Seasonal sentiments.

(671 words; posted Saturday, Dec. 21; to be composted Saturday, Jan. 4)

OK, OK, Have It Your Way
     All of us who work at S
LATE continue to hear from friends and acquaintances who say they love the magazine–or at least, they think they might love it–but they refuse to read from a computer screen. Nor can they deal with the downloadable print-out file or the e-mail delivery, which we’ve tried our darnedest to make as easy as possible, and which we tout without mercy in this department week after week. They want their magazine printed on paper–and folded and stapled, to boot. They want it delivered to them by the post office. They don’t give a hoot about links and multimedia, and they aren’t satisfied with the monthly highlights edition–S LATE ON P APER–that we’ve been offering for the past few months. What can you do with such people? We took this question to Bill Gates, who had his usual three-word recommendation. (“But I don’t want to interfere, of course,” he humbly added.) We, however, have chosen a different strategy: Give the people what they want.
     So, starting in January, we will offer a weekly mailed edition of S
LATE. It will be more or less identical to the Friday print-out edition, which is also the edition we e-mail to readers. But it will be printed, stapled, and folded, just like a grown-up magazine, and it will then be entrusted to the tender mercies of the U.S. Postal Service. (To minimize delivery time, we will print and “drop” at three locations across the country.)
     The price is $70 a year, which is in the range of what weekly print magazines cost. Of course, that’s a bit more than the $19.95 a year S
LATE online will cost (beginning in February)–and S LATE online subscriptions will include free e-mail delivery and/or download of the print-out edition. But paper, printing, and postage cost money. To subscribe to the new weekly paper edition of S LATE, please call 800-555-4995. Operators are standing by (we hope). And it makes a great last-minute Christmas present!
LATE ON P APER, our monthly printed highlights edition, will cease publication with the January issue. Subscribers will get the weekly edition instead, at no additional charge during the period of their initial subscription. The new weekly printed S LATE will not be available at Starbucks or on newsstands, at least for now. But we hope that our various options–the online version, the offline reading version through FreeLoader, the daily print-out edition, the weekly e-mail delivery, and now the weekly mailed paper edition–will give anyone who wants S LATE a way to get S LATE.

A Geek Reaches Out
     Maybe a few Gutenberg holdouts will be enticed into cyberspace by S
LATE’s newest columnist, who begins this week. ” Webhead,” which will appear monthly, is written by S LATE Program Manager Bill Barnes. Those of us on the staff who are not natives of the Software Nation are not entirely sure what a program manager is, but he gives the impression of being someone quite important. At any rate, we were cowed into giving him this column. The idea, in a nutshell, is Internet techie stuff for nontechies. It will not be beneath our dignity to explain anything. And there will be lots of links to sites that demonstrate what is being described. See Bill’s first effort, where he defines and illustrates the concept of “push.” We think we get it …
Seasonal Sentiments
LATE is taking next week off. We hear there’s a holiday of some sort. The site will be open and featuring the current offerings; ” The Fray” will be churning with its usual discontents; and ” The Compost” will be available so you can catch up on articles you may have missed. New postings will resume the afternoon of Monday, Dec. 30. Meanwhile, Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Year from all of us at S LATE. We hope 1996 has been as exciting for you as it has been for us, and we hope your 1997–not to mention ours–is even better.

–Michael Kinsley