I HATE COMPUTER SCIENCE 201!
"Architechture and Assembly language" **growl** A little from column (b), a LOT from column (a). Electrical engineering for computer science majors. Lovely. Did I mention that this class _FAILS_ half the students in it every semester? And that half of those are FAILING IT FOR THE SECOND TIME?! Well, I went and talked to a professor about it at least. Maybe the department will get a clue... some day.
Someone mentioned that it could be done server side. Of course you're right, the server can do ANYTHING - my example of slashboxes or netcenter channels is just a very sophisticated sort of server-side include. The idea here is doing it client-side. How can we get more intellegence into the client?
What I think would be really cool, is if ON YOUR HOME PC (none of this centralized "portal" crap) you could combine many inflowing information sources (CNN, Slashdot, Memepool, Sluggy Freelance) into a single page that is best laid out for YOU - personalized, managed by an intellegent agent, most useful to you, and best of all you can screen out the advertising :-)
I don't think the web is up to this. If HTML were a stronger metalanguage, meaning it described the MEANING of the data it wrapped tags around, then we'd be able to analyze so much more from the average HTML document. Modern HTML is a bunch of layout information with a few vestigal tags from the times people tried to make it mean something. <em> vs <i> anyone? Or <address>?
Whoops. Got a meeting to go to. More rants on this subject tomorrow :-)