Meet Zeke

I just got fed up with the previous theme and thought that it’s time for a change. So I took a freely available theme called Zeke from SoloStream and retooled it to suite Mahmood’s Den a bit better.

As you can see, this theme is wider; it’s main screen is 960 pixels wide and has two “sidebars”. One important thing about this theme is its capability to display a “featured” article which will always appear at the top of the page and is made distinct by its different coloured background highlight. I can choose which article can occupy that space or just revert back to normal blog chronological article display. This means that the top article on the page is not necessarily the last article I published!

I’m going to play about a bit more with this theme as I gain more experience with specific content display in order to make information easier to get at. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

I also think that I have fixed the problem with Internet Explorer forcing the sidebar to be taken to the bottom of the content (because I had content which stretched the main div) but do let me know should you experience any problem with the theme or site please.

I hope you like the changes, and thanks once again for your continued support and friendship.

  • Hani AlYousif
    19 June 2007

    Very nice! It’s a lot easier on the eyes.

  • mahmood
    19 June 2007

    Thanks Hani!

    That’s two full days of work which I hope will pay off in making this site a bit more pleasurable to visit and interact with.

    Do you like my nifty Photoshop Elements work on the header? (yes, I had to search for a how to to get those gradient transparencies to work 😀 learnt something new)

  • Bahrainiac
    19 June 2007

    Ditto to what Hani said. Much nicer on the eyeballs. Great skin, nice contrasts. 😎

  • abdulla
    19 June 2007

    great pick mahmood! me like!

  • Proud Bahraini
    19 June 2007


  • azwanhadzree
    19 June 2007

    You’ve made some modification right? but it still looks ok 🙂

  • Ehsan
    19 June 2007

    It’s very nice, and great work on the header. You might want to consider switching all your fonts to san-serif for better readability. Also, the right columns give the impression of being cluttered and compete with your main content. Link styles should be unified, at the moment some are underlined and some are not… okay if I go on I’ll just be nitpicking now 🙂

    I think the color scheme is particularly nice.

  • Troy Z
    19 June 2007

    It was sort of nice to have the Bahraini flag ghosted in on the previous banner, if at least for no other reason to get the distinctive location of the source of the blog. Unless, of course, the intention IS to reinforce the global nature of a blog audience. Is it possible to do a similar 5-point flag tint on this one as well, or would it muddy it up?

  • mahmood
    19 June 2007

    Ehsan, very valuable input. Thanks very much. I’ll have a look at the points you raise now as it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to amend the stylesheet. I must confess that I spent most of my time getting the skeleton right first, now these little bits and pieces could be looked into, and it is those that affect the user experience most I think.

    So don’t stop, carry on nit picking!

  • mahmood
    19 June 2007

    Troy I considered it, but didn’t get the time to try it. I might do and see how it looks. However, the whole theme is Bahrain;

    From left to right:
    1. Behind me is a city scene which belongs to Ras Rumman,
    2. A historic scene of kids coming back from school which could have been shot in the ’40s or ’50s (maybe earlier, I don’t know)
    3. The Bahrain International Circuit with a drag race, a very popular sport here,
    4. The Bahrain International Circuit again during an open day with the Caterham with my son Arif being driven around with my friend Ian Best at the wheel,
    5. Filbert and me,
    6. That icon which defines and defined Bahrain for hundreds of years, the Tree of Life

    Now that I look at header again, I think a Bahraini flag (in colour rather than sepia) would look very well behind me!

    Lemme try that tomorrow.

    Thanks for the suggestion.

  • mashtan
    19 June 2007

    Love the new header…the boys are so joyous!

    Thanks for all that you do here Mahmood. Freedom of speech, thought, debate and banter spread peace and democracy.

    You are doing your part!

    Personal request, please do a Friday slideshow of your fav sights in Bahrain for those of us that are homesick! Thanks

    Peace, Mashtan 😀

  • BB
    20 June 2007

    i love the header, it’s very distinctive. Maybe you need to make the blog title a bit bigger though so people know what site they are entering

  • Amjad
    20 June 2007

    Cool theme and great header, loved it.

    The only thing I didn’t like is the font, I hate this font. 😕

  • Roba
    20 June 2007


  • Anonymous
    20 June 2007

    looks great..

    just change the pic on top

  • Ali K
    20 June 2007

    looks good.. is it really nice and easy on the eyes..

    the banner.. needs some color.. wouldnt hurt to add a little red here and there 🙂

    – Ali.K

  • Ayman
    20 June 2007

    Looks Grrrreareat!
    But the name of the site does not contrast well with the Tree background. And the default font is not one of my favorites. 😕 Sans-Serif fonts are easier for me.

  • mahmood
    20 June 2007

    It’s just for change Ayman, I love Serifed fonts more and I actually find them easier and more professional on the eyes. The “Bookman Old Style” is my flavour of the moment…. I might change it in a while.

    What do you guys think? Serif or Sans?

  • can we talk
    20 June 2007

    ok, more nitpicking coming up:
    1. wasn’t the posting space wider yesterday? personally i think your middle column is too close to the posting column, and your right column is too wide, which crowds and distracts from your posting column.

    2. hard to see your blog’s name still.

    3. everyone seems to think these colours are easier on the eyes, my feeling is that there is not enough contrast, the only contrast coming from the ads and pics, which makes them look more interesting than the writing. maybe that was intentional? i think your old colours looked more visually stimulating, but this looks more mature, maybe a bit more contrast would liven things up a bit.

    4. the one thing that i don’t like is that the names are now at the tail of each post instead of at the top. just as one would in a normal conversation, i feel that as a listener/reader i want to know who is doing the talking before i hear/read them, as i would then have put the content of their speech into context knowing what to expect from that person if they are a frequent poster. hence, i end up scrolling down to the end to find out who they are before i read their post (or decide not to read it!!) if i remember or else i wrongly assume it’s the person above. which is irritating.

    other than that, have a lovely day!!!!

    oh, sorry, i forgot, one more:
    5. where are the effects (bold/ italics/ quotation marks)? and the smileys?

    oh, and on another note, sorry mate but your poll above is so invalid. your question is both loaded (it includes two parts)and biased (it directs towards a negative attitude), each of which alone makes a poll question invalid, the combination is lethal!!

    (apologetic charming smile would have been inserted here)

  • mahmood
    20 June 2007

    Ah, forgot about those text effects. I’ll install them this afternoon, thanks for the reminder.

    I too like the name at the top of comments rather than below them, I’ll work on that.

    about the colours/contrast/column width, we’ll have to live with those for a while as I don’t have the gumption to dismantle the theme again to retool them! I don’t know how long this one will last as there are new excellent themes being released all the time, so another one might grab my fancy and replace this in short order!

    As to the poll, well, that was transcribed verbatim from a conversation with a friend, I found it so incongruous and factitious that it was festering in my mind since I heard it earlier in the week. I thought I would throw it in here and see what we get!

  • SilverGirl
    20 June 2007

    The colours are fantastic, but the 2 side columns on the right are really cramming the space 😕

    And your blog’s title can hardly be read.


  • sillybahrainigirl
    20 June 2007

    Lovely new frock you have on!! I like it a lot!

  • Simon Columbus
    20 June 2007

    Featured article is a great thing for discussions, very well.

    And the collage in the header is fine, I like it. The photo with Filbert is sweet… But I’ll never understand what’s so interesting in motorsports.

    And I don’t think two sidebars are too big. Maybe one looks better, but there’s so much to stuff in it…

  • Mike Knight
    21 June 2007

    Hiya Mahmood….

    I prefer sans serif – it just reads better on a PC monitor for my old eyes…

    I also concur that you might consider changing the column widths so that your blog text takes up more of the available space….

    The new heading banner is cool – yes, it would be nice to see the Bahrain flag ghosted behind you – in colour.

    I think you might get better clarity for your caption on the right of the banner if all the words were in white – not just Mahmood’s Den – it would also add to the clarity if you upped the font size so that the text started just to the right of you and Filbert, and ended at the same place it is now…

    Finally – and this is my old eyes advising me again…. The white background gives off quite a glare – ever considered going the other way round? Dark background and white or yellow text?

    Always happy to try and give you more work to consider :mrgreen:

    Best wishes,


  • mahmood
    21 June 2007

    What have you guys got against Serifed fonts? Almost all papers use it and the little serifs are actually easier on the eyes! I think it’s quite distinctive and even classy, wait until I change all the fonts to Courier!


  • mahmood
    21 June 2007

    I’ve done a Google hunt to see if there is any good reference for or against the use of Serif vs Sans Serif fonts and I found this whose conclusion is interesting and suggests there is virtually no difference as far as legibility is concerned and all the difference is based on aesthetic grounds.

    I’ve also looked at 4 world newspapers and heres what I found:

    The Times (UK) and The Guardian (UK) both use serif for headings and sans-serif for content; while

    The New York Times and the Washington Post (USA) reverse that completely and use sans-serif for headings and serif for content!

    My design, intentionally, is to use a larger than usual font for content (Mike will be happy, as I am with this!) but use sans-serif for the sidebars as fonts there are smaller, and I find sans-serif fonts easier to read at those point sizes.

    This arrangement will stay for a while at least, until I change my mind about things!

  • can we talk
    22 June 2007

    much better now. still missing the posting times, though. you see we get used to something and then we’re spoilt. you’ve set very high standards!!!

  • mahmood
    22 June 2007

    ah, that’s easily fixed.. let me get on that right now…

  • can we talk
    22 June 2007

    brilliant customer service, i see… ta

  • Ibn
    22 June 2007

    Mahmood must be thinking, “Give them a blog and they want the moon!!” haha! 😛


  • mahmood
    22 June 2007

    Hey, not a problem! 🙂

What goes around, comes around