In Brief: Nov. 20, 2000

GRINCH ME! Bored at work? With IM Games' new instant-messenger versions of classic board games, you can grab a buddy for checkers, chess and backgammon any time of the day or night. Just download the free software from flipside.com and you can play checkers in real time with anybody on your buddy list (special game pieces for the holidays feature the Grinch and Cindy-Lou Who). One downside: the games are only for ICQ users. Everyone else will have to find some other way to kill time.

ON THE RECORD Secretaries who take dictation may have gone the way...

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