Fikr Gedid at Arabist.net

Having used yesterday's hugely successful press strike (22 newspapers did not come out, tons of blogs) to overhaul the design, welcome to the new Arabist.net: now in a great-tasting, sweet-smelling, 100% organic new flavor.

Hopefully this is the beginning of the introduction of new features to the site (more within a few weeks), but aside from the general look and feel the two (for now!) sub-sites have been given more prominence on the front page. You can always see the latest headlines at 3arabawy and Hatshepsut in the first sidebar, as well as my del.icio.us links for stuff I don't have time to blog about. The far-right sidebar also contains the latest comment activity to make it easier to follow the arguments, while individual post pages display in the middle sidebar any related posts to the one you're reading.

Another change you'll notice is that the Google ads are back, with a disclaimer. For most of the time I've been running this site I have not had any or many ads, but considering the effort that goes into it I can no longer justify not having it generate some income. At a later point, I may also add a tip box. The Arabist.net family, all put together, generates a considerable amount of web traffic for a Middle East based blog and we want to leverage that.

One final thing is that my name no longer appears on posts or elsewhere on the blog. I have had to do this for professional reasons, and the alternative would have been shutting down the blog. Although many longtime readers know very well who I am, for now my posts must remain anonymous -- it's a bit weird but necessary.

Please let me know if you have problems with the new design -- it should work in modern browsers such as Firefox, but older ones could have difficulties with it. There will be a few more small changes in the week ahead and all remaining bugs are squashed.

P.S. The picture: out with the old fuul cart picture, in with this scene of Sharia Fouad (today's 26th July) from E.P. Jacobs Le mystere de la grande pyramide.