The people who use our boards.

256 interviews since 2018

Chris Apple

Lead Audio Software Engineer

Who are you, and what do you do? What do you like to do outside of work?

My name is Chris, and I’m an audio software engineer. In my life away from the computer, I’m also a rock climber, pianist, and cat dad. In college, I was trained as a manufacturing engineer but, throughout my time at school, I got into electronic music and DJing. Coming out of school, I had an offer to be a manufacturing engineer at Tesla or a QA automation intern at Dolby Labs. I took the chance to be close to audio, and it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.

I’ve spent the last eight years specializing in immersive audio at Dolby and Roblox, and now I work at Spatial Inc., primarily in C++. My day-to-day includes optimizing audio buffer classes, stressing about locks and allocations in the real-time thread, and, most importantly, listening to fun soundscapes (if you’re trying to get into audio software, I always recommend this talk!). I also am one of the lead maintainers on forgit, an open source git utility tool.

One of my projects outside of work is training my fluffy old cat, Florence, to do tricks. She can now do “come,” “up,” “high five,” and “over” (jumping through my arms). Don’t believe you can teach an old cat new tricks? Check it out!

Chris Apple's home setup from the left, up close
Chris keeps his home setup simple, at least on the hardware front

What hardware do you use?

My setup is fairly simple, but it gets the job done! The crown jewel is of course my ErgoDox EZ. This is the first mechanical keyboard I’ve owned, and I love tweaking my layout. At my work, I have a Kinesis Freestyle Blue (which I eventually want to replace with another ErgoDox, but I’ll probably have to re-evaluate the Cherry Blue keycaps, lest my coworkers murder me).

Chris Apple's work setup from above, up close
Chris's work setup is very similar to his home setup

In terms of a monitor, I have the LG 27GL850 27”. That, paired with my Rain Design Mac laptop stand, provides me two monitors to split my work on. I also have a Magic Trackpad, as I love all the gestures OSX provides to swipe back and forth between screens.

I have a Steelcase Gesture chair, and a desk that my wife and I found on the street the very week our old desk broke. What are the odds?

Chris Apple and his wife, Kate
The best spouses will help you street-score good furniture and also go hiking with you in Slovenia

I also have a Raspberry Pi that serves as a simple utility server to run cron jobs. I have written a few budget maintenance jobs in Python and Rust that do things like updating me biweekly on how much money I’ve spent eating out, or charging friends through Venmo when I split a bill.

As an audio guy, I have a bunch of headphones that I use depending on what I’m listening to. My SE535 in-ears are probably my most used—awesome sound and great noise blocking for the office. My Shure SRH1540s get a lot of play, especially when I’m playing piano, and my Philips Fidelio X2s are for when I’m alone and can stand the open back.

And what software?

I am a big command line guy, so, for my day-to-day writing code, I use a ton of nvim, tmux, fish shell, and iTerm2. I post all my configs on my github, and love sharing tricks and tips with fellow nerds (if you have a cool config or a tool you love, let me know!). I recently copresented a one-hour “Command Line 101” talk to my coworkers to help them get more comfortable without GUIs.

Chris Apple's motivational poster
Chris likes motivational reminders

When the C++ gets too complex for my little terminal, I lean heavily on CLion, by far the best IDE for C++ I’ve tried. I’m trying to learn Rust in my free time, so recently I’ve been spending a fair amount of time in the Rust toolchain.

In terms of audio tools, Logic Pro X is my DAW of choice. Audacity is an invaluable audio software engineering tool, especially paired with Soundflower to capture all those audio buffers.

What’s your keyboard setup like? Do you use a custom layout or custom keycaps?

I really love my split-hand Kinesis, and many of my friends (and fellow command line enthusiasts) love their mechanical keyboards. That led me directly to ErgoDox!

Chris Apple's work setup from above
At home and at work, Chris uses split keyboards

My layout has a bunch of key combos I use a ton. Most notably, near my right thumb is my tmux hotkey, used to create/swap/move between windows and panes. I also have keys for Copy, Paste, and Screenshot. I really love the layers ability, as I like having an easy num pad by holding down my second layer button.

I’m still figuring out the permanent home for ~, |, and other very integral keys that I can never quite place right!

What would be your dream setup?

I would love to have a second ErgoDox to have in the office. Other than that, I am pretty content with what I have! I try to tweak as slowly as possible so I don’t get caught up in the “if I only had one more thing” mentality. I’ve been saying this for years, but I need to finally build a gaming PC to play with some of my friends who have moved across the country.

Chris Apple's cat, Florence
Florence reflects on her own fluffiness

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