Best of the Web for Windows Users - March 2012

Today is the last day of March and we would like to share a recap of what we found interesting on the web, for Windows users. We’ve got some news worth reading, several useful guides published by other websites and the most popular articles we published this month.

The Best Tech Related News

As you would expect, March was dominated by Microsoft and the launch of Windows 8 Consumer Preview. Everybody wrote about it! Some of the more interesting news articles we stumbled upon this month are:

In-Depth with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview - Even though I do not agree with all the conclusions of this review, I very much enjoyed reading it. I consider it to be a very thoughtful analysis of Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

Old dogs, get ready for new tricks: how to use the Windows 8 Consumer Preview - Ars Technica explains in detail the new gestures and keyboard shortcuts one needs to learn, in order to have a great experience with Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

Update for Windows Live Essentials 2011 now available - Microsoft has updated their Windows Live Essentials 2011 suite. Unfortunately they haven’t published a change log. They only said that this update contains critical fixes. Also, some people reported having an improved experience with this suite, in Windows 8. It is best to update it when you have a few minutes available.

Report: 51% of web site traffic is 'non-human' and mostly malicious - Some jarring statistics about who actually surfs today’s web. I wasn’t expecting to see such numbers.

Touch hardware and Windows 8 - Microsoft explains why some touch devices designed for Windows 7 won’t work as great as you would expect them to, with Windows 8. I find this disappointing. There I was, considering to buying myself a Windows 7 tablet (or slate as Microsoft calls it) and install Windows 8 on it.

Android anti-virus software is frequently unreliable - A very revealing analysis published by AV-TEST. I was not expecting so many security products to perform so poorly on Android.

Romanians are Smart or How to Change the Google Autocomplete Suggestions - A great analysis of a campaign that took place in Romania, whose objective was to change what Google autocomplete suggests when making searches about romanians. It’s really awesome!

The Best Tech Tips & Guides

We don’t want to alienate our readers and recommend only articles and guides for Windows 8. That’s why, this month, we decided to recommend guides which talk about anything else but Windows 8. I hope you will enjoy them:

10 Amazing Uses for Wolfram Alpha - I simply loved these tips shared by our friends from How-To Geek. They definitely helped me get more out of this “computational knowledge engine".

2 Cool Sites to Download User Manuals For Gadgets & Electronics - This is a surprisingly useful guide on where to find manuals for all kinds of home electronic appliances. Have you lost the manual for your washing machine, microwave or fridge? Don’t worry, read this article and learn about the best locations where you can find a digital version of almost any manual.

Why must a computer have a BIOS? - A very interesting discussion about the role of the BIOS in a modern computer.

Cinavia DRM: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Blu-ray’s Self-Destruction - Recently, we published a guide on how to copy a disc in Windows. The team from AnandTech takes the discussion further and talks about the latest copy protection technologies included in Blu-Ray discs and how they deteriorate the experience of legitimate customers. They also make a very valid point: " Instead of spending time, money and effort on new DRM measures that get circumvented within a few days of release, the industry would do well to lower the launch price of Blu-rays."

How to Automatically Download Wallpapers From NatGeo, Google Images, Wallbase and More - Are you bored with the wallapers on your desktop? Our friends from Guiding Tech are covering a little app that can freshen up your desktop with images from great sources.

Difference between HTTP and HTTPS - Have you ever wondered about the differences between these two communication protocols used to navigate the Internet? This article explains the most important details you should be aware of.

The Best of 7 Tutorials

Even if you like it or not, Windows 8 has been the most popular topic of the month, even when it comes to our most read articles. The most popular articles we published this month are the following:

Download Windows 8 Consumer Preview Themes for Windows 7 - 7 Tutorials was the first site who thought of creating a Windows 7 theme with all the high-resolution wallpapers included in Windows 8. The theme looks good and if you haven’t downloaded it yet, you should do it today.

Download the Windows 8 Logo & Other Windows 8 Icons - We spent quite a few hours extracting the best looking Metro style icons included in Windows 8. Then, we created a pack that works on any version of Windows. Do you want to make your desktop more Metro-like? Check this icon pack!

Browser Wars: Is Internet Explorer 10 a Relevant Browser? - Our goal was to see if Internet Explorer 10 delivers a better browsing experience when compared to other modern browsers. It turns out it does... and the improvements are very noticeable.

Before you go, we would like to share the most interesting articles we published a year ago and two years ago:

Security on Facebook - How to Have a Safe & Pleasant Experience - Even though this article is 1-year old, the principles and apps shared are valid also today. If you want to make sure you don’t fall for spam, phishing schemes and other kinds of trickery on Facebook, don’t hesitate to read it.

System Information - Find Out All There is to Know About Your Computer Configuration - System Information is a less known Windows tool that offers complete information about your system’s hardware and software configuration.

All You Need to Know About Parental Controls in Windows 7 - This article is an overview of everything we published about using Parental Controls in Windows 7. And you won’t find a more complete collection of tutorials on this subject anywhere on the Internet. We promise!

We hope you’ve enjoyed this month’s roundup. If you would like to share other interesting tutorials and news articles, don’t hesitate to use the comments form below.

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About the Author: Ciprian Adrian Rusen
I love technology and I work in IT for more than a decade. I am the co-founder of Digital Citizen and its chief editor. Alongside my work as an editor, I am also an author. I have written and published 7 books, most of them about Microsoft products and technologies. They are translated into more than 12 languages. In 2014, I have been recognized by Microsoft for my technical expertise and involvement in the community with the title of Microsoft MVP - Windows Consumer Expert.