The Thanksgiving holiday, for many, is about digging into a turkey and sides with friends and family, celebrating and honoring what we have in this world we each have to be thankful for.
The day after, Black Friday, for another subset of us, is all about shopping (unless you're like me and you avoid the craziness at retail stores for the weekend).
But Alexis Madrigal, an editor and writer at The Atlantic magazine, has a fantastic idea that is catching on with the blogosphere -- "Update your parents' browser day."
Madrigal, in an article on The Atlantic's website, describes Thanksgiving as a "time when families gather together to share food, extend gratitude, and marvel at how Dad still uses Internet Explorer 6. No, seriously, Dad, how can you be using a browser developed during the Clinton administration? That was like 10 presidents ago."
To alleviate this problem and get the folks up to date with the latest in Web browsing technology, Madrigal suggests updating browsers in top secret, covert-ops style.
"If a parent catches you, don't tell them that you're changing their Web browser," he suggests. "Say instead that you're checking for viruses or installing new drivers or that you're 'freeing up space on their hard drive,' which parents always seem to worry about. (And though you're lying, if they do have viruses or are running out of hard drive space or need new drivers for some reason, be a good boy and do that stuff too.)"
While I'm wholly behind the world leaving outdated Web browsers behind, I'm going to have to advocate for being on the up-and-up about the move. Let your parents, or your grand pappy, your tio and tia, your girlfriend or whoever is behind the times know what you're doing and why -- security, speed, better websites, graphics, video and all that.
The website LifeHacker took Madrigal's idea and suggested even more shady activity, namely, if your parents use Microsoft's Internet Explorer, that you should replace it with Mozilla's Firefox or Google's Chrome (Opera is a good option too). The site even suggested going as far as changing the icon on the desktop to look like IE and downloading themes that will make other browsers look like the Microsoft app.
Of course, Microsoft doesn't advocate abandoning Internet Explorer. In fact, the tech giant suggested (unsurprisingly) to update your family to the latest version of IE -- in two separate company blog posts.
Regardless of your browser preference, many blogs and tech websites (such as Gizmodo, ReadWriteWeb, ArsTechnica, Computerworld, Neowin and TechCrunch) seem to agree that "Update your parents' browser day" is an idea we can all get behind.
"No more excuses," Madrigal wrote. "These browsers must be upgraded. Do it for the Web developers. Do it for the designers. Do it for your parents. On Friday, Nov. 25, every old Web browser must go."
Join Madrigal's call to action, won't you? I might even update the browsers of a co-worker or two Friday if I can.
-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles
Photo: A Dell computer from 1999, surfing the Web. Credit: Dell/Reuters