing Files at CrowsTown:


Searching for the music you love:
At CT, the general practice is to name the thread with the venue and concert date in the format of YYYY-MM-DD. The search bar is really very good at finding the shows you're looking for. Just be sure to check spelling and make sure you have the date in the correct format.

A brief word on connecting to the tracker, uploading, and downloading:

There are as many different ISP/Router/Operating System/Bittorrent client combinations are you could possibly imagine. The VAST majority of problems experienced when using bittorrent software is the setting in your gateway router or your PC's firewall. The details of identifying and correcting problems is far beyond the scope of this Guide, but you can refer to the Help Desk.

Downloading (Leeching) Torrents:
Once your torrent client (uTorrent - remember?) is installed and working, downloading music is easy. Just locate the venue/date you're looking for, open the thread, and click on the attachment. Click on it and uTorrent will open up a dialog box Click ok and you're done!

Uploading (Seeding) Torrents:
Uploading torrents, i.e. being the initial seeder, can seem rather complex, but it really isn't. There are a few simple steps that, if followed, will make sharing music on CT a breeze. Before we get into the details, here are the high-level steps:

1. Select the files you want to share. It's best if they are all in a single folder.
2. Use uTorrent to create the .torrent file. Make sure you set the tracker in your torrent to
http://www.crows-town.com:2998/announce. This should be the only tracker entry in your torrent.

Important: Do not save the .torrent file in the same folder (or directory) as the files you are sharing!

3. Click on the 'Forum Tools > Post a new Thread' button in either the The Audio Torrent Downloads or The Video Torrent Downloads forum, depending on what you are sharing.
4. Fill in all of the requested information and select the appropriate icon for the thread
5. Click on the Manage Attachments button. A new window will open up that allows you to select a file for attaching to the thread. Navigate to where you saved the .torrent file from Step 2, and select the torrent file. Click the Upload button. Once the file has been uploaded, close the window and you should be back at the main thread.
6. Click Submit and the torrent will be posted on the site
7. This step is critical! Now that the thread has been created, your .torrent file has been issued a passkey. You must download the torrent file you just uploaded, open it in uTorrent and point it at the files you want to share. This is the ONLY way you will become a seeder! If you skip this step You will Not Be Able To Seed Your Files
8. uTorrent will 'check' the files in the directory and will begin seeding once everything looks good.
9. To verify you are a seeder (and getting the deserved credits for your ratio), go back to the thread you created and it should say 1 seeder. At that point, all the other leechers should be able to connect to you and start downloading.
10. Sit back and watch that ratio climb!!

Re-Seeding Torrents:

As you hang around CT, you'll start to build up quite a collection of music that new members may be interested in. You will start to see Re-Seed Requests, i.e. someone asking for a seeder on an inactive torrent. If you have downloaded the same torrent at some time in the past, you can put a seed out for the new member just by re-downloading the torrent file and pointing it at the files you downloaded. This is a great way to build up your ratio, however, there are a few "gotcha's" you need to be aware of.

1. Don't make changes to any of the files in the torrent. If you do, you will not be able to re-seed those files.
2. It's typically best to copy the files to another directory before you download the torrent file - just in case the text files are wrong and you end up erasing the files you have.This is very important. Hint: Since you are saying "thank you" every time you download a torrent, just check the thread and make sure it was the one you downloaded first.
3. Once you have the seed going (you show up as a seeder in the thread), post a note in the thread saying you'll seed and for how long.
4. Sit back and watch that ratio climb!!

Technical Topics:

PeerGuardian:
PeerGuardian2 is a software-based IP blocker that can limit various known nefarious IP addresses from accessing your PC.It is a firewall of sorts, but PG2 can reference lists of known 'bad' IP's, thereby eliminating the need for you to constantly monitor and update the firewall rules on your PC or Internet Router. PG2 is known to cause problems when you attempt to connect to the CT tracker. The best solution is to disable PG2 when using the CT tracker as you really don't need it here. Alternatively, you can add the CrowsTown IP address (64.34.163.79) to the 'Always Allow' feature of PeerGuardian.

Tools:
Below is a list of tools you will need at some point.

  • Exact Audio Copy (EAC) - EAC will rip the music from your CD's as close to perfectly as possible. It also has some cool spectral analysis features - and best of all, its FREE.
  • Traders Little Helper (TLH) - TLH is a Swiss army knife. It is a Windows front-end to a bunch of tools used for creating and validating file fingerprints, creating .torrent files, checking for soundboard edits, etc. TLH should be on every traders hard drive.
  • FLAC tester - Can test an entire directory/folder of FLAC files for errors.
  • Audacity - Audacity is free, open source recording and editing tool. Another must have...
CrowsTown for Dummies: v1.0 2009.04.12
Send me a PM, acade365, with updates/suggestions.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2009, 06:50:26 PM by Nicolas »

Offline Kasper

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« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2009, 08:59:07 AM »
Great work, Nic. :)
Whatever happens...
"...We\'ll still come around" ;)

Offline Judith

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« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2009, 09:07:46 AM »
Great idea Nicolas :)

Offline Simon

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« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2009, 12:02:35 PM »
I like it very much. Thanks for doing this and in return i gave you a medal award for this. :P

Offline Judith

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« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2009, 12:10:53 PM »
Quote from: Simon;30605
I like it very much. Thanks for doing this and in return i gave you a medal award for this. :P

Very well deserved too :) You did a great job, thanks Nicolas :)

Offline dutchieblue

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« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2009, 03:05:31 PM »
Well done Nicolas.

Offline philjw

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« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2009, 03:34:52 PM »
Nice work :)  I'd only comment that AAC and WMA files are most commonly NOT lossless, whereas an additional lossless file found here is APE, although I'm not sure that many people use that anymore at this point.

Offline Anton

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« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2009, 04:03:34 PM »
I agree with Phil AAC and WMA files are lossy they are compressed audio files.
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Offline Nicolas

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« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2009, 04:22:30 PM »
There is WMA lossless formats and AAC lossless too. :oops:

Offline Anton

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« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2009, 05:04:59 PM »
Nicolas i think you are confuse with the ALAC file who is the Apple Lossless audio format and not the AAC and WMA who are lossy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Lossless

Apple Lossless (also known as Apple Lossless Encoder, ALE, or Apple Lossless Audio Codec, ALAC) is an audio codec developed by Apple Inc. for lossless data compression of digital music.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Audio_Coding

Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) is a standardized, lossy compression and encoding scheme for digital audio. Designed to be the successor of the MP3 format, AAC generally achieves better sound quality than MP3 at many bit rates.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Media_Audio

Windows Media Audio (WMA) is an audio data compression technology developed by Microsoft. The name can be used to refer to its audio file format or its audio codecs. It is a proprietary technology that forms part of the Windows Media framework. WMA consists of four distinct codecs. The original WMA codec, known simply as WMA, was conceived as a competitor to the popular MP3 and RealAudio codecs.

There is an other format who is the WMAL who is lossless.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2009, 05:09:49 PM by Anton »
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Offline Fluitte09

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« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2009, 10:18:07 AM »
that seems perfect for beginnersit is very clear even for french like me

Offline Anton

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« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2009, 11:12:58 AM »
The invasion has began !  The frenchs will take control of Crowstown ! :D
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Offline flips

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« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2009, 01:00:18 PM »
Quote from: Woodythefrench;36831
The invasion has began !  The frenchs will take control of Crowstown ! :D


 *Runs away screaming*

:D
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Offline yidosengland

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« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2009, 01:12:59 PM »
Quote from: Woodythefrench;36831
The invasion has began !  The frenchs will take control of Crowstown ! :D


thats all we need , one Frenchie is enough for any site :chuckle:
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Offline Nicolas

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« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2009, 04:19:53 PM »
Quote from: Fluitte09;36830
that seems perfect for beginnersit is very clear even for french like me


im glad you liked it :)