Monday, September 18, 2017

100 Days of Code - Round 2, Restart

Not a good start to 100 Days of Code - R2.  I didn't really code over the Labor Day Weekend.  Then there was the prep for Hurricane Irma, then the hurricane, then the cleanup.

Through all of this, I have done a little work on the freeCodeCamp challenge.  But, it's been very inconsistent.  So, I'm going to do a relaunch, restart, reduex... whatever you want to call it.

Starting September 18th, I'll begin counting with Day 1 again.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

100 Days of Code - R2 Day 1 and Day 2

Day 1 and Day 2 were spent working on the Free Code Camp first challenge.  Although most of this is review for me, I did learn a couple of things about how some code has change from older versions of HTML to HTML5.  So, as expected, there is value in going through these early challenges even though I've been programming for years.

I think days 3 - 5 will be spent on Unity3d.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

100 Days Of Code - Round 2

100 Days of Code is a coding challenge tracked on Twitter with the hash tag #100DaysOfCode.  The idea is to publicly Tweet each day with a short description of what you coded that day.
Now, as a developer/programmer, I code every day anyway (well, almost every day).  But, I use the challenge as an educational  adventure.
This is round 2 for me with 100 Days of Code. This time I'm going to track my progress better by using this blog to post daily updates.
Why do it? The last time I did this challenge was to learn more about customizing WordPress and to get started with Python. While I didn't get to code everyday, I was successful at completing my goals. So, I consider round 1 a success.
I realize that development technologies are progressing at a lightening pace. As a way to keep up (or in some cases catch up), I am going to do the challenges at FreeCodeCamp. (And probably a couple of courses on Udemy).  I will be keeping track of my progress here on this blog, on my GitHub page, and with Tweets. (I'm also thinking about posting on Facebook).
Signup and do the challenge with me!

Feel free to follow my progress, comment on each post, make suggestions, etc. 
This should be fun. 😀

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Have an Idea for a Project?

Do you have an idea for a web or app project?  Not sure how much is will cost?  We have an online form that you can complete to get a quote.  And now, you can get a 10% discount on your project if you begin by completing and submitting this form!

Provide as much information as you can, completing all fields that apply to your project.  We will return a confidential quote within two business days.  You are not locked into anything and your information is always secure*.

That great idea won't go anywhere if you don't get started!  And now, you can get a 10% discount for starting!

*Your project information is confidential and will not be used or shared.  We never sell, distribute or share your contact information!

Contact Info

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A-B Tests - Which Color Combo Do You Like

We would like your help.  A client is unsure of the color combination they would like on a new department-centered website.  Their organization has a standard color guide for all print and online material.  But, they may deviate since they are a 'stand-alone' department.  This has lead to the following:
  • Example A: In this image you see the site with a new set of primary colors, orange and green.  These are the colors that will represent the department.
  • Example B: This image uses the standard colors of 'gold' and green (note, the green is a darker shade of green). The gold and green are the university's colors.
Please compare the two and let us know which you prefer.  Please feel free to add comments about why you've made your choice. (Click images for larger view).

Example A
Example B

Monday, June 19, 2017

Some Nice Text Messages from Clients

Recently, a marketing guru (who does some consulting for us occasionally) contacted us to create a new website for his business.  And, of course, I said, "yes!"

The site is live, but I am still making additions and tweaks.  And last week I got some nice text messages from Prof. Weber... it's always nice to hear from clients when they like the work I'm doing!

After returning from a short vacation, Prof. Weber saw the site after a week's worth of changes.  This response after he reviewed the site certainly made me smile!  (Yes, the text came through in the middle of the night... many of my client's know, I don't sleep).

Then, a little later that day - after the sun came up and I had made a few requested changes, I got this text!

Best he's ever seen?? Well, okay :-)

The site is based on the WordPress framework with a custom built theme.  It includes integration of the following plugins - some created by me just for this site, some open-source and customized, and some off-the-shelf:
  • Appointment Calendar (customized)
  • Captcha (customized)
  • FITS Round-About Slider (created for client)
  • Google Analyticator (off-the-shelf)
  • Landing Pages (customized)
  • Ninja Forms (off-the-shelf)
  • Super Socializer (off-the-shelf)
The theme I created is responsive - works on desktop, tablet, and smartphones.  You can visit the site here.

And from another client:

This is for another WordPress site.  I struggled quite a bit creating and customizing the child theme for this site.  The parent theme the client chose did not follow WordPress standards and was, at times, frustrating to work with.  But, it had some really nice effect and we wanted to use it.  After getting a text like this... the struggle was worth it!

The site includes the WooCommerce shop plugin and a custom sidebar plugin I created.

This site is still a work in progress.  So, much of it has "under construction" messages and the shopping area is filled with demo (fake) product listing.  But, the effects are working and the images and layout customization is complete.  You can visit this 'work-in-progress' here.

If your are looking for a new website or need your current site overhauled, please use this form to contact us for more info - consultations and quotes/estimates are always free! If you have a good idea of what you want, you can use this form to start the quote process now.  If you'd like, you can also comment below.  Your contact info will not be displayed in the comments.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

We're Changing Our Name - You Save Big

That's right, we are changing our name this month.  We are evolving so that we can continue to offer you the most up-to-date software services.  So, we are changing our name from "Freelance I.T. Solutions" to "" to better reflect our services - web programming, mobile application programming, IoT device programming and even IoT device prototyping.

To celebrate our name change and expansion into the IoT ecosystem, we are offering two great discounts this month!  You can use these discounts together for BIG savings on any coding project.

Don't worry, we are not getting rid of Kokopelli - he's been with us every step of the way and he's sticking around for the name change too.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Neat Tricks with Google Maps

I use Google Maps a lot - both the desktop version and the mobile version (on Android phones/tables).  Although most people only use it to get from point A to point B, it can do so much more.  It's really a pretty amazing application.

I might even call myself a 'Maps power user.'  But I found this list of 26 Google Maps tricks on the Entrepreneur magazine website that made me feel like just a novice.  While I know about and use many of these tricks, at lease half were new to me.  And some of them are just down-right cool!

Checkout the whole list here:

If there are any Google Maps tricks you use that are not listed here, please tell me about them in the comments.  I'm always interested in find new ways to use Google's awesome array of applications.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

May 2017 Special

For May we are giving 25% off any coding project - HTML5 website, WordPress website, iOS app, Android app, web app...

And if you decide to host your project on our web or cloud servers, we will give you 25% off a service contract too!

For more information, please contact us with a comment below (we will keep you information private and not publish your comment), or through our website contact form.  If you are ready to get a quote for your project, please fill out this information form and we will get back with you withing two business days.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

April 2017 Special

We've done a few WordPress website specials recently.  This month we've decided to focus on non-Wordpress sites.  So we are offering a 25% discount on all websites that are not build on WordPress.

This discount covers mockups, design, development, SEO research and site publication.  Also included is the creation or editing of images for the site... so everything!

Additionally, with this offer, we will include a 25% discount on our basic service package when you host your site on our servers.  That's our basic service package for $18.75 / month*.

For more information, please contact us through our website or by commenting here.  (We will not publish comments with contact information).  If you are ready to get a quote for your website project, please start here.

*Basic service includes monthly backups of your complete site and database (when applicable), restoration from these backups when necessary, quarterly SEO reviews and updates. Regular price for the basic service package is $25 / month. Other service packages are available.  You are not required to get a service package.

WordPress Twenty Seventeen - Code Full-Width Page Layout

I have never started a WordPress site for a client based on one of the default themes.  I just didn't like them as a starting point - that is until the Twenty Seventeen theme arrived.

I really like the full-width image on the home page and the placement of the site title and tag line.  I also think the parallax effect on the home page is pretty neat.  I even like the half-page layout.  It's something different and something that works well with most content.  But, there are times when you just want or need to use the full page for your content.

With very little code, you can create a full-page template for the Twenty Seventeen theme.  It really only involves some very simple PHP and some CSS.  I definitely recommend that you create a child theme for this code.  It's the best way to make sure your customizations won't be overwritten when WordPress updates.  If you are not sure about creating a child theme, it's very simple, follow the directions here or do a Google search.  There are several good tutorials out there.  (Don't want to create a child theme? See the notes in orange).

Step 1 (If you did not create a child theme, skip to Step 2).
After you create your child theme, create the following directory structure, replacing "your_child_theme" with the name of your theme:


We will be cloning and customizing two files, one that will be placed in the directory you created above.

Step 2
We'll begin by cloning the page.php file.

(a) Open the file at wp-content/themes/twentyseventeen/page.php for editing.  At the top of the file, just under the <?php code starter, add the following:

     Template Name: Full Width

(b) Next find the following line of code (originally, it was on line 27 of the file, but you just added the lines above to the top of the file, so move down appropriately):

get_template_part( 'template-parts/page/content', 'page' );

and change it to:

get_template_part( 'template-parts/page/content', 'page-full-width' );

(c) Now, save this file with the name, page-full-width.php in your child theme directory:


If you did not create the child theme, save this file (same file name) to the twentyseventeen theme directory:


Step 3
Now we are going to clone the default content file and customize it with some special CSS class names.

(a) Open this file for editing:


(b) Now find the following line of code (around line 16):

<header class="entry-header">

And change it to:

<header class="entry-header-full-width">

(c) Next, find this code (around line 20):

<div class="entry-content">

Change this to:

<div class="entry-content-full-width">

In the next step, we will be writing some CSS that will use these new class names to alter the default layout of pages in the twentyseventeen theme.

(d) Before moving on, save the above with the name, content-page-full-width.php in the following directory:


If you did not create a child theme, save the file (with the same name) to:


Step 4
In this step we will add the CSS rules to give us the desired full-page effect.  Open the style.css file in your child theme directory.

I add the following lines to the end of the style.css file and make sure they stay at the bottom.  This helps to insure that no other rules will take precedence over this code.

body:not(.has-sidebar):not(.page-one-column) .page-header,
body.has-sidebar.error404 #primary .page-header, #primary .entry-header-full-width, #primary .page-header {
     display: block;
     width: 100%;

.blog:not(.has-sidebar) #primary article,
.archive:not(.page-one-column):not(.has-sidebar) #primary article,
.search:not(.has-sidebar) #primary article,
.error404:not(.has-sidebar) #primary .page-content,
.error404.has-sidebar #primary .page-content, #primary .entry-content-full-width, #comments {
     display: block;
     width: 100%;

If you did not create your own child theme, I would recommend that you put the above code in the twentyseventeen default style.css file near similar code.  The default style sheet is found at:


For the first block of code above, add it at line 3756 - remember to put line breaks above and below it.  And for the second block of code, add it at line 3775.

You can, of course, add any other custom styles you would like to the .entry-header-full-width and .entry-content-full-width classes.

That's it!  Now when you are creating a page, you can choose the "Full Width" template in the Page Attributes section (see image).   I hope you find this code helpful.

Note: you can find plugins that will do this for you.  But, why bloat your site with all the code associated with a plugin, when you can add the simple code here?  I obviously wouldn't. 😎😎

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Help Us Help You

When starting a project to either build a new website/app or update an existing website/app, there are questions that any good designer/developer should ask.  With some of the questions, it's easy to understand why the designer/developer needs to know the answer - questions like, "how many forms will you need?" and "will you be accepting payments online."  Others are not so obvious, but are still understandable.  Questions like, "who's your target audience?" are not always expected, but with a little thought, you can figure out why the designer/developer would need to know this. (Note: for the rest of this post "developer" will refer to designers and developers).

But, it seems that there are five questions that always cause confusion - "why do you want to know that??" is often the first response. Below are the five questions and I'll try to explain why these questions are important to a developer when planning your project.

Why do you want the new website/app?
The 'why' is often overlooked.  You want a new site or app and the developer wants to make some money.  So, skip the why, just do.

Maybe you are trying to meet an industry standard or government requirement. With this information, a developer can build the standards/requirements in from the start of the project and check to make sure they are followed during the project.

Also, a good (honest) developer will let you know if your reason for 'why' is even valid.  For example, if you want a new app to rapidly increase sales, your developer should explain that an app can help increase sales, but it is seldom 'rapid.'

What do you think this project will improve?
"I want to improve my image with a new, modern site," or "I want to appeal to younger customers with a mobile app," are totally valid answers.

It is important for your developer to understand what you are trying to improve with your site or app.  Answering this question helps the developer understand your vision for the project.

What are your long-term goals?
This ties into the questions above. It helps the developer to understand more about what you would like out of the project. For example, how long will this app/site be around - are we designing for the future as well as the present? Should we create for expansion or do you see a new project to meet future requirements?

What's the timeline for the project?
A clear timeline for the project needs to be established. What can realistically be completed in that time? If the project cannot be completed in the desired limit, can a scaled down version be developed that meets your needs? If a full version must be completed, can we adjust the timeline? 

What is the budget for this project?
This is somewhat related to the above question. Understandably, the developer is thinking, "Realistically, can I still make a profit AND give the client what they want and in the time they want?" Potential clients fishing around for the best price is understandable. (But don't forget the adage, "you get what you pay for.") Knowing your budget will help the developer know what he/she can realistically deliver.

These questions are often difficult for the developer to ask.  And I find that often, the client has not given them much consideration.  But, the discussion and answers to these questions will help the developer-client relationship and improve the outcome of the project.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

March 2017 Special - It's a Redo!

Our February special was such a hit that we decided to do it again for March!  So, if you liked it last month and missed out... here's your chance again! Get 20% off the development of a custom mobile application when paired with the development of a website or web application!

Contract with us in the month of March to create a new website or web application and get a 20% discount on the development of a companion mobile application.

For more information, contact us at
If you would like to get a quote for your project, you may start by using this link.  We will review the information and get back with you within 24 hours.

Also, visit the website for a look at out portfolio and testimonials.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Chat App Demo

Here's a little demo that I recently complete that shows how a business could implement a chat
app on their website.

The Chat App uses sessions to keep track of the visitors using the app - for the demo, there is a Representative and a Guest.

The web application can be customized for use on your website.  It would allow clients and potential clients to contact you for help and information.   If you have an employee at the computer or answering the phones, they could also monitor the app for active users.

For a production version, you could keep track of client information, guest names and/or email addresses, etc.  And the complete conversation is saved to a database for future reference.  The app can also be set up to allow the guest/client/visitor to have a transcript of the conversation send to their email.

To try the demo, visit our site at:
You will find information and directions on this page as well.

If you have any questions on how this app could be set up and customized for your site, please contact us.  You can also comment below.  We will not publish comments that include personal or business contact information.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

New App Mockups and A/B Testing

Below are some mockup screenshots for a new mobile application we are developing.  First, I'm just kind-of showing them off.  But also, I'd like to know which set you prefer.  Please comment below with "White and Red" or "Black and Yellow" to indicate your choice.  ~Thanks 😊

Black and Yellow White and Red

Thursday, February 2, 2017

February 2017 Special - Web + Mobile and Save

For February 2017, get 20% off the development of a custom mobile application when paired
with the development of a website or web application!

Contract with us in the month of February to create a new website or web application and get a 20% discount on the development of a companion mobile application.

For more information, contact us at
If you would like to get a quote for your project, you may start by using this link.  We will review the information and get back with you within 24 hours.

Generate Truly Random Numbers for the Lottery

Today in the office we were discussing whether the different lottery game systems generate a truly random set of numbers where you play 'quick pick.'  We had different opinions.  But, it got me thinking about creating an app to do just that - generate a truly random set of numbers for lotto games... and then I went ahead and wrote the app.

The app allows you to specify how many numbers you need and the range of numbers (example, 6 numbers in the range of 1 through 53).  If the game you want to play also has a 'special ball,' like the PowerBall game, you can have the app generate that number as well.  Check it out at this link:

Next, I'm planning to use this to create apps for iOS and Android devices.  Stay tuned for links to the mobile apps.

This was a fun, quick app to create.  And it's meant for fun only!  You can use it to generate your numbers.  But, it will in no way help you win any lottery game!!

For developers: this app is written using raw Javascript to generate the numbers.  HTML/CSS for the UI.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Google Starts Warnings for Non-Secure Info Collection

If you have a website or manage a website, take note!  If your users are using Google Chrome when visiting your site, and they land on a page that asks for a password, social security number, credit card or other sensitive data, they will begin receive a warning message.

These warnings are the first steps in Google’s plan to make all pages that collect sensitive information use a secure protocol (HTTPS).  Along with this, Google will begin ranking pages with SSL Certificates higher then pages without (even if those pages do not collect information through forms).

How do you make sure your visitors don’t see these messages?  You can purchase an SSL Certificate for your domain.  Install the certificate to protect the whole site, or just the sections / forms that collect the information.  If you are going through a third party for login or to process payments, make sure those sites use SSL.

For more information about SSL Certificates, visit our "SSL/TLS Explained" page.  Comment below with questions.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Please Welcome Isaac Bell

I am happy to announce a new member joining Freelance I.T. Solutions - Isaac Bell.

Isaac joins us primarily as a Project Manager. But, he brings with him a load of technical skills that will benefit our operations. Isaac is an accomplished designer and illustrator, with hands-on experience with Adobe Suite. He is also the first member to join us with Ruby on Rails programming experience.

Additionally, Isaac has knowledge and experience with:
  • Node.js, 
  • HTML5, 
  • CSS3, 
  • Javascript,
  • PHP,
  • WordPress. 
We are starting 2017 with a bang! Welcome Isaac!