Disneyland Reopens April 30

The magic from the happiest place on earth will be returning at the end of April. 

Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure Park will re-open with limited capacity beginning April 30. After being closed for over a year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The theme park posted on their website Wednesday, March 17, 2021. 

Both parks will begin by admitting only California residents at first in order to follow all proper state health and safety protocols. California residents wanting to visit either park will need to make a reservation through Disney’s new reservation system. Disney has not released details yet regarding the new reservation system.

Photo Credit: Dineyland.com

The bad news, any attractions that bring large crowds such as their parades and firework shows will remain on hold.

Disneyland hotels will reopen with limited capacity beginning April 29. Disneyland wanted to reopen in July 2020 but had to wait due to a spike in coronavirus cases causing state officials to keep theme parks closed.

All theme parks in California including Disneyland, California Adventure, Knotts Berry Farm, Six Flags, and Universal Studios have been closed since March 2020.

A few theme parks have been allowed to host food events such as Knott’s Berry annual Boysenberry at Knotts Berry Farm and Touch of Disney which opened this past weekend. 

For all the latest information regarding ticket sales, reservations, and experiences available at Disneyland visit their website at Disneyland.com

Written By: Mike Stark | @MikeStarkCA

ViacomCBS Announces New Streaming Service Paramount Plus

As the rebranded version of CBS All Access, Paramount Plus will launch March 4 and is set to feature a massive catalog of movies, television, news, and sports.

At their latest event, ViacomCBS unveiled an expansive slate of both old and new content coming to their reinvented streaming platform. This will include everything from its subsidiary networks and studios, including Paramount, MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, BET, CBS, and the Smithsonian Channel.

Viewers will have access to a vast portion of ViacomCBS properties, consisting of 30,000 episodes, 2,500 movie titles and over 1,000 live sporting events, plus 24/7 news coverage. There will be two pricing tiers: a $9.99 per month premium plan available on March 4 and then a $4.99 per month ad-supported option that launches in June. Over the next four years, ViacomCBS is reportedly spending $5 billion on streaming in hopes of drawing in 65 to 75 million subscribers worldwide.

A Cornucopia of Content: What to Expect

In addition to their existing library of fan-favorites–from Spongebob Squarepants to Hunger Games–Paramount Plus will carry a number of feature films, reboots, and original series based on popular franchises. President and CEO of ViacomCBS, Bob Bakish, stated that Paramount Plus will primarily focus its efforts on children’s programming, scripted dramas, and reality TV. This will carry debuts of over 50 original series over the next two years. Notable mentions include revivals of Criminal Minds and MTV’s The Real World, new shows based on the Avatar: The Last Airbender universe, and movie projects from Workaholics and Beavis and Butt-head. Select Paramount films are also set to premiere exclusively on the platform shortly after their theatrical releases, including A Quiet Place II, Mission Impossible 7, and a Paw Patrol movie.

In addition to the plethora of movies and TV series offered, Paramount Plus will stream live sports with exclusive rights to NCAA, NFL, PGA Tour, and UEFA Champions League games.

You can read more about what’s coming to Paramount Plus on their Twitter thread as well as the ViacomCBS website. With the streaming wars heating up, how do you think Paramount Plus will stack up against the likes of Disney, Netflix, HBO, NBCUniversal, and other major players?

Cover Photo Credit: Variety

Written by: Nathalie Lum, Entertainment News Correspondent

iOS 14.5 Brings New Features and Emojis

iOS 14.5 is set to bring over 200 new emojis in the latest update to iPhones and iPads. We breakdown the latest with the upcoming software release from emojis and other cool features.

If you are a heavy texter like me or enjoy emojis, you are going to love the newest update from Apple with iOS 14.5. Emojipedia is reporting that Apple added 217 new emoji characters to their upcoming iOS 14.5 beta release.

A majority of the new emoji represent a more diverse range of couples with various skin tones, allowing users to more relatable characters that represent them. Including the new emoji “Person: Beard.” iOS 14.5 is the first operating system from Apple to have the option to specify a woman or man with a beard.

Photo Credit: Screenshot of person with beard emoji from emojipedia.org

The various couples are not the only exciting changes; there is even with emoji connecting with the COVID-19 pandemic; more on that later.

New Smileys

We are getting three new smiley faces, including Exhaling Face, Face with Spiral Eyes, and Face in the Clouds. I can tell you that I relate the most to face with spiral eyes, especially during some zoom classes.

Photo Credit: Screenshot of new faces emoji from emojipedia.org

New Hearts

In addition to the new smiley faces, we are getting two new heart emojis. A heart on fire and a healing heart. These two are perfect for that new relationship or moving on from a previous one. These two are a great addition along with the broken heart, nice to have some variety instead of using the same full heart and a broken heart.

Photo Credit: Screenshot of heart on fire and healing heart from emojipedia.org

Updated Syringe

These are a few of the exciting changes coming in the new iOS 14.5, so what are the other updated emojis? The syringe emoji is getting an update with the blood being removed and updated to look like a vaccine emoji, which is more relevant today because of COVID.

Photo Credit: Before and After Syringe emoji from emojipedia.org

Updated Over-Ear Headphones

After having the original black over-ear headphones for so many years, we are saying goodbye and getting a new look. The new emoji is representing the new AirPod Max from apple. The new over-ear emoji isn’t the first that represent apple products.

Photo Credit: Screenshot of over-ear phone from emojipedia.org

Currently, we have the Desktop Computer representing the iMac, Laptop representing one of the Macbook models, Mobile phone representing iPhone, and then watch representing Apple Watch.

iOS 14.5 not only brings cool emojis but some relief when it comes to unlocking your iPhone with a mask on your face.

Suppose you have an Apple Watch, an option to enable a feature that allows you to use Face ID with a mask on to unlock your iPhone. Your watch must be nearby and on, and if you have a mask on, the watch will automatically unlock your phone.

Control the Default Music Player

The feature I am excited about the most for the update. Apple Music will not have to be your default music player any longer. 

If you were to ask Siri to play a song by one of your favorite artists, they will open up Apple Music or search your music library to find that song. If you don’t have the song in your library or an apple music subscription, it will not play.

Photo Credit: Screenshot of Siri prompting default music player choice.

In the new iOS 14.5 update, you can select which music player will be your default for Siri. For example, for Spotify users, you can set Spotify as your default music player, so when you say “Hey Siri, play driver’s license by Oliva Rodrigo,” Siri will open Spotify and start streaming. News about the default music player change came from Reddit users using 14.5 beta versions and then MacRumors reporting the information.

Privacy Changes

iOS 14.5 includes privacy changes that require apps to seek user permission before having access to their data and activity, including tracking. The privacy change is an add-on feature from the original release in iOS 14.3. The original feature allows you to see what data apps are collecting before you download the app.

Photo Credit: Screenshot of Apple Privacy Slide from iOS 14 announcement on apple.com

Siri Updates

Siri is getting a cool new feature. The popular digital assistant will have the ability to call 911 for you. Here’s how it works. You say, “Hey Siri, call emergency.” You will then see a countdown of three seconds, giving you the option to cancel the command before the call connects.

iOS 14.5 Device Capability

The new iOS 14.5 will be available on devices running iOS 14. Includes iPhone 6S through the iPhone 12 Pro Max, iPhone SE, and iPod Touch seventh generation. Here is a list of all devices compatible.

Downloading iOS 14.5

iOS 14.5 will be available for download later this spring. Get your phone prepped, ensuring you are running the most recent software. Go to Settings> Tap General> Software Update. You will know within a few moments if you are running the most recent software.

What feature are you most excited to use? Let me know by hitting me up on socials at @MikeStarkCA on Twitter and Instagram.

Written by: Mike Stark | @MikeStarkCA

Cover Photo: Screenshot of Emoji Demo from Brandon Butch on YouTube

Remembering Coach Marty Schottenheimer

NFL head coaching legend Marty Schottenheimer passed away Monday, February 8, 2021, in North Carolina at the age of 77.

Schottenheimer is best known for his winning record as a head coach for the Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs, Washington Redskins, and San Diego Chargers.

It was announced via tweet by Chris Mortensen that Schottenheimer had passed away with his family by his side. In 2014 Schottenheimer was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease which he continued to battle for the next seven years.

Photo Credit: Screenshot of tweet from @mortreport announcing Marty Shottenheimer passing.

Born in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania September 23, 1943, Schottenheimer grew up playing football and was drafted in the seventh round by the Buffalo Bills in the 1965 AFL draft. Schottenheimer played linebacker for the Buffalo Bills and Boston Patriots, he played five years in the league and retired at just 27 years old.

After his playing career Schottenheimer began his coaching career as a linebackers coach for the New York Giants in 1975 but was promoted to defensive coordinator in just two years. After just three years with the Giants Schottenheimer became the new linebackers coach for the Detroit Lions. After two years with the Lions, he was hired as the defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns.

Schottenheimer spent four years as the Browns defensive coordinator in 1984 the Browns decided to fire their head coach and promote Schottenheimer mid-season, the Browns would miss the playoffs in 1984 but ended with a winning record. As head coach for the Browns Schottenheimer had an impressive 44-27 record. Schottenheimer turned the team around and made the playoffs all four times as the year-long head coach for the team.

On January 24, 1989, was hired to be the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs. In just his first year the Chiefs had a winning record but missed the playoffs for just the first time as the season-long head coach. After making the playoffs in 1990, 1991, and 1992 the Chiefs traded for Hall of Famer Joe Montana. Schottenheimer continued to win and make the playoffs, in 1994 Schottenheimer and Montana led an overtime comeback against the Pittsburgh Steelers. In 10 seasons with the Chiefs Schottenheimer only missed the playoffs four times and finished with an overall record of 101-58-1.

Photo Credit: Screenshot of Marty Schottenheimer and Joe Montana from KC Star File Photo

Although he still hadn’t made it to the big game Schottenheimer proved he was a winner and was known for bringing his winning mindset to the field. After the 1998 season Schottenheimer retired to join ESPN as an analyst but couldn’t sit in the booth for too long. Schottenheimer was hired as the head coach for the Redskins, with the Redskins Schottenheimer became the first coach to win five games straight after losing their first five games. The Redskins narrowly missed the playoffs and Schottenheimer was fired after an 8-8 season but wasn’t done coaching in the NFL.

Schottenheimer was known for a style of football coined “Marty Ball” which he brought to each team he coached. Schottenheimer then landed in sunny San Diego, but success didn’t come right away. In his first two seasons, Schottenheimer missed the playoffs, in 2004 the Chargers led by Schottenheimer and Drew Brees made the playoffs but would eventually lose to the New York Jets in the AFC Wild Card game. Schottenheimer would make the playoffs again in 2006, this time with Phillip Rivers at the QB position. Schottenheimer and the Chargers battled against Tom Brady and the Patriots in the divisional round but eventually fell in a close three-point game in San Diego. After the loss to the Patriots Schottenheimer would be fired by owner Dean Spanos but finished with a 47-33 record as a coach of the Chargers.

Photo Credit: Screenshot of Marty Schottenheimer fired up at charger game from NFL Photo Library

Schottenheimer retired as one of the best coaches ever and is eighth all-time in wins, he coached all-time greats like Drew Brees, Phillip Rivers, Joe Montana, Marcus Allen, and Ladainian Tomilson etc. Schottenheimer was a winner, he loved the game of football, and brought the intensity to each team that he coached.

Many of his former players expressed their regards for Schottenheimer like Drew Brees who said, “The lessons and wisdom of Marty Schottenheimer will forever ring in my ears.”

The Cleveland Browns released a tribute video on Twitter titled: “There’s a gleam, men. There’s a gleam.”

Marty Schottenheimer will be known as a husband, father, and football legend. Although he struggled in the playoffs Schottenheimer emphasized “Marty Ball” a philosophy still used today and is recognized as one of the best football coaches of all-time.

Written by: Carson Cook | @carsoncook.talks

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Cover Photo: Marty Schottenheimer Title Card by the National Football League (NFL)