Monday tech roundupLast week the Ashley Madison saga continued to evolve and we learnt that bad encryption led to the super-fast decryption of many of the user passwords and amongst the top three most used passwords there are the usual suspects: ‘123456,’ ‘12345’ and ‘password.’ Also last week we learnt that Ukraine can’t get enough of Windows XP, Office 2016 is just around the corner and will be released in just a few weeks and the new iPhone installment plan is set to break the current carriers market lock.

Windows XP just won’t go away

Microsoft has been trying desperately to ween people off Windows XP, but in Eastern Europe many users are refusing to budge. In Ukraine, 41.2% of PCs are still on XP, despite the fact that Microsoft stopped supporting the OS 18 months ago.

For many, XP still works just fine and its compatibility with older bits of software and outdated peripherals makes it a strong economic choice. The key driver to update – the fact that there are no more patches and fixes – isn’t much of a bother to a substantial percentage of users. After so many years in the market, and hundreds of patches, the OS is relatively secure. We just aren’t hearing about an avalanche of attacks against XP (yet). Still, an operating system that isn’t updated with patches is by definition less safe than one that is.

While Ukraine takes the nostalgia award the most XP users, Hungary comes in a close second with 37.5%. Looking at the other side of the spectrum we see that the Czech Republic is the most positively modern, with only 4.7% of users still on Windows XP.

Office 2016 to arrive in 2015?

Microsoft tends to play fast and loose with its product names, so it is no real surprise that Office 2016 will actually ship on Oct. 1 of this year (yes we’re still in 2015). Not to mention that Office 2016 for Mac shipped last July.

So what’s so hot about Office 2016? OneDrive has a spiffed up file sharing set of functions, Excel gains even more business intelligence features and Word users will be able to coauthor in real-time.

Office 2016 also comes equipped with some nifty security features. Data leakage, for example, is prevented by detecting when an email may have confidential data or credit card numbers. And the best thing about it is that it’s a year early!

New iPhone installment plans to break wireless carriers market lock

Wireless carriers may lose their ironclad grip on customers thanks to a new iPhone installment plan available directly from Apple. Under the plan, similar to new plans from major wireless company Verizon, a user can buy the phone and pay if off in 24 monthly installments. At the same time, a user is free to pick whatever carrier they please.

Many smartphone users stick with one carrier because the contracts are hard to get out of without losing a substantial amount of money and this in turn creates lock-in. However, with the new plans, Apple will give more flexibility to the end user.

The monthly charge starts from (US) $32.41 for an iPhone 6S with 16GB of storage to (US) $44.91 for the iPhone 6S with 128GB. With these kind of instalments Apple might be looking to make it even more tempting for customers to upgrade to a new phone every 1 to 2 years.

Tesla genius wants to bomb Mars

Elon Musk is a certified 100% genius. The Tesla founder is full of innovative ideas and his latest brainstorm is to make Mars habitable for humankind by increasing the temperature to a range we can tolerate. The solution, according to Musk is to use thermo nuclear devices – just drop a few of these babies over the poles and the temperature will be nice and toasty. Catch his interview with Stephen Colbert below:

Musk knows a thing or two about space. After all, his SpaceX company has been successfully launching rockets into space for years. Now he believes that a warmer Mars can be transformed to be more Earth like and also sustain life, although he did later make it clear he doesn’t want to nuke the Red Planet.

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