Recent Projects Built With Free Tools

It’s been awhile since I posted a new blog entry.  I’ve been busy helping clients get web projects launched, and now I’m excited to post on this blog again.

Here are some of the projects I’ve worked on and the free tools used to create them.


managemenManageMen is a pioneer in cleaning industry processes and education.  Clients include government institutions, universities, and large corporations like Boeing. uses the open-source Joomla CMS (Content Management System) to update their site whenever they want, with no programming skills required.  A custom Joomla template was designed for this project.  The slideshow on the frontpage uses the Featured Content Glider script.

Lost Coin Zen

Lost Coin Zen is a personal and spiritual development group led by Zen teacher Daniel Doen Silberberg.

I setup a blog to tie into their existing website.  The blog is built on WordPress using a customized version of the Elegance theme.  We used various third-party plugins including the open source WP-Cumulus.  The blog is growing quickly and has brought in new students from all over the world.

Tea This is a personal project my wife and I are having fun with.  The site is for tea lovers and features blog articles, free tea e-cards, and fun tea t-shirts.  We’ll soon be adding a video to the blog.

I did a custom graphic design and use WordPress for the blog and CMS.  The tea e-cards are driven by the free Popcard sofware.  I wrote custom code to wrap the e-card interface into the WordPress header & footer for a consistent template.

We have a custom graphic background for our twitter account, and use CoTweet for multi-user twitter account management.  CoTweet is perfect for organizations engaging on twitter. For more info checkout this demo.

First Endurance

fe_prodsFirst Endurance is a leader in endurance supplements.  They sponsor the top cyclists & triathletes in the world, including Lance Armstrong & the Astana Pro Cycling Team.

First Endurance has been a client for many years.  Last year we set them up with a WordPress blog which brought a huge increase in traffic.

I’m very proud of my recent redesign of their shopping cart.  The cart uses the powerful open-source Apache OFBiz software, and our design is very different from the standard OFBiz category and product pages.


CityDeals, a website that sells discount gift certificates, has been enjoying huge growth recently.

The site is also based on the Apache OFBiz software, and has been highly customized.  We recently add new functionality including one-per-customer offers and a new listing based on merchants rather than products.  We used the free Facebox script for a lightbox that populates product info & forms via ajax.

Okura & Associates is a law firm in Hawaii run by my father and brother.  I created a custom graphic design for the site and used WordPress as a CMS as well as for the blog.  They can login and easily update any of their pages or add new blog entries.

The front animation uses the CrossSlide script for jQuery.  The web phone call button uses Greybox for the lightbox.

1402 Piikoi

piikoiThis website is for a real-estate development project in Hawaii.  After launching in Fall of 2008, most of the units were sold within a few months despite the economic conditions.

The design was based on a tutorial by graphic design guru Fabio Sasso.  The photography lightbox was built on Greybox.

This is just a sample of some of the work we’ve done recently.  Don’t forget to subscribe if you’d like to be updated on future posts with information on our work and the free tools we use.

If you have any questions or comments on the sites or resources we’ve covered, please leave us a comment below.  I’d love to hear from you.

Comments (16)

  1. Thanks Jake. You know I’m more of a developer than designer, so any attempt at graphic design is a result of inspiration from working with you. Thanks for being my design mentor and teaching me Photoshop tips those many years ago.

    Love your logo gravatar!

  2. We consider you to be one our secret weapons.

    Had a big compliment on the website the other day from a well respected educator in the industry. He told us that he’s a big fan of the site – it’s clean, easy to navigate and loaded with powerful information.

    Couldn’t have done it without your expertise.

  3. Hey Sterling,

    Thanks again for all your help, valuable insight and input in developing the new site. Rob & I presented it to the editors at Triathlete magazine earlier this month and they were blown away. They were so impressed, they already did a story on it on their web site.


  4. @Adam Lee – Thanks for stopping by. Have fun globe-trotting and we’ll catch up in a couple weeks.

    @Mike Fogarty – Thanks for the kind words. You did a great job as Art Director for new cart design. Just read the Triathlete Mag write-up…awewome! Looks like it triggered a little wave of new member sign-ups. Congratulations!

    If anyone is interested in the site for Ironman Triathletes Mike mentioned, its

  5. Wow, Sterling, you’ve been busy–what great projects! The sites all look wonderful. You underestimate your eye for design. And thank you a million times for everything you’ve done and do constantly for the Lost Coin blog. There’s no way it would be what it is, and be doing so well, without your being the one making it all happen!

  6. @LiLy – Yes, OFBiz is amazing technology for free. Glad to see you offering it on your website.

    @Tawni – Thank you for the kind words. It’s been an absolute pleasure working with you and Doen on the Lost Coin blog. Fun to see the conversations growing as the Lost Coin blog develops a more international audience.

  7. Hey Bro, just wanted to drop by and say thanks again for everything you did to get my business online. I am getting great feedback on all of your work. I have been telling everyone about your services. You are a black belt in your arena.

  8. Sterling,

    I am so impressed! While I liked all the sites, I especially loved Lost Coin Zen and Tea This. The e-cards were so creative. I can’t believe you think yourself more a developer than a designer! I think your design work is beautiful…it’s clean and crisp. To me it feels like like walking into a spacious, clean room that is uncluttered, but also warm and inviting. Not to gush, but I also love your use of color! You’re really good at what you do :~)

  9. @Sara Thank you taking time to check out my work, and for the kind and encouraging words.

    I am starting to feel more like a designer, and to be honest graphic design work is more fun for me than programming.

  10. You are involved in a number of meaningful projects. Thanks for sharing. The tea project in particular stands out as being especially practical and uplifting. May you enjoy green tea and others that soothe the soul and heal.

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