Aussie student interns savour Cupertino

That was the curious choice of grabline for the article in Wheels for the Mind, the AUC’s magazine, about the Apple internship experience had by Ashley Butterworth, Brett Brooks, and myself.

Wheels for the Mind 2006 (Autumn) (cached)

They even put a picture of me on the cover, which seems mean [to their readers].

This was the follow-up to an article a year earlier that announced we three were set to intern at Apple.

I’m posting it here now because I apparently never did prior, and I’d just like to include it in my records. I actually remember reading the article, although oddly not providing any of the quotes used in it (I’m sure I did; I genuinely have just forgotten).

Wheels for the Mind 2006 (Autumn) (cached)

I’m not sure what I was referring to – if anything specific – regarding “so that’s how they do that!” but I do vaguely recall that it was indeed a real pleasure to have access to a lot of Apple frameworks’ source code. I dove into a whole bunch of it purely out of curiosity. Of course, fifteen years later I don’t remember anything about it.

I had forgotten – until I chanced upon this Wheels for the Mind article a few weeks ago – about Brett’s project entirely. I did vaguely remember that Ashley worked in the Core Audio team, although in my mind it was “FireWire audio” specifically that he was involved with. I vaguely recall some discussions about isochronous transport support – something unique to FireWire at the time, notably as opposed to its competitor USB – and its huge benefits for live audio. We [Apple fans] were all particularly bullish on FireWire and quite offended by the mass-market success of the comically inferior USB. So we relished specific examples where FireWire embarrassed USB, in terms of not just its speed but its basic capabilities (like live media).

I haven’t spoken with Ashley or Brett in what must be at least a decade – probably since about when our internship ended and we all separated once more on our return to Oz. We’d barely met before the internship – perhaps just at the AUC 2005 conference in Hobart; I know at least Brett was there for that – and being thrown together into a two-bedroom apartment in Cupertino. 😆

Where are they now?

I’m here now, obviously. 😜

Ashley interned at Apple at least twice more – in fact I think we ran into each other once or twice as a result, as I was there full-time by the time of his third internship at least. He eventually joined for real, as a full-time employee. And that’s where he still is! And still doing audio – from his early days with IEEE presentations to working on Milan (for synchronising clocks over a network, for AV media purposes specifically) to at least as recently as 2020 with work on IEEE 1722 (AVTP, Audio Visual Transport Protocol). As well as some AV timing-related working on 802.11 (wifi). And possibly more – digging through IEEE papers & websites is not the most entertaining nor rapid escapade. 😝

Brett appears to have done some iOS consulting and fitness coaching, of all things! That’s particularly poetic because – when we were Apple interns – we were all a bit plump; very stereotypical computer nerds. As his coach bio says:

Brett started at VidaFit doing an Overhaul back in 2014 as a self-proclaimed overweight, headache prone, generally sluggish computer geek.

He’s also been fighting Motor Neurone Disease on behalf of his sister and all its sufferers, which it seems led him into social media consulting and general computer support under the business name Little Brown Monkey – an ironic name, given how search-engine-hostile it is 😆. Apparently it’s based on sentimental value. Still, it’s particularly funny since “Brett Brooks” is a fairly common name – with multiple minor celebrities using it – so he is already a little hard to find.

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