Thanksgiving: eat the bounty, hang out with family and update web browsers

IE 6 logo and hand turkey

Turkey and IE 6 logoThanksgiving is coming up this weekend in the US. It’s a holiday of gluttony and family time, celebrating the end of the summer’s harvest.

To coincide with the holiday, The Atlantic have come up with a cute challenge for all of us who will be hanging out at our parents’ home: “Update your Parents’ Browser Day”

Now we have all heard the plethora of excuses people have for not updating their browsers. They don’t like change; they like what they know; it works fine as it is; they are worried about breaking everything, etc.


It is time to stop enabling these users and get tough: If you want to stay on the internet, update your browser. Now, let us look at the worst of the lot – Internet Explorer 6.


It is over 10 years old. That is the middle-ages in web terms. Many web-based companies have stopped supporting it, including the three big boys: Google, Facebook and Youtube.

Even Microsoft has been desperate to kill it off for about a year, with its launch of IE 6 Countdown.

According to the site’s world map, almost 8% of the world still use IE 6.

That could be your parents, grandparents, aunts, older siblings – you name it.
Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 usage_world map

And this is where I take a different view from The Atlantic piece. In it, Alexis Madrigal says:

"A little advice on the browser change. Don't switch brands on them. No putting Chrome instead of Firefox or Internet Explorer. Keep it simple."

I say pah to that. This is your chance to install your favourite browser onto their system. If you like Explorer 8 or 9, then go for it.

(As one reader pointed out, you cannot install IE 9 on Windows XP, but you can visit Microsoft’s support page and learn more about the different available versions for your operating system.)

But if you prefer recent releases of Chrome or Firefox, I say this is your chance! Sit them down, explain the reasoning using your finest rhetoric and persuasive tactics. Get the nod and then go in, make the change.

Yes, I urge you to get consent and not go behind their backs. The Atlantic piece make light of this, but it is actually illegal to install software without the owner’s consent.

If you are wondering why you are doing this, remember it is the time of year for giving. You will be helping to make the internet a better place and help them from getting hit by something nasty.

Note – a word of warning about add-ons: installing tools like No Script on a novice’s Firefox browser and then trying to explain how it works might be a giving step too far.