How to secure your WhatsApp account from social hacking

Facebook’s WhatsApp messaging service is incredibly easy to set up, but this easy setup process means that your account is open to abuse if you’re not careful. Thankfully, it’s fairly simple to enable an extra layer of security on your account, which means that you won’t lose it if your six-digit activation code gets compromised.

These security options unfortunately won’t stop you from a serious hack such as the one that hit Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. What it will do is offer another layer of protection if someone manages to trick you into sharing your security code, which is a process known as “social hacking.”

If you need any convincing about why it’s a good idea to use this extra security, then allow me to share a friend’s recent experience about what can go wrong when you don’t.

Bleary-eyed one Sunday morning, she received a WhatsApp message from a close friend that asked if she could forward over a six-digit code that she was just about to receive via SMS. Without thinking, and because she trusted her friend, she sent over the code and suddenly found herself logged out of her WhatsApp account.

You probably realized what happened. That wasn’t just any six-digit code; it was the six-digit code that WhatsApp sends to your mobile number via SMS to associate with your WhatsApp account. In sharing that number, my friend had inadvertently allowed the attacker to log in to her account.

Since her attacker now had control of her account, they were then able to send messages from it to any contacts she was in the same group chat with. That’s how the attacker was able to ask for my friend’s six-digit verification code via another friend’s number; they’d gained control of that account as well and used it to message every contact they could, trying to rope them into the scam.

In theory, having your WhatsApp account taken over should be a fairly easy situation to resolve: just enter your phone number into the app and have it send you another six-digit code. The problem is that hackers can spam your number with a bunch of incorrect six-digit codes so that you get locked out of your account for up to 12 hours. Then, if you hadn’t set up a PIN of your own, this leaves an attacker free to set up one of their own on your account, locking you out for seven days in total.

That’s why it’s so important to remember these two rules:

  1. Never share your six-digit WhatsApp code with anyone — not your parents, not your best friend, and definitely not your sibling. No one will ever have a legitimate reason to ask for the code that WhatsApp sends you over SMS, so don’t even think about sharing it.
  2. Should the worst happen, then setting up a PIN will act as another barrier to stop someone from being able to sign in to your account, and it will stop this nightmare from happening to you.

How to secure your WhatsApp account

Somewhat confusingly, the PIN is also six digits long. In order to set it up:

  • Open WhatsApp and tap the three dots on the top right of the screen
  • Hit “Settings” > “Account” and then pick “Two-step verification”
  • Hit “Enable,” and then pick your six-digit PIN. The gallery of screenshots below will walk you through the whole process.
  • This next step isn’t mandatory, but adding an email address will allow you to recover your account if you forget your PIN. WhatsApp will periodically ask you for your PIN while you’re using it so that you don’t easily forget it, but we’d still recommend having a backup.

One more thing: it would be remiss of us if we didn’t mention that, in the past, Facebook (WhatsApp’s parent company) has gotten in trouble for using phone numbers provided for two-factor authentication for ad-targeting. The Federal Trade Commission told the company to stop the practice last year. When we asked WhatsApp, it categorically denied that it does this with its backup email addresses, and we think the benefits of providing an email address outweigh the risks.

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How to install extensions on Microsoft’s new Edge browser

One of the best things about Google Chrome is its robust catalog of extensions. Microsoft’s new version of the Edge browser, which just launched for Windows 10, macOS, and mobile, is built on the same Chromium code base and can also tap into the Chrome web store. This means that it supports the same tremendously large selection of extensions, in addition to Microsoft’s own relatively limited selection of native extensions that are available through its store.

In this article, I’m going to walk you through how to find and install extensions in Edge and ultimately get you set up with Chrome extensions. Gaining access to Chrome’s extensions means taking a few extra steps. But overall, this is an easy and fast operation that will help make Microsoft’s improved browser feel like home — that is, if Google Chrome is where you do most of your browsing.

The first step is to download Microsoft’s Edge if you haven’t already. Once you’ve done that, proceed.

Find the extensions menu

  • Once you’ve opened Edge, click the ellipses on the right side of the browser window next to the profile picture
  • With the drop-down menu extended, select “Extensions,” which is located about halfway down the list of options

Download Edge extensions from Microsoft

After you’ve clicked “Extensions,” a new tab will open in Edge. You can browse for Edge extensions in Microsoft’s Store, although, as mentioned before, its selection is lacking. (The add-ons are apparently still in beta.) Still, it’s simple to install extensions from this source if you find something you’d like.

  • To open up Microsoft’s selection, click “Get extensions from Microsoft Store” in the left column of the “Extensions” tab, or the link to the right

  • When you’ve found an extension you want, click “Get” on its page, and it will be added to the browser

Enable Google Chrome extensions

Let’s be honest, you’ll probably be better suited by gaining access to Google’s extensive catalog of extensions, so let’s route you there.

  • To enable the installation of outside extensions, make sure you’re on Edge’s extension tab described above. Flip the switch next to the option “Allow extensions from other stores” at the bottom left corner of the screen.

  • After you toggle it on, you’ll need to confirm in a pop-up window that you actually want to do this. You’ll be installing extensions that weren’t technically made for Edge, and it may affect performance, Microsoft claims. Hit “Allow” to proceed.

  • Activating this option will allow you to install Chrome extensions

Navigate to Google’s Chrome Web Store

  • You’ll be able to find Google’s complete repository of Chrome extensions on this page. (If the link doesn’t open in Edge, you can simply do a search on Chrome Web Store.)
  • As you add more extensions to Edge, they’ll populate the Extensions page
  • Something to be aware of: currently, Google Chrome color themes (found in the Chrome Web Store under the “Extensions” link) don’t work with Edge. That might change, but at the moment, only extensions will work.

  • Should you ever need to delete or switch off individual extensions, head to the “Extensions” tab again. There, you’ll find them sorted by the places where you downloaded them. Microsoft’s approved extensions and Chrome’s extensions will each be in their own section.

I’ve installed a few of my favorite Chrome extensions on Edge, and, so far, things seem to be working as expected.

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How to download Microsoft’s new Edge browser

Microsoft is launching its new Chromium-based Edge browser today. It comes with built-in tracking protection, a new Collections feature to grab images and content from the web, and an Internet Explorer mode for businesses. If you’re currently a Chrome user, then it’s very familiar in terms of overall features and the user interface.

Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, and macOS users will all be able to download and install the new version of Edge today. Microsoft will be rolling this out via Windows Update to Windows 10 users in the coming weeks, but here’s how to get it right now.

  • Head over to Microsoft’s Edge site, and download the installer
  • Run the installer. Once it’s finished, the task bar icon for Edge (assuming the older version was already installed) will change to the new logo
  • Launch the new Edge. You’ll be greeted with a welcome screen where you can choose to import data from Chrome / old Edge or start fresh.

  • You can also configure how new tabs will look and / or sign in to a Microsoft Account to enable sync of favorites, passwords, and more

  • Finally, by clicking on the “Next” button, you can disable Microsoft’s personalized ads, search, news, etc.

Use the new Edge on your mobile device

If you’re interested in using Edge across your desktop and mobile devices, Microsoft is also making it available on both Android and iOS. (Note that if you download the app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store and then sign in with the same Microsoft Account you use on Windows or macOS, it will sync your favorites, passwords, and more.)

You can enable tracking protection under Settings. You can customize the Edge mobile menu by hitting the three dots at the bottom, selecting change menu, and then dragging and dropping icons where you want them to appear.

Full browsing history and open tab sync between desktop and mobile aren’t available yet, but Microsoft is planning to add them in the coming months. Microsoft is also adding extension sync across the desktop versions of Edge soon, and it will enable Collections to sync, too.

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How to trade in your MacBook, macOS desktop, iPhone, or iPad

If you’re looking to trade in your Apple product — be it a MacBook, iMac, Mac desktop, iPhone, or iPad — you stand to get a pretty good return. Apple’s tech has a reputation on the secondhand market for retaining value long after release. This speaks to build quality, but mostly to Apple’s long-lasting software support for its older products. The trend is positive both for buyers who will end up with a product that could continue to work for years, and sellers, who will make a good percentage of their original purchase price back.

There are plenty of ways of trading in your old Apple products for cash. You can easily net an extra $50 to $100 from a sale if you’ve taken care of your tech, as buyers will pay more for products that look closer to new condition. So it pays to make sure that your hardware is in good shape.

Clean your gear

How you clean your Apple product will vary depending on what it is you’re selling. You’ll want to apply some screen cleaner to your iPhone, MacBook, iMac, or iPad before listing it for sale. While doing so, take note of any scratches or other defects in the display or the body, and be sure to accurately report them during the selling process, or you’ll probably be met with an unhappy buyer and no sale.

Remove any stickers from your tech, and if you have a can of compressed air, clean out any ports and grilles. There’s no reminder more immediate that your device is preowned than forgetting to clean out port gunk.

If you’re selling a macOS desktop, like a Mac Pro or Mac mini, open it up and gently remove any dust that has accumulated within, and if you want to add some RAM to sweeten the deal for buyers, this is your chance. It’s an easy task if you have the Mac Pro from 2013, or a Mac mini made before late 2012. Unfortunately for my colleague Nick Statt, making improvements to his late 2014 Mac mini proved to be a lot more complicated.

Perform a factory reset

Ensuring that your tablet or computer is properly wiped is mutually beneficial for both buyer and seller. What good is hardware that you can’t access due to an unknown passcode? Depending on what product you’re dealing with, the process for initiating a factory reset will be different, but it’s usually easy.

How to erase your MacBook or macOS desktop

On your MacBook or macOS desktop, first make sure you’ve backed up all of your personal files to your cloud storage service of choice or to an external hard drive via Time Machine. Once you’ve ensured that everything is duplicated and safe in a location other than your hard drive, you can wipe the computer.

  • Click the Apple logo up top, and hit “Restart”
  • Once you hear the startup chime, hold down the Command + R keys until the Apple logo appears on your screen. This will load you into the recovery partition of your hard drive, letting you obliterate your personal information once and for all.
  • Of the applications listed, open Disk Utility, then click into the first option listed under your hard drive’s name. If you haven’t changed its name, it will probably be called “Macintosh HD.”
  • Navigate to “Erase” and confirm the selection. If you choose to securely wipe your computer, it will take a few hours for the operation to write over your drive several times.
  • With this step finished, you’re ready to reinstall the operating system. Click the red “x” and you’ll be popped back to the recovery menu. Make sure your machine is connected to the internet, then hit “Reinstall macOS” to return it to factory settings.

Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

How to erase an iPhone or iPad

Before you wipe your phone or tablet, switch on iCloud to sync all of the information that you want to keep. Then:

  • Open up the Settings app and navigate to “General”
  • Once you’re there, scroll down to “Reset,” then hit “Erase all content and settings”
  • If asked, enter your passcode or Apple ID password, then the operation will execute

It’s far easier and faster to bring your iPhone or iPad back to factory settings than it is for one of Apple’s computers.

Trade or sell your Apple hardware

Apple’s GiveBack trade service will give you Apple Store credit in exchange for your computer, iPhone, or iPad. At Apple’s site, you can find out how much you can get for your machine before sending it in. You’ll just need your serial number and access to its specifications to find the value. Apple won’t pay you as much for your device as it might go for on the public market, but it’s a good option if you just want to flip your tech without a fuss.

If Apple isn’t offering enough for your tech, you can alternatively sell it to get some money that you can use toward buying a new MacBook Air, Mac mini, new iPad Pro, or something else entirely. You’ll find passionate people from all over who will likely take interest in your gear if it’s priced well and in good condition (and even if it’s not, so long as it’s priced accordingly). As for where you can sell your tech, and Craigslist remain the best options, but for different reasons.

If you are selling a tablet, phone, or laptop, you’ll want to go with Swappa (it currently doesn’t list desktops). Like Craigslist, Swappa doesn’t charge a fee to post to its market of buyers. One area where Swappa is ahead is that it supports PayPal, which protects both buyers and sellers during the transaction process.

Comparatively, Craigslist doesn’t limit what you want to sell, or charge you for listing your items. In fact, for better or worse, it doesn’t hold your hand at all. It will be up to you to arrange the meeting point, negotiate a price, and finally, decide on how money will be exchanged. This can be stressful, but it can also be super easy and fast. I’ve had plenty of good experiences selling on Craigslist, though you’ll always want to make sure that you meet in public places and don’t fall for an offer that seems too good to be true.

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How to sell your old iPhone

If you were recently gifted a new iPhone, you may be wondering about the best way to sell your old phone for the best price. (As opposed to trading it in, which could be more convenient, but it also often means you won’t get as much for it.) This guide can help walk you through that process.

Back up your phone

Since you’re going to wipe your phone (you definitely don’t want anyone else getting their hands on your stuff), first, you’ll want to back it up. Make sure you have a current backup of all of your data saved on iCloud, your laptop, or any other local / cloud storage. If iCloud Backup is switched on in your iCloud settings on your phone, and you’ve selected everything you want to back up, it will make it easier to import all of your data into a new phone. You can also back up your phone through iTunes on your laptop and import your data from there.

Wipe your phone

When you’re sure that all of your data is stored, it’s time to wipe your phone. Disable “Find My iPhone” and unpair any devices from your phone, including your Apple Watch. Sign out from your Apple ID and remove the SIM card from the phone. Erase your phone by going into “Settings” > “General.” Tap “Reset” and then select “Erase All Content and Settings.”

Clean it up

Before you even think of selling your phone, you need to make sure it’s looking its best. Remove the case or any stickers, and assess the damage you can see, including scratches or dents, which you’ll have to mention when selling the phone. Then, clean your phone using a screen wipe or screen cleaner. (You might want to leave your screen protector on if it’s in good condition.)

It’s also a good idea to take photos of your phone. You’ll need them for the listing when selling the phone online; in addition, they’re useful in case the recipient reports further damage.

Estimate Your Phone’s Value

A good way to find out how much your phone is worth is to use sales sites such as Swappa, eBay, Craigslist, or the subreddits r/Phoneswap, r/Appleswap, and r/Hardwareswap to see what price other used phones are going for. Adjust your search to filter for phones in the same condition as yours and set your price accordingly.

Sell your phone

There are a variety of places you can sell your phone.

One such site, Swappa, charges a fee from the buyer rather than the seller, depending on the price of the phone. However, Swappa recommends you factor shipping costs into the price you set, as the seller is responsible for paying the shipping company directly.

eBay gives you 50 free listings, depending on the type of listing, but after that, it’ll cost you 35 cents per listing. eBay also charges the seller a percentage of the item’s price. Facebook Marketplace is also an option, or you can join one of the Facebook’s buy / sell groups. Both Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist allow you to post listings for your phone for free.

If you decide to do the transaction in person, it’s safest to meet in a public place, like a cafe. Cash is probably the best way to go to avoid Venmo scams or PayPal chargebacks. For added security, The Verge’s Chris Welch has recommended using a counterfeit detector pen to authenticate cash.

Whatever you decide to do with your old phone, just make sure you’re happy with your new phone first. You don’t want to have to return that brand-new phone because of problems (or because you just don’t like it) and suddenly find yourself desperately scrounging around for a temporary substitute.

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Chromebooks 101: How to take screenshots on your Chromebook

Screenshots can be useful for a variety of reasons. For example, you can send copies of error messages to support services, show a friend what your game screen looks like, or save a tweet that you suspect is going to be deleted in a few minutes. Today’s laptops all include ways to take screenshots, and that includes Chromebooks.

Chromebooks can be a little confusing for someone coming from another platform, especially because their keyboards are somewhat different than those of Macs or Windows PCs. Some keys present on other laptops are missing, while new ones have been added. However, once you know the basic key combinations for taking screenshots, you’ll be good to go.

  • To take a screenshot of the entire screen, use the Ctrl + Show windows key combination. The Show windows key, which looks like a rectangle with two lines on the right side, is on the top row of the keyboard (it’s the equivalent of the F5 key on a PC keyboard).

Chromebook showing “show windows” key

  • To take a screenshot of a portion of the screen, press the Shift + Ctrl + Show windows keys. You’ll see a crosshair icon; click and drag it until the part of the screen you want to copy is highlighted, and then let go.

After you’ve taken the screenshot, you might see a copy of the screenshot in a pop-out window (depending on which version of Chrome OS you’re using). It will give you the option of copying the screenshot to your clipboard or annotating the image.

Any screenshot you take will end up in the Downloads folder. To find the folder:

  • Select the Launcher at the left corner of your display.
  • Look for the icon named “Files” under the search field. If you don’t see it, select the up arrow and look for the “Files” app there.

  • That icon will bring up your file manager. Look for your Downloads folder under the “My Files” category on the left. Your screenshots will be there.

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How to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10 for free

Microsoft’s free upgrade offer for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users ended a few years ago, but you can still technically upgrade to Windows 10 free of charge. While Microsoft has removed the special upgrade offer sites, the company continues to activate Windows 10 licenses for people who upgrade from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.

ZDNet’s Ed Bott has been testing this method for years, and the free upgrade still works. It’s also really simple for anyone to upgrade from Windows 7, especially as support ends for the operating system today. Assuming your PC supports the minimum requirements for Windows 10, you’ll be able to upgrade from Microsoft’s site.

The most important thing to remember is that the Windows 7 to Windows 10 upgrade could wipe your settings and apps. There’s an option to keep your files and personal data, but because of differences between Windows 10 and Windows 7, it’s not always possible to keep all of your existing apps. Make sure you’ve noted what apps you use regularly so you can easily obtain them by downloading the installers again. Windows 8.1 can also be upgraded the same way, but without needing to wipe your apps and settings.

Here’s how to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10:

  • Back up all of your important documents, apps, and data
  • Head over to Microsoft’s Windows 10 download site
  • In the Create Windows 10 installation media section, select “Download tool now,” and run the app
  • When prompted, choose “Upgrade this PC now.”

Windows 7 upgrade prompt

  • You’ll then be asked whether you want to keep your personal files or start fresh. Remember: starting fresh or keeping your files still means that all apps and settings will be deleted for the Windows 10 upgrade.
  • Once the upgrade is complete, you should receive a digital license for Windows 10, which can be found under Settings > Update & Security > Activation.

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Google 101: how to add more calendars to your Google Calendar app

One of the great advantages of using Google Calendar is that you see many different calendars on the same interface, and you can choose which one you want to see at any time.

For example, your Google Calendar can include a personal calendar, a work calendar, the calendars of family members, calendars that show local or international holidays, and one that adds the schedule of your favorite sports team. You view as many calendars at once as you like, or turn them off temporarily if your calendar is too crowded, or if you need to concentrate on a particular schedule.

If you’re new to Google Calendar, this is a quick guide to adding and using multiple calendars. Be aware that most of the tweaks listed here are only available via the web interface; any that you can do via the mobile app will be noted.

Choose which calendars to show

When you first sign on to Google Calendar, you are already supplied with several calendars, which you can see on the left side of the page, sorted into two categories. Under “My calendars,” you’ll find your personal calendar, one called “Birthdays” that pulls events from the people listed in your Google Contacts, Reminders, and Tasks. Under “Other calendars,” you’ll start with a holiday calendar for your country.

Note that each calendar is assigned a color (shown by the checkbox on the left of each calendar’s label). If you hover the cursor over the label, you’ll see a menu icon (three dots) on the right; click it, and you can change the color for that calendar.

Don’t want to see the entries for any specific calendar? Just uncheck the box, and check it to see it again. You can see as many or as few calendars at a time as you want.

On the mobile app, you can access your various calendars by tapping on the three parallel line menu bar in the upper-left corner. The pull-out menu will first show your presentation choices (day, week, month, etc.), and then it will show the calendars with colored checkboxes; uncheck any you don’t want to see.

If you want to change the color of a checkbox on your mobile device, it’s a little more complicated.

  • Tap on the menu bar in the upper-left corner
  • Scroll down to “Settings” (it’s got a gear icon)
  • Tap on the calendar you want to change
  • You’ll see the color that you’re currently using. Tap on that.
  • Select your new color from the pop-up list

Creating a new calendar

Let’s say you’re trying to save money by not eating out, and you’ve decided one way to do that is to plan your meals for the week. You can create a separate calendar called “Meals” where you specify what you’ve planned for dinner each day.

Here’s how to create a new calendar:

  • Next to “Other calendars” on the left, select the plus sign

  • Click on “Create new calendar”

  • Type in the name of your new calendar and add a description (if you want to). Make sure the time zone is correct.

  • Click on “Create calendar”

Your new calendar will now be active, and you’ll find it in the “My calendars” category. If you want to change the assigned color, hover your cursor over the calendar name, click on the three-dot Options menu, and choose a color.

Don’t need that calendar anymore? You have a number of options:

  • If you just want to temporarily not see it on the calendar, uncheck its box
  • If you want to remove it from your list, use the Options menu to select “Hide from list.” (If you want it back again, click on the gear icon in the upper-right corner, select “Settings,” and scroll down until you see “Settings for my calendars” on the left. Any calendars that you’ve hidden will have a symbol with a crossed-out eye next to it. Just click on the eye to unhide the calendar.)

  • If you want to completely delete it, go to the Settings page and find “Settings for my calendars.” Click on the name of the calendar, select “Remove calendar,” and then look in the center of the page for “Delete.”

Adding additional Google calendars

You can also add calendars from other sources using your browser. (You can’t do it on a mobile app.) You can add other people’s Google Calendars (assuming they give you permission), add other calendars available via Google, and add calendars using the iCal format.

First, let’s say you want to add a friend’s Google Calendar.

  • Select the plus sign next to “Other calendars” and choose “Subscribe to calendar”
  • Where it says “Add calendar,” type in your friend’s Gmail address
  • It’s likely that you’ll get a pop-up message that you don’t have access to that calendar. In that case, use the form to request access from your friend.

  • Your friend will get a request email with a link, which will allow you to either just see the events, make changes to them, or actually manage them. When they approve the share, you will get an email telling you that you now have access to t

How to responsibly get rid of the stuff you’ve decluttered

So you’ve chosen to keep everything that sparks joy, and now you have all those bags of tech, clothing, books, and other stuff that you need to get rid of. Where do you go from here?

First, keep in mind that just dumping it isn’t an option. Reusing and recycling old and unneeded stuff has become an important aspect of the push to preserve the world’s environment — to the point that junk food manufacturers are testing reusable packaging. Many states and urban areas are mandating the recycling of tech, metals, paper goods, or other substances, but even if you live in an area where the law doesn’t require it, you probably don’t want to add more to the world’s trash.

The problem is finding how and where you can get rid of your stuff with the greatest advantage to you and the least amount of damage to the environment. Fortunately, there is a number of online services that can help you figure out how to responsibly get rid of things — and possibly make some money in the process.

Here are some sites to check out, depending on what you want to dispose of and how you want to do it.


old phone

Planning to buy a new phone or laptop? Before you make the purchase, check out any manufacturer trade-in deals that are available for your Macs, Pixels, and other devices.

If you don’t like the offer from the vendor, you can sell your tech. There are online vendors that will take your used device off your hands and give you something for it. Decluttr, for example, will give you a tentative quote on your phone or tech (it also takes CDs, DVDs, games, books, and Lego). You can also sell through a service like Swappa, which charges the buyer, not the seller, a fee (but the seller does have to pay PayPal’s transaction fee). Amazon also has a trade-in program, although payment will come in the form of a gift card.

You can also give it to charity. There are several programs that give computers to people or organizations that need them. For example, Computers with Causes passes tech on to a variety of organizations; World Computer Exchange sends refurbished desktop and laptop computers to schools, libraries, community centers, and universities in developing countries; and Globetops lets you choose who will get your refurbished laptop using online descriptions (or you can just donate your tech and let Globetops decide). As with any charitable institution, it’s a good idea to check them out before giving (there are several charity info sites online).

If you’ve got tech that is so old that nobody wants it, then it’s time to dispose of it — in an environmentally conscious way, of course. In fact, if you just throw away your computer or TV set, you may be breaking the law, depending on where you live. According to the National Council of State Legislatures, “25 states and the District of Columbia have enacted legislation establishing a statewide electronic waste, or e-waste, recycling program.” (Want to know what happens to your recycled trash? Check out this article about New York City’s e-waste. Or you can find out about the dark side of e-waste recycling.)

If you live in an urban area, chances are, there’s some kind of recycling program available (or even mandatory). In many cases, stores that sell electronics will also offer recycling; all you have to do is bring your stuff to the store. Or you can try Earth911 to find the nearest recycling center.

Disposing of batteries safely can be a pain. Call2Recycle can help you find out where to drop off that bag of batteries you’ve been accumulating. If there aren’t any facilities within reach of your home or office, BigGreenBox will dispose of it for you — but not for free. The company will send a box that will hold up to 43 pounds of batteries and will dispose of them safely for $63 (which includes shipping and handling).

Finally, if you’re still holding on to your parents’ old BlackBerry PDA or Commodore 64, you may want to see if you can donate it to a museum. There aren’t as many tech museums that accept contributions as there used to be, but if you’ve got something old and / or unusual, it’s worth a shot for the tax breaks. The MIT Museum has a form you can fill out. The Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, has put its donations program on hold through January 2020, but you can check back with it after that.


Xiaomi Mi 5 camera sample images - clothing

You can divide clothing sites into three categories: ones that handle the latest stylish and expensive clothing and jewelry, ones that handle major middle-level brands, and dealers in traditional discount leftovers.

At the high end are consignment companies that act as go-betweens for those that want to sell designer clothing, jewelry, and other valuable objects, and those that want to buy them. Most of these, such as TheRealReal, Rebag, and Vestiaire Collective, authenticate all of the products that are sold through them and will only take recent fashions, so they are not where you go to get rid of that jacket that’s been hanging in your closet for 10 years. However, if you’re the kind of shopper who buys the latest styles every season, these may be where you want to sell and buy.

A side note: if you have business clothing that you no longer wear, there are a number of organizations that accept office wear in good condition for people who are job hunting. Most of these are locally based; for example, in the NYC area, there is Bottomless Closet for women and Career Gear for men. The best way to find an organization in your area is to try charity guides such as Charity Navigator or GuideStar.

For less upscale clothing, sites like Tradesy handle both upscale and mid-price clothing, shoes, and jewelry. Tradesy offers a straightforward commission, although it will check if there is any question about the authenticity of the label. You can also try sites like ThredUp, which handles thousands of major brands; if it accepts your clothing, you can choose from getting paid after the sale or getting a lower price on an immediate payment. (If the clothing isn’t accepted, it will be recycled.)

If you want to get rid of your older clothing, you may find it a bit harder than it used to be. Many charities that used to accept worn or outmoded clothing have become more picky, partly because the business of reselling old clothes overseas is waning. In addition, savvy consumers are becoming wary of the omnipresent drop-in clothing bins since many actually belong to for-profit companies.

If you can’t make it to your local Goodwill store, one place to try is Vietnam Veterans of America. Its website will let you schedule a pickup (assuming it services your area). GiveBackBox encourages you to use the box your new clothes were shipped in to send your old stuff (it asks that you send five or more items) to a charity; the site provides a pre-paid shipping label. And the aforementioned ThredUp will send you a bag for all of your unsellable clothing. In return, it’ll give $5 to a charity of your choice and you get a tax credit.


Photo by Andrew Liptak / The Verge

Books made of paper rather than pixels are still around, and if the piles are getting too high for your home, then you probably want to get rid of at least some of them.

One solution is to sell your books through a site such as Amazon, although that can get complicated. As an individual (as opposed to a business), you have to set up a seller’s account and pay Amazon 99 cents per book. And your chances of actually selling may be slim to none; there are a lot of professional booksellers who use Amazon to get rid of extra inventory, so they will sell their books for the 99 cents plus the shipping fee, making it difficult for individuals to compete.

You can also try popular resellers such as Powell’s or AbeBooks. You give them the ISBN and the condition of the book(s), and they will give you a quote. Then, you mail the books to them and reap your reward.

If you’ve got textbooks you don’t need anymore — and we all know how expensive those can get — you can try AbeBooks or Bookbyte. (Chegg, which used to buy books, now only accepts them as donations.) BookScouter will show you the prices offered by a variety of booksellers, along with user ratings, and you can choose which one to sell to.

If you just want to get rid of your books and aren’t worried about getting paid, there are sites like Better World Books, a for-profit company with drop-off boxes around the country, that uses a percentage of its earnings to promote literacy. There are also specialized organizations online that help you send books to people who need them, such as Books for Soldiers.

You can also go local. Libraries and used bookstores have traditionally been good ways for people to unload books they no longer want. Many libraries still take books that they can add to their collections, sell, or give away. However, it’s a good idea to go online and check with your library’s website to make sure they accept donations. (You can also go really old-fashioned and call them.) Used bookstores will usually accept books for either a small payment or for credit toward book purchases. The best way to find out if there are any in your area is to go to Google Maps and search “used bookstores.”

Finally, you can build your own library. The Little Free Library site provides all the information you need to start a tiny book-lending program right outside your house (or how to find the nearest one).

Everything else

Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

When you want to sell your stuff, one of the first places people think of is eBay. And rightfully so: this is where a lot of buyers go when they’re looking for a deal. People who sell on eBay range from one-time-only folks to professional retailers. You get up to 50 free listings a month; after that, it’s 35 cents per listing. Once your item has been sold, eBay collects 10 percent of the final value, with several exceptions: 3.5 percent for guitars and basses; 2 percent for heavy equipment, and 12 percent for books, DVDs, and other music and movie media (except for records). If you’re selling athletic shoes that cost $100 or more, you’re in luck: there are no final value fees. Selling on eBay takes time, effort, and patience, but it may be worth it. The best way to start is to do a quick search and see the range of prices your object (or a similar object) is selling for.

If you’re not set on making money, but really want to clean out your basement, giving your things away might be the best way to go. Freecycle is a service that introduces local people who have stuff to other local people who want that stuff. Once you find your community Freecycle through the main site, you are instructed on how to advertise what you are giving away. Freecycle sends out your email to all of its subscribers and anyone who wants the object replies. Their email is pushed to your personal email, and after that, it’s up to you to contact the person and arrange for the giveaway. And you’ve made two people happy — you and the lucky recipient.

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How to watch the 2020 Golden Globe Awards online

Awards season is kicking off this Sunday, January 5th, with the 77th Golden Globe Awards, held at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills. The Golden Globes, hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, are seen as an indicator of how the rest of the awards ceremonies, particularly the Oscars, might play out. Unlike the Oscars, the Golden Globes cover both film and television.

Streaming is an important theme going into this round of awards, and Netflix has dominated both categories. For motion pictures, The Irishman was nominated for five awards, The Two Popes is up for four, and Marriage Story snagged six, making it the most-nominated film. Television series The Crown and Unbelievable earned four nominations each, tying with HBO’s Chernobyl for having the most nominations in the television category.

More streaming services are entering the playing field. Apple TV Plus, which launched back in November, earned three nominations for The Morning Show, including for Best Television Series – Drama. This is the streaming platform’s first set of Globes nominations.

In the past, the Golden Globes have been criticized for excluding women from the best director category. Unfortunately, this year wasn’t any better — all of the best director nominees are men — with directors such as Lulu Wang (The Farewell), Greta Gerwig (Little Women), and Marielle Heller (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood) all getting snubbed.

How do I watch the Golden Globes?

The Golden Globes will start at 8PM ET / 5PM PT on Sunday, January 5th. As in previous years, NBC is broadcasting the three-hour awards ceremony.

Can I watch it online? And for free?

The Golden Globes will be available for live-streaming through NBC’s website or app, but you’ll have to enter your TV provider’s information in order to watch.

You can also watch the Golden Globes through a number of streaming subscriptions which include live TV. While these are all paid subscriptions, you can get a seven-day free trial on some of them and use it to watch the Globes this weekend:

  • Fubo TV ($54.99 per month, seven-day free trial)
  • Sling TV ($30–$45 per month, new subscribers save $10 on their first month)
  • Hulu with Live TV ($54.99 per month, seven-day free trial)
  • YouTube TV ($49.99 per month, two weeks free if you sign up before January 15th)
  • DirecTV Now ($65–$80 per month, seven-day free trial)

Is there pre-show coverage?

NBC will start its red-carpet coverage at 7PM ET / 4PM PT. As usual, E! is running its pre-show at starting at 6PM ET / 3PM PT. You can also stream official red carpet coverage from the Hollywood Foreign Press for free online through Facebook from 6PM ET / 3PM PT.

Who’s hosting the Golden Globes?

Ricky Gervais is hosting the awards ceremony for the fifth time. He hosted back in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2016, but he says this time is his last. He recently came under fire for tweets which were seen as transphobic.

The list of presenters includes: Ana de Armas, Margot Robbie, Salma Hayek, Amy Poehler, Rami Malek, Dakota Fanning, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Nick Jonas, Ansel Elgort, Tiffany Haddish, Kate McKinnon, Will Ferrell, Charlize Theron, Sofia Vergara, Octavia Spencer, Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts, Daniel Craig, Antonio Banderas, Cate Blanchett, and Kerry Washington

Who’s nominated?

Here is the full list of nominees:


Best Motion Picture — Drama

The Two Popes
The Irishman
Marriage Story

Best Motion Picture — Comedy

Dolemite Is My Name
Jojo Rabbit
Knives Out
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Best Actress in a Motion Picture — Drama

Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
Saoirse Ronan, Little Women
Charlize Theron, Bombshell
Renée Zellweger, Judy

Best Actor in a Motion Picture — Drama

Christian Bale, Ford v Ferrari
Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory
Adam Driver, Marriage Story
Joaquin Phoenix, Joker
Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes

Best Actress in a Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy

Ana De Armas, Knives Out
Awkwafina, The Farewell
Cate Blanchett, Where’d You Go Bernadette
Beanie Feldstein, Booksmart
Emma Thompson, Late Night

Best Actor in a Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy

Roman Griffin Davis, Jojo Rabbit
Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Taron Egerton, Rocketman
Eddie Murphy, Dolemite Is My Name
Daniel Craig, Knives Out

Best Supporting Actress — Motion Picture

Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell
Annette Bening, The Report
Laura Dern, Marriage Story
Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers
Margot Robbie, Bombshell

Best Supporting Actor — Motion Picture

Al Pacino, The Irishman
Joe Pesci, The Irishman
Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes

Best Director — Motion Picture

Bong Joon Ho, Parasite
Sam Mendes, 1917
Todd Phillips, Joker
Martin Scorsese, The Irishman
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Best Screenplay — Motion Picture

Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story
Bong Joon Ho, Han Jin Won, Parasite
Anthony McCarten, The Two Popes
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Steven Zaillian, The Irishman

Best Motion Picture — Animated

Frozen 2
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
The Lion King
Missing Link
Toy Story 4

Best Motion Picture — Foreign

Les Misérables
Pain and Glory
Portrait of Lady on Fire
The Farewell

Best Original Score — Motion Picture

Daniel Pemberton, Motherless Brooklyn
Alexandre Desplat, Little Women
Hildur Gudnadottir, Joker
Randy Newman, Marriage Story
Thomas Newman, 1917

Best Original Song — Motion Picture

“Beautiful Ghosts,” Cats
“I’m Gonna Love Me Again,” Rocketman
“Into the Unknown,” Frozen 2
“Spirit,” The Lion King
“Stand Up,” Harriet


Best Television Series — Drama

Big Little Lies
The Crown
Killing Eve
The Morning Show

Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy

The Kominsky Method
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
The Politician

Best Limited Series or TV Movie

The Loudest Voice

Best Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie

Kaitlyn Dever, Unbelievable
Joey King, The Act
Helen Mirren, Catherine the Great
Merritt Wever, Unbelievable
Michelle Williams, Fosse/Verdon

Best Actor in a Limited Series or TV Movie

Jared Harris, Chernobyl
Sam Rockwell, Fosse/Verdon
Christopher Abbott, Catch-22
Sacha Baron Cohen, The Spy
Russell Crowe, The Loudest Voice

Best Actress in a Drama Series

Reese Witherspoon, The Morning Show
Jennifer Aniston, The Morning Show
Olivia Colman, The Crown
Jodie Comer, Killing Eve
Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies

Best Actor in a Drama Series

Tobias Menzies, The Crown
Billy Porter, Pose
Brian Cox, Succession
Kit Harington, Game of Thrones
Rami Malek, Mr. Robot

Best Actress in a Comedy Series

Christina Applegate, Dead to Me
Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Kirsten Dunst, On Becoming a God in Central Florida
Natasha Lyonne, Russian Doll
Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag

Best Actor in a Comedy Series

Ramy Youssef, Ramy
Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method
Bill Hader, Barry
Ben Platt, The Politician
Paul Rudd, Living With Yourself

Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Limited Series or TV Movie

Patricia Arquette, The Act
Helena Bonham Carter, The Crown
Toni Collette, Unbelievable
Meryl Streep, Big Little Lies
Emily Watson, Chernobyl

Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Limited Series or TV Movie

Alan Arkin, The Kominsky Method
Kieran Culkin, Succession
Andrew Scott, Fleabag
Stellan Skarsgård, Chernobyl
Henry Winkler, Barry

Cecil B. deMille Award

Tom Hanks

Carol Burnett Award

Ellen DeGeneres

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