Tech Q&A: Android Oreo, transferring VHS tapes, comparing prescription prices and more

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File photo: A 3D printed Android logo is seen in front of a displayed cyber code in this illustration taken March 22, 2016. (REUTERS/Dado Ruvic)

File photo: A 3D printed Android logo is seen in front of a displayed cyber code in this illustration taken March 22, 2016. (REUTERS/Dado Ruvic)

Preserving old photos

Q: I have a bunch of old photos from my mother’s estate. What’s the easiest way to scan them?

A: Mounds of old photos are still gathered in shoeboxes, and if we don't digitize them soon, we risk losing those images. There are plenty of services that can scan the images for you professionally, and, of course, you can always photograph these pictures with your phone. But there's still another way to archive these snapshots, and you'll be delighted to know that it's free. Click here for the easiest way to scan your old photos.

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Converting VHS tapes

Q: My son is getting married, and I’d like to make a video using his childhood VHS tapes. Help! The wedding is in two months!

A: If you have a massive library of VHS tapes, you can buy a converter. But if you're looking to transfer a few tapes, the most cost-effective solution is to use a service. The process can be pricy; each DVD can hold up to two hours, so you want to make sure you're watching the length of your home movies. The good news is that this will probably be the cheapest investment of your son’s wedding, and you should have plenty of time to get the job done. Click here for three easy ways to modernize your old videotapes.

Cut prescription costs

Q: My prescription drug costs are so high. Do the websites that promise you lower costs deliver?

A: This is such a vital question, and it’s likely to become even more pressing in the coming years. One very effective way to save money is to compare the prices of individual medications at nearby pharmacies. That may seem daunting, but, luckily, there's an app (actually there are three) for that. Click here for three ways to save money on prescriptions.

Android Oreo vs. iOS 11

Q: How does the new Android operating system compare with Apple iOS 11? Are they just the same pig with different lipstick?

A: Wouldn't it be great if you could open two applications at the same time on your smartphone? Until now, this hasn't been very practical. But larger screens and increased reliance on our pocket-sized gadgets have made this kind of multitasking more attractive. For the most part, these two operating systems are very similar to each other, and each is very much in keeping with the traditions of its brand. But this new feature, known as “Picture-in-Picture,” is a pretty significant leap, and only one of these two operating systems has it. Can you guess which? Click here for a comparison of Android Oreo and iOS 11.

Buying used smartphones

Q: I’d like to save money and buy a used smartphone. I’m afraid of getting a bad phone. Any pointers?

A: You are wise to be cautious, and for two big reasons. First, there might be damage that isn’t obvious when you pick it up, or the software might not run as smoothly as you’d hoped. I have a friend who bought a used iPhone that worked great, except for a fuzzy camera lens that made it unusable for taking photos. Second, buying a used phone can be a security risk, especially if the vendor is crooked and has installed spyware. Certain phones are extremely susceptible to this, especially when they change hands. I recommend refurbished phones, which are usually less expensive and work great, but if you’re dead set on buying a secondhand phone, there are ways to avoid getting swindled.

Click here to learn how to buy a used smartphone.

What questions do you have? Call my national radio show and click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet or computer. From buying advice to digital life issues, click here for my free podcasts.

Copyright 2017, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Learn about all the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation's largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today's digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.

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