By Samantha Miller
October 16, 2000 12:00 PM

Game Tamer

Anyone for checkers? Pogo.com’s Nick Rush says you don’t need an arsenal to win on the Web

Doom? Outgunned. Duke Nukem? Dethroned. Today, many of the most popular online games aren’t ultraviolent shoot-’em-ups—they’re grandparent-friendly favorites like bingo, bridge and backgammon. Who’d have thunk it? Nick Rush, that’s who. The former TV writer transformed the once trigger-happy games site pogo.com into a mayhem-free hit with 12 million cribbage-and checkers-loving members. “It all makes such good fun,” says Rush, 49, who developed game shows (none of his pilots caught on) and wrote for Wonder Woman and Starsky & Hutch before becoming a high-tech exec. (Among his coups: helping to create the popular Flying Toasters Screensaver and the bestselling trivia game You Don’t Know Jack). As pogo’s programming chief since June 1999, the Clayton, Calif., father of four (wife Lynda, 41, is a homemaker) focuses on “pushing the envelope” on classics, he says. One winning innovation: letting players chat during card games. All except solitaire, that is.

My Favorite Sites

Lisa Ling

“Friends and I used to go into chat rooms together and provoke someone to have cybersex with us,” confesses the cohost of ABC’s The View. Today Ling, 27, is more of a capitalist than an exhibitionist. The self-proclaimed “stock market junkie” trades online at tdwaterhouse.com and pays her bills at moneycentral.msn.com. “I don’t do everything on one site because there are just particular things about particular sites that I prefer,” explains Ling, who admits she may be getting a tad obsessive: “Sometimes when I can’t sleep, I want to see how my portfolio is doing. At 3 in the morning, I can check stock quotes.”

Internet Manners

I’m 13. I got into trouble with the Internet and my mom took it away from me. I want her to trust me again. What can I do?

Bringing home straight A’s and volunteering to scrub the bathroom wouldn’t hurt. More to the point (assuming your “trouble” didn’t reach the level of, say, hacking into the Pentagon): Your mom could use software to monitor your Net moves, but a simpler, less sneaky solution would be for you to offer to move the computer to the family room (if it’s not there already) and go online only when she’s there to occasionally peek over your shoulder. Which you will promise not to whine about.

If I’m sending e-mail to several people, should I list them in any specific order?

It’s not absolutely necessary, but for extra politeness points, list recipients in alphabetical order (or any order that makes sense, like seniority). If you do it haphazardly, recipients might suspect you listed your favorites first.

Click and Get It

Touched? Buy an Angel

Da Vincis they obviously ain’t, but it’s for a good cause: Original drawings of angels by stars including Roma Downey, Fran Drescher Liza Minnelli, Jane Seymour, Sopranos capo James Gandolfini and Will & Grace’s Eric McCormack will be on the online auction block through Oct. 11 at quicken.com/angel. Proceeds from the auction (as well as from sales of dollar bills adorned with Drescher’s doodle, winner of a surfers’ vote) will benefit the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Cyberlaw: The Verdict

Whether you want to write your will or hire a personal Perry Mason, legal Web sites can help—but which pass the bar? Online asked CNN legal eagle Greta Van Susteren for a briefing. She favors FindLaw.com (“great links”) and Nolo.com for learning about legal issues, though she warns against Nolo’s emphasis on do-it-yourself law. “It’s high risk,” she says. “As a lawyer, I wouldn’t represent myself.” Van Susteren, 46, who holds court at CNN.com/law, also lauds lawyers.com’s referral service and calls FreeAdvice.com’s legal-guidance bulletin boards “intriguing—I like to see what people are posting.” But reasonable doubt should prevail: “You shouldn’t rely on the Internet to be your final answer.”

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