iTunes, seriously, not an option.
February 14, 2013 7:34 AM   Subscribe

I have a 2nd generation ipod shuffle (the kind that's about 1 inch by 1 1/2 inches and is just a giant clip) which I would like to start using again. However, there is not a single computer nor human in our house which will tolerate iTunes. It's not an option, really; never using the shuffle again will happen before installing iTunes will. I have seen a couple apps on the internet for using this type of shuffle without iTunes, but I haven't found any reviews of them or clear instructions for them. Thus, I am asking y'all. Anybody know a good, easy way to get songs off my vortexbox and onto my little shuffle? I don't need playlists or synching or stats or anything, just the ability to move files from one place to another and listen to them on the shuffle. Thanks!

In case it's not clear, we have no Apple products in the house beyond this shuffle. No iPhones, no MacBooks, not iPods. Nothing. We've got a bunch of Windows laptops (Windows 7, Windows XP and I think a Vista machine), a couple Android phones, and a vortexbox appliance running squeezebox server with lots of music on it. There are no music files stored locally on any of the laptops, although copying things to the laptop as an intermediate step to putting them on the shuffle is fine, I suppose, but storing music on my laptop is not an option.

I have had nothing but trouble, frustration and irritation trying to deal with iTunes in this set up and haven't used it since all our music went onto the vortexbox. If there's not a non-iTunes way to this, I just won't do it.

It's probably obvious from the question that I really know nothing at all about these tools. So I'm willing to accept that someone like me can't do this. Thanks.
posted by crush-onastick to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
posted by de void at 7:49 AM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

I know Winamp lets you manage music on iPods.
posted by dobi at 8:02 AM on February 14, 2013

At least a few years ago I successfully used MediaMonkey to manage music on my iPod.
posted by rocketpup at 8:04 AM on February 14, 2013

Yeah, I've used MediaMonkey to good effect. However, there's no good way to get Voiceover, at least not that I could find. Which can make things a lot more of a hassle.
posted by Lemurrhea at 8:18 AM on February 14, 2013

I would just buy a Sansa clip for $30.
posted by mecran01 at 9:23 AM on February 14, 2013 [3 favorites]

Are you willing to tolerate iTunes existing on your computer -- just not using it? If so, I'd suggest iExplorer. Here's a review of it over at PC World.

There is a free version, and a paid version ($35). I have used the free version in a work environment to get around the frustrating problem of how to extract audio dictation that was too large to email and couldn't be retrieved through iTunes. It was great to be able to have a nice, searchable tree, to toss stuff back and forth.

However, I'm not sure it will work without the existence of iTunes at least on your operating system, and the PC World review is unclear on this point. Still, since it has a free version, you can give it a shot to find out.
posted by instead of three wishes at 9:32 AM on February 14, 2013

I can't stand iTunes and have used a bunch of different alternatives until very recently, when they all stopped supporting the newest iPod nano.

My favorites are:

*Yamipod (which should work with your older Shuffle). It's very stripped-down, but it works.

*Winamp. I'd say this is probably the simplest solution, given how easy Winamp is to use. You may have to download some free plugins though. I still use this software to manage an older iPod nano.

*CopyTransManager. This is the most complicated, but most fully-featured iTunes replacement. I found it to be a little finicky and prone to crashing, but it's worth investigating.
posted by yellowcandy at 9:57 AM on February 14, 2013

SharePod is the best option I've found by far.

Honestly though a 2nd gen Shuffle? Test the battery life before you put any more effort into this. It's probably shot at this point.

Replacing the batteries on those is like microsurgery - and in no way worth the time, effort, frustration or cost. I'd suggest a Sansa Clip Zip or something similar - I had a 2G Shuffle and went to a Clip Zip from there and I'm much happier with it (I'm also not an Apple person).

The problem with the Shuffle 2nd gen is that it charges through the headphone jack - so if the battery won't hold a charge, it's done for, you can't even use it as a bedside always-plugged-in player (as I do with an ancient 3G iPod classic that I got as a gift).
posted by NoAccount at 10:00 AM on February 14, 2013

FWIW I have a 2nd gen shuffle I use for running; there is really no issue with the battery life. And no reason to discard it if it works, and no worry about VoiceOver because that device didn't support it anyway. Last time I was on Windows Winamp seemed to work for my media.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:31 AM on February 14, 2013

I have only ever managed my ipods with winamp, I think for a shuffle you may not even need the plug in? it's great, except shitty for audiobooks but with a shuffle that shouldn't be an issue.
posted by euphoria066 at 5:08 PM on February 14, 2013

Best answer: On my 2nd generation iPod shuffle, I use iPod Shuffle Manager.

Should be simple as dragging/dropping from your vortexbox drive to the shuffle through Windows Explorer and running the iPod Shuffle Manager executable to update the playlist.
posted by Nerro at 8:44 AM on February 15, 2013

Response by poster: So far, iPod Shuffle Manager seems to be working fine. I could not get Winamp to see the files on the vortex. Too much information for it to process? I have no idea, but thanks, everyone!
posted by crush-onastick at 7:43 AM on February 16, 2013

For posterity: I use iTunes with various i-devices and a music collection located on a NAS. The trick there is just to wake-up the NAS before starting iTunes. (But really, I avoid iTunes as much as possible, and having got bored with podcasts, I'm shocked with how seldom I use it). 2 computer geeks in this household and we both HATE iTunes as an abomination. (like, backup that doesn't do what it says on the tin)
posted by Goofyy at 8:27 AM on February 19, 2013

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