Mike’s 2007-2008 Project Archives

On this page you will find a collection of my personal and professional creative projects — one and all a labor of love.

2008-01: GBCF-v3
Launch: GBCF-v3 Live Site »

Visit GBCF-v3

I don’t usually post my scripts and other such projects here, but I decided to make an exception for this one. Mostly because the form script download includes three web pages: a script validation page useful during installation and pre-testing; a test form for testing obviously; and a self-contained help page.

The other reason I’m posting this is that I’m really happy with how it turned out. I think it’s a good script. I did pour 162+ hours into it so hopefully the time was well spent accurately anticipating security threats, users’ preferences, and usability and accessibility needs.

If you wish, you may comment on this form script.

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2007-12: ItsAMelanie.com
View: ItsAMelanie.com Image »

View image of ItsAMelanie.com

This project came to me by way of referral. The client needed a site that would help them gain better rankings with the major search engines, and help them sell their jewelry pieces online. We decided a WordPress blog would be a good direction to take. Not only would it serve well as a CMS, adding a small store front could be done.

As I have so often this past year, I used my Beast-Blog v.2.0 theme to pull it all together, but this installation was customized. I added a few of the features that will be available on my next full version. This will happen months from now; these things take time. Version 3 note-taking, for example, has been going on for about six months.

Valid, accessible, cross-browser friendly, and SEO focused, this projects has all the earmarks of a quality site. Aesthetic appeal, in my opinion, is really high. I love the look of this site with its clean lines and open look. A winning design I think.

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2007-12: 2008 GreenMethods Catalog
View: 2008 GreenMethods Catalog Image »

View image of 2008 GreenMethods Catalog

As I’ve done for fifteen years now, I have produced an annual mail order catalog for my company, GreenMethods.com, so our customers can be informed of our products and prices. This entry celebrates yet another successful printing — though it’s at the printers now so I may be jumping the gun on the whole “successful” thing.

The catalog is a little different this year. I reduced the page-count of this 8.5x5.5-inch perfect-bound booklet to 40 pages (five, 8-page “signatures”), instead of the usual 48 pages. I managed this by removing a bit of meaningless fluff and a few products that didn’t sell well. Since we now have an online store, some of those borderline waste-of-time products can be offered there, without wasting valuable page space — and paper.

The page reduction will reduce more than paper usage. It will also reduce printing costs, postage, production time, and it will afford better usability since I was able to make the content more consistent and I visually opened up the entire catalog (more white space). So much so that I dare say that in the area of marketing and catalog effectiveness, this may very well be my best work to date.

The tech specs are a 60# cover stock cover, perfect bound, with 60# offset paper used for the guts. The cover is four-color full process and the guts are monochromatic (black on white this year). It was produced using InDesign and Fireworks. The cover and only one gut page bleeds, the rest is margined. The image posted here is a cover shot, but please bear in mind that I simply cannot even come close to showing you print quality online unless I were to let you download the full size 36 megabyte cover.

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2007-11: InTheMac.com Masthead
View: InTheMac.com Masthead Image »

View image of InTheMac.com Masthead

I had done this project once, less than a year ago at the time of this writing, but the owner wanted an update. The owner of the site uses the default “Kubrick” WordPress theme to discuss all things Mac. But with the release of the Leopard Operating System (OS), an update was a given.

Like last time, my job was to bring make a Mac desktop masthead. The site owner supplied a nice screenshot again — which was essential since I am Mac-less — and what you see is the result. The site owner is absolutely delighted with it so I am too.

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2007-11: Green-Beast.com v5
Launch: Green-Beast.com v5 Live Site »

Visit Green-Beast.com v5

This may seem to be a strange project entry, but being that I spent over forty hours completely re-doing this site, I feel it’s justified. I completely re-did the markup from the ground up, and I completely re-scripted the whole site. I also worked on some of the content. None of this is really obvious, but maybe I’ll do some styling changes in the future.

One of the goals was to simplify upkeep of my archives. Another goal was to flip the site upside-down starting with top-down content like I have on my Beast-Blog. The final goal was to better integrate my site and blog. Unlike my other WordPress sites, this site is not managed by that CMS — this site is hand coded — but it doesn't mean I can’t tap into its style sheet. Thus, this site also uses my Beast-Blog v.2.0 in a round-about way.

I hope you like it and you can identify with and see the benefit of the changes I made. I may update this entry later as later I may do some more style and color changes. Stay tuned.

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2007-10: Pro-Shock Outlet
View: Pro-Shock Outlet Image »

View image of Pro-Shock Outlet

This project was a long time in the making, a good eleven months in fact. The first step was installing WordPress and my Beast-Blog v.2.0 theme, then styling it and building the e-commerce table template (for single purchase items only). This took about four days all told. The next step was waiting for the item descriptions and photos. That part took forever. It’s not my client’s fault, he was held up by the manufacturer.

Once I was given the descriptions and some temp photo I got to work right away. The very next day the job was done. We’re still waiting on quality product photos but finally the site is launched.

Aside from the delay, this was a fun project and I really like the way the theme turned out. The owner likes it, too. It has a light, friendly feel to it while still getting its purpose across. Hope so anyway.

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2007-09: GreenMethods.com v5
Bummer: Preview not available

To make the site easier to manage, I decided to remake my own company’s web site using the marriage of WordPress and my Beast-Blog v.2.0 theme — as well as a few hand-selected and mostly modified plugins. Version 4 was a good site. A twice-awarded site, in fact. It was featured in a web design magazine and used as a positive example of heading navigation in a web accessibility book. But despite all that, I know so much more than I did when I made that so this was a wise decision. Bear in mind, v5 is not a step backwards. This version will be better than the last one. Not just easier to update and manage, but better on all levels.

Not content with just a huge information site that took a month-and-a-half to build, I decided to add a complete online store and a host of other features to this version. Go ahead, check it out, explore its ends. You should find plenty to like. In addition to all of this, if anyone ever questioned whether WordPress could be used as a full-blown CMS, this send the answer.

Valid, accessible, optimized to the hilt for SEO, GreenMethods.com v5 is sure to be a keeper. A big project like this can be a crap shoot, any one thing can go wrong to drag it down, slow the site, whatever, but I, as my biggest critic, am very pleased with the outcome. Hopefully there will no need for a v6 anytime soon.

Need a WordPress site? This sophisticated theme is available restyled it to suit your needs and tastes. To learn more, please Contact me.

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2007-07: Bobo Buys Blog
View: Bobo Buys Blog Image »

View image of Bobo Buys Blog

Here’s another blog theme built upon my solid Beast-Blog v.2.0 theme foundation. This one is slightly modified. I changed a few thing like the post meta data and I added a special “time since posted” plugin (also modified).

This blog’s introduction states the following which says a mouthful about what this thing is all about:

“One week a year, Bobo swings into action, putting together more deals than most real estate investors do in an entire year. This is his week, and he’s doing it again, the Bobo way — jungle style. Follow along in real time to watch and learn how Bobo gets it done. Jungle rules apply.” —Bobo the Chimp

This theme is a reverse style as per Bobo’s requirements. Truthfully I love the way it came out. As usual it’s accessible, easy to read, and SEO-friendly. All that good stuff.

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2007-07: 230 Plus Acres CT
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View image of 230 Plus Acres CT

It’s been a bit since I used something besides WordPress to make a site, but this project was best suited to my PHP AutoRun application. It was almost perfect, in fact, though I did make some modifications, mostly so I could install my PHP Contact Form on the Summary page and make it more suited to photos.

The site owner figures the property being sold — 230+ Acres in Connecticut — will be on the market for a while. At only $1.5 million, though, I suspect it’ll sell in a flash. It’s a very nice piece of prime real estate. In any case the owner wanted the site to be highly indexed so hopefully it will be. The tools are in place.

Since it’s a new domain I submitted it to Google and Yahoo, and with the efforts of the owner, and hopefully a link from the New York Times, the site should be found, an offer will be made, and the parcel sold. If you have the money, please check it out.

Need a presentaional site? This AutoRun application is available as is or restyled to suit your needs and tastes. It is very SEO-effective. To learn more, please Contact me.

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2007-06: Nothing Down Site
View: Nothing Down Site Image »

View image of Nothing Down Site

This blog’s tagline is “The fun, simple and easy way to get started in real estate” and its theme was supposed to be light-hearted, fun, and relaxed — non-threatening. For me it’s a bit of an unusual design but the client loves it.

I used Verdana as the primary type face as I didn’t want the written content to be as casual as the imagery is. Serious business in a friendly, human-oriented shell if you will. This blog uses my Beast-Blog v.2.0 theme as its base. In my eyes this is a successful theme for being so accommodating.

It’s primed to derive maximum SEO benefits and it’s accessible, standards compliant, and valid XHTML 1.0 strict and CSS. But to me, there is no other way. Gotta make ‘em right.

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2007-06: Pushed to Shove Blog
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View image of Pushed to Shove Blog

Here’s another blog theme job that went well. This one, like most I’ve been making lately, is built upon the Beast-Blog v.2.0 theme foundation. On top of which I added a few custom functions and features.

This blog will be used for only a short period of time by a man at war with the Washington State Attorney General, Robert McKenna. Sounds like a mission, and I wish the blogger success in his endevour.

This theme is meant to be clean and open, sophisticated yet lighthearted, accessible, easy to read, and SEO-friendly. I think I pulled it off well, and I especially like the masthead as it speaks volumes about the blog and the battle it describes. The client is happy, and therefore so am I.

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2007-06: The Money Plan Book Cover
View: The Money Plan Book Cover Image »

View image of The Money Plan Book Cover

This is one of those projects that can’t be presented on the web in a portfolio like this due to quality degradation. What this is is a very large image that will be used for a report cover that will be downloaded from a web site. The image is huge, and was very much like a typical print project. Thus, when you view the sample you’ll see its quality leaves a lot to be desired, but I can assure you… at full size it looks great.

This was produced with Fireworks and exported as a “PSD” or PhotoShop format. A couple of variations were created, but this one, rendering number one, took the prize.

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