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Shirley Jones and the Temple of Doom

April 17, 2013

Accountants can finally take a breather from a stressful tax season, and now’s a great time to check out some new technology for the office and a place they probably haven’t been seeing a lot of lately—home.

Pepcom hosted its annual technology preview, Digital Focus, for the press in New York last week. Vendors such as Lenovo showed off their latest mobile gadgets, including the ThinkPad Helix, a Windows 8 laptop that converts into a tablet when you snap off the monitor from the back of the keyboard via what Lenovo calls a “rip and flip” design. The screen looked great, but the only problem was figuring out exactly how to rip and flip it without breaking anything.

BlackBerry, formerly known as Research In Motion, displayed its BlackBerry Q10 and Z10 models. The Q10 comes with the familiar thumb-typing keyboard so favored by BlackBerry fans, while the Z10 is the company’s first totally touch-screen device. The products represent BlackBerry’s hope that new leadership and a new operating system will help reinvigorate it to meet the formidable competition it faces from Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android devices.

Shirley Jones

Nokia also showed off its latest Windows Phone 8 phones in its Lumia line. The company has switched over from its older Symbian platform and has decided to join forces with its old rival Microsoft.

Samsung Mobile was there to demonstrate its latest Galaxy tablets and smart phones. The Galaxy Tab 2 comes with Polaris Office, an Android-based set of software that allows accountants to create and edit Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, along with Word documents and PowerPoint presentations.

Also on hand were a number of consumer product makers, like TiVo, which recently introduced the TiVo Mini, a companion device to the company’s latest digital video recorder, the TiVo Premiere 4, allowing TiVo users to stream TV content from the DVR to other rooms in their home. TiVo also showed off the TiVo Stream, another companion device for streaming content to other parts of the home or outside the home.

TV was a big part of last Thursday’s Digital Experience show. The theme was “Moms, Dads & Grads,” but really it was all about TV sitcom nostalgia from the 1960s and 1970s. Pictures and clips from shows like “Happy Days,” “The Brady Bunch,” "Leave It to Beaver," "Bewitched" and “The Andy Griffith Show” were everywhere, along with comfort foods like meat loaf, mashed potatoes and lasagna.

The special guest was Shirley Jones, the singer and actress who starred as the mom in charge of “The Partridge Family.” As a fan since early childhood of the Partridges, it was a huge treat to see her in person. The 40 years or so since the series ran don’t seem to have aged her at all. She looked much the same as in her Partridge days and was as gracious to the attendees as anyone could imagine. One of my friends also reminded me that Jones starred in a great many movie musicals before her TV series, including the film versions of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!” and “Carousel” and Meredith Wilson’s “The Music Man.” That was appropriate given the setting, in Manhattan’s Hammerstein Ballroom. The venerable building was originally built by Oscar Hammerstein, the lyricist's father, as the Manhattan Opera House and its grand scale reminds one of "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom."

I asked Shirley Jones (no relation to Harrison Ford's character) if she is still in contact with her Partridge family castmates. Naturally she’s still in touch with her stepson David Cassidy, and she also hears from Danny Bonaduce. Whether or not a reunion is going to happen anytime soon, though, is unknown. They're definitely overdue for another ride aboard the Partridge Family's psychedelic-painted bus, naturally with Shirley at the wheel (though we suspect all the kids must have driver's licenses by now).

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