Policy made plain.
Dec. 20 1998 3:30 AM

Instant Slate


As part of our continuing efforts to make it easier and more convenient to print out your favorite Slate features on (... what is that stuff called again? Oh, yes,) paper, we're pleased to announce, through a special arrangement with Hewlett-Packard, a nifty--and free--new bit of software from HP called Instant Delivery. It is a much simpler variation on HP's Web PrintSmart software described in "Readme" a few weeks ago. What makes it simpler is that we do most of the work. ("We" meaning Slate's self-sacrificing software development team, not the lazy, pig-ignorant journalists, let alone the business staff.)

With Instant Delivery, you can have Slate's "Today's Papers" waiting for you at your printer every morning. Your computer will automatically dial up (if necessary), connect to the Web, download Today's Papers (in a specially formatted edition for printing out), and send it to your printer. We plan to make other Slate features available this way in the coming months.

Actually, once you have installed HP Instant Delivery, you can use it to schedule automatic printouts of any page on the Web--including other pages of Slate. But they won't be formatted for printing out, you'll have to do the scheduling yourself, and the pages must have unchanging URLs (Web addresses). (HP's other software, Print Smart, solves the formatting and URL problems at the cost of formidable complexity. But do give that one a try, too, if you're feeling ambitious. My earlier Readme explains how.

Go to this special page of Slate for complete instructions on downloading, installing, using Instant Delivery, and a technical support phone number. The download button will take you to HP's site (in most cases in a separate browser window), and you'll have to get back to Slate for the button that schedules Today's Papers. But we know you can handle that. So please give it a try.

Only the Weak Skip the Week

Lesser magazines in lesser media are known to take a week off during Christmas and New Year. Not so Slate. We will publish complete issues for the next two weeks. Well, when we say "complete" we should add that--strictly for the convenience of our readers, you understand, who will be busy roasting turkeys, fighting with relatives, etc.--the next two issues will be just slightly less overloaded than usual with journalistic riches. And--purely so that you can get some Slate reading in before the hordes descend--our staff will be closing next week's issue on Wednesday, Dec. 23, and the following week's on Thursday, Dec. 31. We'll combine those two issues for e-mail subscribers in a special Slate on Paper, which will be e-mailed Dec. 31. No, don't thank us. Merry Christmas.

Michael Kinsley is a columnist, and the founding editor of Slate.