I'm just another (very long-standing TA user), but will take a shot at answers to some of your questions (but not in order):
1) Did I download the wrong version? Maybe a trial version?
4) Why is there a time limit on the beta version. I thought when I purchased TextAloud initially, all upgrades where free. Has that changed?
3) How do I get TextAloud working again?
Beta versions of software usually expire periodically to force the users/beta testers to have the most recent version . . . for their benefit and protection and also for the developer's benefit so the latest-and-greatest version is always what's being used/tested. Right now, the current beta version is iteration #113 so that should give you some idea of how often the software is being updated during development. You can find and download the latest version of TA here, from the Beta forum: http://www.nextup.com/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=13
. That will probably get TA 3.x working again for you.
5) Why doesn't the beta version warn you or save the dictionaries from previous version in another directory before deleting everything?
When I initially upgraded from my 2.x version to the 3.x beta, TA did not erase my 2.x dictionaries. It left them in place in the "old" TA 2.x directory and put the new 3.x dictionaries somewhere completely different. I'd be surprised if your 2.x entries actually got deleted by the beta upgrade.
2) If so, when I download the correct version, is it going to erase the new pronunciation dictionaries I have spent 2 or 3 days setting up?
I've been through probably 50+ beta updates since I started using TA 3.x, which I am now using as my "production" version, even though it's still technically in beta state. In none of those did I lose my TA 3.x dictionary changes (and I'd be made if I did since I have about 1500 entries!).
Hope that helps a bit.