Holiday Geek Squad

Kyle Ford
2 min readDec 23, 2023

If you work in an even remotely tech-adjacent job and visit relatives for the holidays, there are two ironclad guarantees:

  1. Don’t argue or clarify, just accept the fact that you work in “IT”
  2. You’re gonna get asked to fix their Outlook

While you’re deep up in their business and futzing with their various devices, there’s always the opportunity for light shenanigans (the classic FOX News parental controls trick being a great one), but it’s also the perfect time to make some recommendations, set new defaults and generally help them step a bit further into the light.

Here’s a starter hitlist to get you started:

  • Disable “motion smoothing” on their TVs: In the name of all that’s holy, help them stop the madness
  • Change their default search engine (power move: change their default browser 😈): DuckDuckGo is far from perfect, but it’s a great step in the right direction
  • Set up 2FA on (at minimum) their most essential accounts (bonus points for Passkeys where available!)
  • Get them up and running with a password manager
  • Move the Facebook app icon to a less prominent place on their devices (make them hunt for it and break habits), bonus points for putting a legitimate news app in its former spot
  • Speaking of Facebook (and this comes from recent experience with a cousin), show them right now how to download a copy of their data
  • As a holiday treat for all involved, spend a few bucks to get them more cloud storage for their photos, videos and device backups generally
  • If they’re on iOS, install Callsheet for them as a one-stop shop for “where can I watch this show?” and “what movie do I know this person from?” questions (with JustWatch and IMDb as fallbacks if on Android)
  • Get Apple Pay or Google Pay set up to make their lives easier when out and about
  • Do a spring cleaning pass for dead, embarrassing and/or problematic services that you set them up with years ago (Google Hangouts, Dark Sky, Mint, Clubhouse, Twitter, anything NFT-adjacent, etc.)

Happy tweaking!

Originally published at on December 23, 2023.