We live in a miraculous age, thanks largely to technology. Consider these examples from today's news.
Physicists at the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, Switzerland, are on the verge of uncovering the elusive Higgs Boson, aka the God Particle -- the thing that gives objects mass (even moreso around the holidays).
[ Want to cash in on your IT experiences? InfoWorld is looking for stories of an amazing or amusing IT adventure, lesson learned, or tales from the trenches. Send your story to firstname.lastname@example.org. If we publish it, we'll keep you anonymous and send you a $50 American Express gift cheque. ]
Researchers in Stuttgart, Germany, have created a working "steam" engine only a few micrometers thick -- or roughly one-tenth the thickness of a human hair. However, they say it sputters a bit, thanks to the vagaries of quantum effects. I know the feeling.
Amateur astronomers have discovered a mysterious cylindrical shape orbiting Mercury -- clearly signs of a cloaked alien spacecraft -- and even captured a video of it as it was exposed by a solar flare. (NASA scientists claim the shape is merely an artifact of how these images were recorded, but we know better.)
Still, all of these things pale in comparison to a revelation I recently experienced: Microsoft may have made a phone I actually like.
I'll give you a moment to compose yourselves before I go on.
Yes, it's true. For the last two weeks, I've been been playing around with an HTC Radar 4G running "Mango" (aka Windows Phone 7.5), and I have to say that -- despite every molecule of my being screaming in protest -- I am favorably impressed.
Hardware-wise, the Radar is lightning fast and feathery in the hand; by comparison, the iPhone 4 feels bricklike and unresponsive. (The Apple fanboy whine festival will begin in three, two... ) It runs for a few days on a charge, unlike my last Android phone, which ran for a few hours.
As for the software, the Metro interface is exceedingly nimble and easily customized; I love how it shows me how many new emails, calls, and messages I've gotten at a glance. I like how my calendar is on the home page and it shows me my next appointment automatically. I like how I can flip through the status updates and tweets from my peeps without having to load a separate, often buggy, application.
Yes, there are even apps, a few hundred thousand less than the Android Market or iTunes Store, but still. I got Netflix, Yelp, Angry Birds, and Foursquare, but sadly, no Pandora Radio. There are even flatulence and breast apps, saints be praised.