Q: I cut out and kept a copy of your 2015 column about the Epson Perfection V550 photo scanner. I'm finally ready to go through boxes of old photographs and digitize the ones I want to keep. Almost three years have passed since your review. Is the $179 V550 scanner still a wise investment and a simple way to digitize many years of pictures?
A: The Epson Perfection V550 is still the way to go. It has great image quality and makes scanning extremely fast and easy because it can do several pictures at once.
You put the pictures on the glass and do a preview scan. The pictures are individually displayed on the preview screen, where you make sure they are oriented correctly. If they are not, you click a button to flip them around. When everything is the way you want it, you make the final scan and the pictures are individually saved in the folder of your choice. I typically get up to four pictures per scan, but depending on the size of prints, I've done as many as six at a time. The V550 can do slides and negatives, too.
The best advice I can give you other than to get the V550 is to back up your pictures in multiple places. Visitors to my websites have seen the links to mylittlegabby.com, a site devoted to my miniature dachshund, Gabby. I had her for almost 18 years, and the site is a memoir of our life together. When I created the website I scanned hundreds of pictures from her earliest years, which were in the late 1990s and before digital photography became commonplace. Using the V550 I scanned them to a folder on my computer, then I saved them to a flash drive, and then I uploaded them to my Google Drive account.
It might seem extreme to have them in three places, but given how important they are to me and how much effort I put into archiving them, there is safety in numbers. With the pictures on a flash drive in addition to the computer, I have a backup in case the computer's hard drive gets corrupted. With them stored online, I have them in a safe place in case the flash drive is lost.
With the flash drive I have a copy in case something happens to my Google Drive. The corresponding adage is there are two kinds of people: those who back up their files, and those who wish they had. Scan the pictures and back them up, at least once but preferably twice.
Q: I saw your column about the ZVOX AV200 AccuVoice TV Speaker on sale through Father's Day for $179, reduced from $249. My dad is hard of hearing and has trouble understanding television dialogue, so I thought about buying it for him to solve the problem. Then I saw the ZVOX AV205, which also makes dialogue more clear and adds adjustments to help those hard of hearing. Is it part of the sale? And, if so, have you tried it?
A: I have written about the AV 205. It can be more effective for those with extreme hearing loss. For most people, the regular AV200 is fine.
The AV205 was not included in the original ZVOX sale, but because of customer inquiries, ZVOX has created a special coupon code for those who want to buy the AV205. You can save $30 off the $249 price with the code SAVE30, only on zvox.com.
Send questions to Don Lindich at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get recommendations and read past columns at soundadvicenews.com.