Photos by Andrew Mrozowski / Arts & Culture Editor

Hamilton’s apple season kicked off this past weekend with Apple Fest Weekend, as part of Food Literacy Month. Orchards are officially open, and there’s no better time to go out and pick some apples. I have a habit of picking way more apples than any one human can possibly eat. To make use of all them, I pull out a classic apple crisp recipe to bake and share with friends. Although honeycrisp apples were used for this recipe, you can use any baking apple

There’s no better way to enjoy fall than with some freshly baked apple crisp and a nice cup of tea while bundled up in a scarf. This recipe pairs best with orange pekoe or chai drinks. 

This recipe is a modified version of Apple Crisp II by Diane Kester.

 

The Ingredients

For the apples:

10 cups all-purpose apples, peeled, cored and sliced

3/4 cup white sugar

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ cup water

 

For the topping:

2 cups quick-cooking oats

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups packed brown sugar

½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

1 cup butter, melted

 

Caramel drizzle (optional):

1 cup butter

1 cup light brown sugar

The Preparation

When you’re peeling the apples, it helps to peel them over a sheet of newspaper (just as long as it’s not a copy of the Silhouette). When you’re tidying up,wrap them up in the newspaper and put them directly into the compost bin. This saves a lot of time cleaning up the counter. The prep takes about 30 minutes, but by far the most difficult part is waiting for the apple crisp to finish baking.

Note: If you find it’s too sweet, you can cut the white sugar down to half a cup. 

The Baking

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit (175 degrees celsius). 
  2. Place the sliced apples in a 9 x 13 inch pan. Mix the white sugar, 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour, ground cinnamon and nutmeg together. Sprinkle the mixture over the apples. Pour water evenly over all incorporated ingredients
  3. Combine the oats, 1 cup of all-purpose flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and melted butter together. Crumble evenly over the apple mixture.
  4. Put in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes.
  5. Do your best not to burn your tongue when you immediately start eating it. 

The Finishing Touch

  1. In a saucepan, combine butter and light brown sugar. Bring to a boil for 3 minutes. Pour immediately over the apple crisp. Enjoy!

If you aren’t in the mood for orange pekoe or chai tea, this crisp is also great with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Share it with friends, or eat the whole thing yourself. I won’t judge you. Make sure to tag The Silhouette if you make this recipe at home!

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Every aspect of our world is designed in one way or another. From the appliances in our kitchens to the clothes on our backs, every switch and button has been meticulously considered and executed. Design — whether it be in buildings, laptops or can openers — weave through the fabric of our lives.

But things have changed. Today, we live in a throwaway society. We create and consume in abundance, forgoing detail for convenience. The mass production of virtually every product we use has fuelled a capitalist society that cares little for how things are made, only for how much revenue they garner. We gravitate towards products that give us more. The bigger, the better. The more functions, the better. The more we can afford to buy, the better. Gone are the days where good design, rather than cheap design, took centre stage in blueprints and on drawing boards.

In the world of design, there are few who have created as lasting an impact as Dieter Rams. Widely considered as one of the most influential designers of all time, and one of my personal idols, Rams is a visionary like no other. Nearly every product design created by him continues to be considered a classic today. In a society that is in a perpetual state of flux as a result of cultural and technological developments, that’s staying power.

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From an early age, Rams was strongly influenced by his grandfather’s role as a carpenter. After training as an architect in Germany in the early 1950s, Rams was recruited by the German electrical products company, Braun, in 1955. Follow the death of Erwin and Artur Braun’s father, Rams was tasked with modernizing the interiors of a company that continued to launch revolutionary products for households across the globe.

Soon, Rams became a star student of the Ulm School of Design and quickly became involved in product design at Braun. Due to his incomparable talent and eye for innovation, he was appointed as the head of design of Braun from 1961 to 1995. Along with the rest of his design team, Dieter Rams became the man responsible for many of the greatest domestic electrical products of the twentieth century.

Braun asserted itself as a leading consumer products company under the expert guidance of Rams. However, in the late 1970s, the designer became increasingly perturbed by the state of the world around him. He began to see his surroundings as “an impenetrable confusion of forms, colours and noises.” Conscious that he was a prominent contributor to that world, he asked himself: is my design good design? He did not want to thoughtlessly feed into a world that was turning design into nothing more than dollar signs. To him, that was dishonest and irresponsible.

Rams wanted to advocate for a purist, almost imperceptible design; products that fit seamlessly into the lives of those who use it. As such, he came up with ten principles for good design. Often referred to as the “ten commandments of good design,” these principles remain as timeless fundaments of design theory and practice today: Good design is innovative. Good design makes a product useful. Good design is aesthetic. Good design makes a product understandable. Good design is unobtrusive. Good design is honest. Good design is durable. Good design is consistent to the last detail. Good design is environmentally friendly. Good design is as little design as possible.

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If you have used one of Rams’ products, you would have likely been able to check off the boxes beside each of the aforementioned principles. Each and every one of his creations are aesthetically pleasing, user-friendly and exceptionally practical. They are beautiful without being fashionable, and therefore never appear antiquated. There is no use of big buttons or bold colours or abstract lines; nothing detracts from the product’s function, which is clear and self-explanatory. The inherent simplicity of the design makes the product smart as it is able to express its function by making use of the user’s intuition. Perhaps one of the most important principles of the ten is the one that considers the preservation of the environment. Rams made it his primary goal to offer products to consumers that conserved resources and minimized physical and visual pollution throughout the lifecycle of the product. All ten principles boil down to one thing: less but better. Simplicity allows for products to be elegant, supremely versatile and free of the burden of non-essentials.

Although the current reality is that most companies do not consider good design when pushing out products to the public, there are some that do. Apple is a prime example. Both Steve Jobs, the late Apple co-founder, and Jony Ive, the company’s Senior Vice President of Industrial Design, were outspoken admirers of Rams’ work. If you compare some of Rams’ creations with Apple’s products, the similarities are astounding. It is fascinating to see the parallel between Braun’s speaker and Apple’s iMac. Thankfully, many newer start-ups and up-and-coming companies are now returning to the seeds that Rams had sowed. Unlike big, corporate giants, these new businesses recognize a gap in the market for carefully considered and expertly crafted products that reduce everything to the basics. Some examples that come to mind include Cereal Magazine, a store in Los Angeles called Formerly Yes and Vitsoe, a shelving company that Rams himself designed for. For these owners, Rams’ tenth principle — less but better — is their motto, and simplicity is their aim. They’ve adopted a new kind of social responsibility: to reduce products to their simplest form, thereby providing consumers with the best product possible.

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Dieter Rams’ design ethos extends far beyond design — it is a philosophy that also applies to life. With so many new products being offered to us, it has become almost second nature to want more and to buy more. Abundance has become a sign of wealth; new versions of appliances, phones and clothes are readily available at a moment’s notice. We feed into this mindless cycle of producing more, buying more and, as a result, throwing away more. This produces both environmental noise and visual noise, exerting very real and tangible effects on our lives. Rarely does anything in our lives remain permanent anymore.

Consumers have been programmed to jump at the sight of a sale sign, and to scope out deals in order to buy as much as they can. It is therefore unsurprising to me that friends of mine would widen their eyes or even chastise me when I purchase an item of clothing that is more than what they would consider as “a steal.” Buying less clothes but buying better clothes is a way in which I’ve adopted Rams’ principles into my life. Instead of spending a certain amount of money on many articles of clothing, consider spending the same amount (or perhaps saving even more) to invest in one high-quality piece. This will not only ensure that you will love whatever it is you buy, it will also lead to less clutter in your closet and save you time in the mornings when getting ready, reducing the burden of choice.

Buying less and buying better should extend into every part of our lives as consumers. The next time you buy a top, cooking knives or perhaps even a couch, remember Dieter Rams’ ten principles. Good design should be so simple, fluid and considered that they almost camouflage into your surroundings. They should make you feel a deep, lasting satisfaction at the mere thought of owning them. It is not only our responsibility to ourselves, but also our responsibility to society to refrain from perpetuating a harmful consumer mindset that focuses on abundance. In truth, simplicity is something we should adopt into every facet of our busy lives. Less is more, and less is always better.

Photo Credit: Abisag Tüllman

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Aaron Sorkin must have salivated when he was asked to write the Steve Jobs biopic, but the result will leave those who pay to see it with a dry taste in their mouths.

Following the heels of The Social Network, Sorkin was on top of the world and he tries to replicate the same magic with Danny Boyle (127 Hours, Trainspotting) directing instead of David Fincher. Much of the equation remains the same in Steve Jobs: the focus is still an ornery male “genius” who manages to alienate those around him, but the great man-history building feels stale this time around.

Renowned as the prodigal son that returned to helm Apple during the glory years when the company churned out the iMac, iPod, Macbook, iPhone and iPad, Jobs’ penchant for success seems unrivalled, but so was his capacity for hurting people to get what he wanted.

All this and more was already known to those who read Walter Issacson’s biography of the late Jobs, but here we find it overwrought in typical Sorkin manner. If it weren’t for Michael Fassbender’s intense display as the titular character and Kate Winslet’s captivating transformation into Joanna Hoffman, the film would have little to be proud of.

Famed for his work on shows like The West Wing and The Newsroom, Sorkin has a penchant for tightly wound characters and dialogue that leave actors and audience alike very little time to breathe. Such verbal acrobatics are seen here, but they are incredibly dizzying within the confines of a two-hour movie. Whether it was Sorkin’s intent for such quick-fire interactions to emulate what it was to work with Jobs, I don’t know, but something tells me it’s just Sorkin deriving pleasure from cringe-worthy one-liners from the film, like: “Musicians play their instruments. I play the orchestra,” and “If a fire causes a stampede to the unmarked exits, it’ll have been well worth it for those who survive.”

The claustrophobic effect is emphasized by how the movie is divided into three acts, all taking place in the forty minute-span before Jobs is to introduce a new product, and all involving the same rotating cast of characters: his daughter Lisa, her mother Chrisann, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, right-hand woman Joanna Hoffman, Apple developer Andy Hertzfeld and former Apple CEO John Sculley. The focus on the film is not so much on the products — Boyle and Sorkin are content to cut immediately and flash ahead whenever Jobs actually sets foot on stage. Instead of the products, the focus remains on Jobs and the conflicts that exist between him and his close acquaintances, and this tension is manipulated to the fullest. Too often, like when the camera flashes back and forth from Jobs to John Sculley (played by Sorkin favourite, Jeff Daniels) prior to the launch of the NeXT computer, this manipulation can prove to be too heavy-handed and leaves the viewer feeling as if they’re having their arm twisted.

The attitude that films like Steve Jobs and The Social Network propagate is that “changing the world” is more important than having the basic decency to value the lives of those around you. While the events in the film are heavily fictionalized, events like Jobs purporting that 28 percent of the American male population could have fathered his daughter Lisa with his girlfriend at the time, Chrisann Brennan, are true and pretty damning on their own. The fact that events like Jobs denying paternity and refusing to offer any monetary support are tempered by Sorkin one-liners rub further salt to the already gaping wound.

The only positive I can point to in Sorkin’s treatment of women is the fact that they are actually given screen time for once. Jobs’ head of marketing Joanna Hoffman (Winslet), mockingly referred to as his “work-wife,” is always on hand to berate Jobs to “make things right with Lisa,” but that just renders Jobs’ eventual attempt at reconciliation all the more laughable. That a man so endowed with the drive to succeed couldn’t bring himself to repair the bridges he had personally razed to the ground speaks to his character. While Hoffman admirably stands up to him throughout the film, she is only condescendingly asked to use a vague Eastern European wisdom to help fix Jobs’ relationship with Lisa.

The only moment where Boyle gets a chance to capture a genuine moment is in the final scene between Jobs and Lisa. But even then, the script falls flat in an attempt to wrap things together too neatly. Instead of letting the rawness of the scene carry it, Sorkin sneaks in a premature reference to the iPod that brings everything crashing back down to Earth. Then comes an embrace scored by The Maccabees’ “Grew Up At Midnight,” the type of indie-rock song that weaker films drift to when they want to evoke the sort of emotion that their own work lacks. In the end, the catharthis that the film peddles is shallow.

Save your money and try to “think different”-ly than Jobs. Don’t be an asshole.

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By: Kaitlynn Jong

Dear Apple,

I’ve been your loyal customer for almost five years now. It’s been a long and winding journey for our love-hate relationship, but through it all I remain dazzled by your sleek coolness. So when I heard that you released your new operating system iOS 8, I felt like a kid on Christmas morning.

Twas bright and early when I updated my phone, because I needed to see what the hype was about. As per usual I was subject to hours of torture – it’s like our annual big fight that you always win. I blame this stress in large part on the fact that I have the lowest iPhone on the totem pole now, the 4S. Maybe this is the price I must pay for you to keep loving me.

The best thing about iOS 8 was obviously the experience of downloading it. Two hours into my hundred-foot journey to update my phone, I was prompted to restore my phone because the update had completely erased everything on it. After four hours of blood, sweat and tears I had final achieved the sadly disappointing update, which continues to make my phone slower than SOLAR on registration day. Though this is definitely not the first or last issue I’ve had with you, I still continuously invest in you like the devoted customer I am.

Before I get too riled up though, I should commend you for everything you give me. iOS 8 has many new features that (are supposed to) make using an iPhone even easier than before. It includes features like being able to respond to a text notification quickly without exiting the application you are currently in—I hate it when mom interrupts a game of Candy Crush. With this new update, I can also send audio files to friends through iMessage, because society has decided that texting is too much work.

As per tradition, iOS 8 also tries to take out another company that you wouldn’t consider to be Apple’s competition. That’s right; Siri has set her sights on Shazam. And perhaps most importantly, you can now take selfies on a timer. Of course there are many more features, but all pale in comparison to the 10 seconds you can now take to compose your duck face.

All this doesn’t matter anymore though as I’m now struggling with the choice of a 16gb or a 64gb iPhone 6 because you decided to cut the only reasonable storage amount, the 32gb. Apple, why do you continuously hurt the people that love you so much?

With love (laced in hate),

 

 

Your loyal groupie

By: Sal Sbrega

“We are just trying to get our music to as many people as possible” said Bono, lead singer of the hit rock band U2, in a Time Magazine interview. He was speaking of the deal the band made to release their new album “Songs of Innocence” for a free download on iTunes.

What Bono fails to mention is the $100 million payout they received as compensation from Apple, and the backlash that iTunes is receiving. Was this a bad idea on Apple’s part?

If you care about this music lover’s opinion: absolutely. For starters, not everyone likes U2 and maybe they do not want their music on their phone. If there is anything, iTunes should be aware of is how seriously people take their music libraries. Furthermore, there is also the fact that your album is downloaded without your consent and without a warning.

Could that not be viewed as an invasion of privacy? A Selena Gomez mega-fan living in Toronto seemed to think it was such an invasion of privacy that she contacted the Toronto Police. Of course, it did not escalate any further once they explained that it was not a police matter.

Aside from that, many people who were given the unwanted U2 album did not know how to remove it from their music libraries. Apple responded by creating a support website and an app that will help the user remove it. It would seem that Apple got the short end of the stick, what with having to respond to the immense backlash from the public, and having paid around $100 million in exchange.

After learning all of the details around Apple’s misfortune, I’m wondering why they chose to do it in the first place. Why did U2’s album deserve more support from Apple than any other album in its music store?

I don’t think it was an act of ignorance, as I am sure Apple took polls to figure out if U2 still held some popularity. I think it was an act of arrogance. I imagine that Apple executives were thinking something along these lines: “who doesn’t like free music?” or maybe even “yes! U2 is a great band and are definitely still as popular as they once were,” and of course, “anyone who uses iTunes will be so grateful!”

Clearly, they were wrong. On the other end, it is clear to me why U2 wanted the deal. It was a wise financial decision and they’ve made way more in this deal than they would had they released it conventionally.

Sharon Osbourne seemed particularly angry with the band and wasn’t afraid to say so on Twitter.
“U2, you are business moguls not musicians anymore,” she said. “No wonder you have to give your mediocre music away for free ‘cause no one wants to buy it.” A little harsh? Maybe.

I think she’s right. Thanks to this deal, they’ve gone from musicians to businessmen who profited from their established reputation.

But this isn’t about U2’s arrogance, which was obvious to anyone who heard of the deal. It was Apple’s lack of foresight and evidently bad decision that is the most baffling.  Now, they have to pay the price for their mistake. Although, I doubt Apple has anything to worry about with their new iPhone 6 coming out.

Rachael Ramos

The Silhouette

 

With the recent press conference of Apple’s newly developed products, the long-awaited
iPhone 5 was supposed to be the show stealer. Instead, new CEO Tim Cook introduced the iPhone 4S …Really?

It seems all the rumors, the past year and a half of the iPhone 5 were just that - rumours. This disappointed a huge portion of Apple fans.

But with the disappointingly similar iPhone being released, with hardly more than a change being an S at the end of its name, Apple provided its audience with the introduction of its new super apps to be released with the new iPhone.

The newly introduced apps include iMessenger, which is like a BBM for iPhones, iCloud, a cloud service that stores your files, music and photos and Siri, which allows verbal commands to your phone to help you send messages, makes calls and set reminders.

With the reaction to the disappointment of the introduction of the iPhone 4S, do the new apps make up for the lack of the less advanced iPhone? According to The Associated Press 1 Million iPhones have been pre-ordered.

Apparently Apple’s new 4S breaks records set by its previous model. However it’s hard to determine whether consumer demand is stronger for the new device than it was for previous versions as these numbers were also a production of preorder sales on the first day of release, which was not a worldwide offer.

There is an abundance of mixed feelings from the consumers about the new iPhone.

“I already have the iPhone 4, and there isn’t much difference. So I won’t be purchasing the 4S,” says McMaster student Sarah Mann. "I can just purchase the apps separately."

This questions Apple's integrity of being the most revolutionary in technology. Have they run out of creative ideas on the design of the iPhone? Is this it?

Obviously all they have at the moment is the 4S; the world is just going to have to wait, in suspense, to see what Apple has to offer in the future years to come.

Although there seems to be interest for the 4S around the world, the iPhone 5 was supposed to be the next big announcement from Apple.  Consumers were less than impressed when the unveiling of the new iPhone was simply the reconstruction of the iPhone 4; critics and fans were expecting an “earth-shattering” event much as the previous Apple unveilings. All they really wanted was the revolutionary new design, which would have been the iPhone 5.

“Apple’s new smartphone is called iPhone 4S, and it looks exactly like an iPhone 4," noted technology site Techcrunch.

Is Apple behind in their technology? It seems androids are already way ahead of the game while Apple is taking a slower pace.

According to The Huffington Post the Android smartphone has gobbled up market share and overtook the iPhone as the most popular smartphone operating system in the U.S, boosting 42 percent of the market to Apple’s 27 percent.

Regardless of the disappointing unveiling Apple still rose above it with remarkable success.

Will able be able to maintain its success in the years to come? Will it fall behind in technology and market success?

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