Currently Being ModeratedDec 7, 2012 6:45 PM (in response to Public Bob)
It will really depend on your needs & everyone will need to do their own work reviewing the options to see what fits best. There are more apps listed on http://alternativeto.net/software/itunes
I doubt you will find a tool to get iTunes U downloads unless you can grab the feed urls, the site is browsable via HTTP but you still need iTunes to find stuff easily. In all honesty if iTunes 10.x was good enough two weeks ago why isn't that the case now? There are a lot of posts about reverting to 10.x, do you have a backup?
Support will eventually cease but I'd expect to be considering a new Mac around that time (maybe 2-3 years away, but Apple don't announce this) so perhaps iTunes will be improved, or the alterantives will be better. Or you'll have fallen in love with Android & Linux instead
Songbird has plugins that can add syncing to devices, but you should look to see if it supports DRM'd files if you are a heavy iTunes Music or Movies purchaser.
You may also consider media managers that run servers like Plex or XBMC if you hope to share to other screens via Airplay or similar 'announced' services, they handle video better than iTunes, but music is lacking.
If you are happy 10.6.8 why fret about updating, especially if the iTunes changes were a step to far. Mountain Lion is a broad change too.
Currently Being ModeratedDec 8, 2012 12:25 AM (in response to Drew Reece (Re:co))
Thanks for the response.
The reason I'm concerned about rolling back the version is that I have reached the limits of my 1T external drive and need more capacity. My original thought was to just get a new mini with a bigger external drive. I've begun having "hiccups" with the existing media drive (it's read a lot of CD's over the years). Now, neither the mini nor the Mac come with drives, and even the diehard Apple people who buy their usb external drive through Apple give it only a 3 star rating. So, whatever way I go, changes and $$ are at hand. My understanding is, if I get a new machine with Mountain Lion (or Constipated Goat, or whatever the latest aninal is -- OS X 10.8) iTUnes 11 is integrated and basically can't be removed. Also, I've synced my iPod classic (which they seem to be ready to drop any day -- no updated models in a couple of product cycles) with iTunes 11 and from what I've been reading, even though there are methods for rolling back the program, it is much harder to get the devices to roll back, and that seems to be the point where people are losing access to their material.
The reason itunes was acceptable before and is not now is that Apple has essentially decided for us that we don't need any of the, for lack of a better phrase, database managemtn functions, that those of us with large libraries have come to depend on. My wife already says I spend way too much time with my 65,000 song and lecture library, and the new iTunes adds three to four additional steps to almost everything I want to do.
To browse the store, I have to leave the playlist I'm playing. If I spot a song or an album that looks interesting, to check if I've already got some or all of it, I need to leave the store, get to the songs list under the main library, do my search, go back to the store and then, if I make a pruchase, go back to the music library and then click back to the playlist I've been listening to (unless I finished with what I started listening and want to change where I am, in which case, I have to go through the process of changing windows that many more times. And, of course, everytime I do change a window, I have to scroll back to where I was.
When loading in a new CD, aside from all the back and forth in screens, at the end (now that I've reinstated the sidebar and figured out how to show downloads) it defaults to album view which, if you've got songs and spoken audio material from 2500 sources, is to all intents and purposes, useless. So you go to yet another window (songs, which is the only window which allows you to search on more than one field) to see if you've ended up with any duplicates, which you have to do by searching because they've removed that feature as well.
Get the idea? Not only are uselful and functional features removed, but even many of those that remain have to be discovered by trial and error. I come from the era of top 40 radio -- the same few songs over and over, and next week the new batch of songs is out and the old ones discarded, gone to who-cares where. That, essentially, is what they've done to iTunes by removing all the features that made managing your media easier in favor of only those features that make buying and playing the newest thing as easy as possible.
BTW, I would have no problem moving to Android if I can find the software I need. I've been using PC's since the DOS command line days, and basically did not move into Apple's sphere until I got my 160 Gig iPod. If I can find another device as small and with as big a drive, and a system to manage my music with, fine by me. Apple clearly no longer wants me or all the music I've bought from them any longer.
Currently Being ModeratedDec 8, 2012 5:45 AM (in response to Public Bob)
I'm not sure what spec your Mini is but you may be better with a Firewire drive or a Thunderbolt disk (if that is supported). I have found USB is OK, but Firewire 400 is better (than USB 2.0). The same is generally true of Firewire 800 vs USB 3.0. Thunderbolt should be very fast.
USB is shared amongst other devices whereas other protocols have better constant bandwidth etc.
Have a think about whether you would like to replace or upgrade the HD(s). The external one should be simple, but the Mini will be an involved process. There are guides on iFixit.com for almost all the models. If you going to get inside the Mac consider upgrading the RAM too, it helps speed things along for another few years.
I'm also stuck with not knowing what to do when this Mac dies. I imagine I'll have to 'put up with' 10.whatever and suffer Apple's fixes to iTunes etc. I don't mind change, but when features dissappear & tasks become more complex I get annoyed . I think it will still be possible to find a second hand 10.6 supported Mac but that is just delaying the inevitable, as is force installing 10.6 on a newer Mac. 10.8 should be more bearable with a trackpad, but on this Mac Pro with a scroll mouse it just feels too klunky.
I suspect they will add features back to an extent & some of the polish should be better in a few versions. Apple keep testing the water with what they can change, and then they respond to the backlash (a little).
Maybe grab an Ubuntu LTS release burn a disk & start playing, parts of it are nice & 'Mac like' but other parts are just weird & Linux'y. They seem to be adding a radical new way to work aswell - the HUD. You can use the Ubuntu boot disk & still install apps to test but you lose the changes after a reboot. You could play with SongBird or other music players for a few hours. I think Ubuntu are doing thier own cloud storage for files/ music too.