The iTunes problem seemed easily solved. There were plenty of utilities listed on iPod Lounge to solve that very problem, so I read reviews and downloaded a recommended one, iPodRip. I was in a hurry that day - I ran the program, but after a few minutes, it was still working on the first song, so I put that project aside to another day when I had more time. A few weeks later, I found my misplaced system install disks and reinstalled many useful utilities, such as Graphic Converter and Snapz Pro, but BBEdit was no where in sight. Then I went away for a few weeks of travelling and then I was busy writing and then I travelled some more. I didn't do any website updates since it's a pain without BBEdit.
Yesterday, I ran iPodRip again. After ten minutes it was still on the first song and this time I read the instructions. "May take up to 15 minutes to copy your whole iPod". Clearly the apparently slowness (read: nonfunctionality) was actually a problem, not just inherent slowness. I emailed support. Meanwhile, since I was working on long-standing problems, I investigated BBEdit. $179??!! I wasn't going to pay that for another licensed copy of a text editor. So I looked in my preferences file to find out what version I'd had, so I could scout out an old one... and suddenly all was clear. I'd never had a licensed version! I had BBEdit Lite, the freeware version, from back when it was still made! And I could still download it from other sites! I have BBEdit again!!
Today, tech support emailed me back, and now I have all my iPod songs back on my hard drive again too. Happy ending.