New design

Over the last 24 hours I've updated the design of arabist.net to give it a cleaner and more attractive look. The basics won't change, but the old design lacked some basic usability functions. Most notably, the long list of links that used to be on the left have been moved to a special links section, there is a new list of "essential" sites I read often (it may surprise readers that I don't actually read a lot of blogs--I don't have the time and rather comment on the real word or the media than other blogs most of the time), there is a new archive page to look through old posts, and a new about page that explains some of the ideas I had when starting the site. The latter was particularly lacking in the old design and, I hope, will explain what this site is about. I intend to develop it a bit more in the coming few weeks.

I'd appreciate any feedback, particularly on things that may not be working property with the new design. I also hope that, time permitting, it will encourage me to post more often and generally pick up the pace again after the relative lull of the past two months, which was due to professional and other commitments and certainly not the lack of excitement in Egyptian and regional politics in the last few months! I know many readers were disappointed to see more comment on the elections (it's coming), but if this blogging thing started to feel like a job or obligation, it wouldn't be much fun anymore.

Finally, two apologies: the RSS feeds will no longer contain the full text of posts to save on bandwidth, and arabist.net now features some random, context-sensitive advertising. This won't bring in much money, but I hope it will help cover hosting costs. Maalesh.