Airplane engine.

The Setup, 2015

Published on by David A. Kennedy

I knew The Setup existed, but in the last few days I enjoyed pouring over a number of the interviews. I thought it would be fun to write my own, and update it every year or so to see how it changes.

Who are you, and what do you do?

Hey there! I’m David Kennedy (DK, for short), and I’m a Theminator for Automattic. I wrangle themes for, making them the best they can be and ensuring everyone can find a theme they love. I’m an accessibility evangelist who loves the open web and open source code. Before writing code, I use to write words as a journalist.

What hardware do you use?

I’m writing this on a 2014 11-inch Macbook Air. I also have a 2014 15-inch Macbook Pro for work, a iPad Air and a custom-built PC for gaming. I carry an iPhone 5 with me everywhere. I tend to keep computers for about fours to five years, so I’m glad I love the 11-inch Air.

And what software?

I’ve simplified a lot in the last six months or so. No matter what device I’m on, I have Simplenote running to keep notes, lists and drafts of writing. I’ve also started to use Apple Reminders and Calendar a lot more. Coupled with Mail, everything just works.

On my personal machine, iPad and iPhone I use Safari to browse the web. I use LastPass to save my passwords and Pinboard to save bookmarks. I don’t have much software on my personal machine beyond the stock applications. I do have Atom and Libre Office for editing documents. I have Skype, Hipchat and Textual for the occasional communications need. I blog using WordPress, specifically I’m currently on a 56-day writing streak.

When working on front end development, I use a mix of all the big browsers: Chrome, Firefox and Safari. Chrome wins as my most-used. I like iTerm 2 for my command-line editing, VirtualBox for my local environments, Atom for my text editing and Cyber Duck for any FTP needs. At Automattic, we use Slack for communication, and a smattering of Gmail. Among the browser extensions and add-ons I use for Chrome and Firefox on a regular basis, these I cannot live without: Wave, Accessibility Developer Tools, Color Extractor Bookmarklet, Color Contrast Analyzer for Chrome, Firebug and Web Developer. I also dig these color tools: Color Palette Accessibility Checker, Tanaguru Contrast-Finder and Colour Contrast Analyser (CCA). Yes, I am a color contrast nerd. I also use ImageOptim a lot. I usually do most of my web development in Chrome, most of my accessibility testing in Firefox and lots of screen reader testing in Safari and Voiceover.

What would be your dream setup?

I bought my 11-inch Macbook Air less than six months ago, but I seriously considered getting something with a flavor of Linux on it. The thought of having a more “free” machine entices me. I looked at a few machines, but couldn’t get over the hump of not having everything tied together in one ecosystem via Apple. So I’d love an open machine that does that just as well. Oh, and less software. Why do I need all this? 🙂

Image courtesy of

Tagged Personal