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Shah Brionez’ Mac and iOS setup

Every week we post a new interview with someone about what software they use on their Mac, iPhone, or iPad. We do these interviews because not only are they fun, but a glimpse into what tools someone uses and how they use those tools can spark our imagination and give us an idea or insight into how we can do things better.

New setup interviews are posted every Monday; follow us on RSS or Twitter to stay up to date.


Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Shah Brionez, and I work as a senior agent for A Insurance Agencies, Inc. We are an independent insurance agency in Syracuse, Utah. I’m married to my beautiful wife, Gentry, and we have a 9-year-old daughter. I’m a tech geek and caught the bug with my first PalmPilot back in the 90’s.

What is your current setup?

Shah Brionez' desk

My current setup is a 15-inch 2011 MacBook Pro. I’ve replaced the standard HDD with a Samsung 250 GB SSD and ditched the optical drive for a Seagate Momentus XT Hybrid drive. 16 GB of RAM helps keep everything running smoothly. All of my applications and documents are stored on the SSD, while my iPhoto & iTunes library reside on the hybrid drive. My external drive is for my Time Machine backups.

My computer is connected to a BookEndz dock that I absolutely love. Sadly, they are no longer in business. This dock has 5 USB ports, SD card access, Ethernet, Firewire 800, audio in and two audio out ports along with a mini DisplayPort. What I love about the dock is I just have to eject the external drives, pull the lever on the back and that’s it. No messy cables everywhere.

Connected to my MBP is a 23-inch Apple Cinema display, a 2 TB Samsung D3 external drive, Dell B1160w printer, and JBL Creature II speakers in silver. I use an older Bluetooth Apple Keyboard (I use the num-pad, and that’s why I still use the old one) and the best mouse EVER! The Logitech MX Revolution. Absolutely love this piece of tech!

I’m not a big sports guy (well, other than F1 auto racing), but I do love March Madness and the Masters. This is my normal setup for those days. (Don’t show this to my boss!)

My desktop photo is of the LDS (Mormon) temple in Salt Lake City. This photo was taken with my iPhone a few years ago. I happened to be in the area with time to burn and luckily caught the sun setting.

What software do you use and for what do you use it?

In my line of work, nearly all of our software is Windows-based. Our CRM software Hawksoft is run through Parallels along with my email client Outlook. Some of the cool Apple Apps I use are Duet Display for using my iPad as a 3rd monitor, Backblaze for cloud backups, and Tokenlock. I love Tokenlock because I can walk away from my desk (with my iPhone) and it will automatically pause my music and lock my machine. This is critical for those who work with sensitive information. Once I get back, it unlocks my computer and starts playing my music. Oh, one last piece of software is Pulseway. More on that later.

How would your ideal setup look and function?

Right now, my object of desire is the 13″ Retina MacBook Pro. I think it has the power I would need along with a faster SSD. My current machine mostly lives on the dock, but comes with me on occasion. Those who have moved from a 15-inch down to the 13-inch, or even the Air, often mention what a difference it makes in their bag. The 13″ MBP Retina also supports multiple monitors, and so my ideal setup would include 2 of the (now older) 24-inch Thunderbolt displays. Right now, the biggest reason I haven’t made the switch is I can’t find a good dock to replace my BookEndz. Oh, and the fact that I would need a different desk to hold everything!


What iPhone do you have?

My current phone is a 64 GB silver iPhone 6.

Shah Brionez' iPhone

What apps do you use the most, and why?

I don’t want to start a flame war, but I still use Apple Mail a ton on my phone. I’ve considered switching to Outlook, but it feels like changing religions! I use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram fairly often along with a few cool and unique apps. I use the Fitbit app to track my activity and sleep.

Which app could you not live without?

Two apps that I use more than I thought are the Liftmaster app along with Pulseway. The connected home is very fascinating to me and the Liftmaster app allows me to open/close the garage along with control some lighting in my home. Until this is integrated into Homekit, this app does the trick. I always thought the connected home was more of a convenience, but those who use this technology swear by it. I’m one of those people now!

I came across Pulseway years ago, which allows me to monitor and control a number of computers/servers that I am responsible for. There is so much information you can track in this app — from connection status down to temperature and fan speeds. The best part is the push notifications! I use this for the unfortunate time when a server goes down or something else important.


Which iPad do you have?

I have a black 16 GB iPad Air.

Shah Brionez' iPad Air

How are you using your iPad on a daily basis?

My iPad is often used as a 3rd monitor at work with Duet Display. At home, I use Ignition to connect to my computer. I’m a huge RSS guy and use Feedly on my iPad often.

What apps do you use the most, and why?

The most used app on my iPad happens to be the Apple Calendar. I love that this single app has my work calendar and home info along with shared calendars for my Boy Scouts (I volunteer my time with the scouts in my neighborhood). With all the activities and camps, this helps me know where I need to be!


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