Sadly, the word has lost it's original meeting because so-called consultants and trainers have turned "agile" into the buzzword du jour. It has been turned into a rigid set of must follow ceremonies, mostly coming from Scrum, which totally violate the original principles of the agile manifesto. If you feel daily meetings are useful do them. Personally, in my 30+ years of experience, the best way to ensure good communication (for after all that is a key agile principle) is to have the whole project team work in the same room and to use a good tracking system. As the manager/leader I half listen to the conversations going around the room and intervene when I think my input is useful or necessary or make sure people who arent in the conversation who need to be, join in. The tracking system keeps everyone focused and informed on what's important. That, along with the whip hand of a good QA manager who ensures things don't fall between the cracks. Formal meetings are important at iteration kickoffs and to discuss complex issues with customers. A strong leader will ensure meetings are short and to the point whether they take place standing or sitting.
I also live a block from Wall Street & agree with the above - mostly. The fact is there never were "thousands" flooding the street - at most a few hundred and that only at the height. However, there IS a legitimate critique of US "capitalism" that can make you appreciative of productive companies like Apple while strongly opposing the predatory financialization of the world economy. Read Keen, Hudson and Graeber for thoughtful analysis on this. "Wall Street" is the name of that predatory economy that needs to be shut down, even if one is appreciative of markets and productive corporations, and understands the use of real banks and capital in creating a better life. however, I don't think the protestors are all that bright or have a clear critique and a vision of an alternative system. The fact that when I visited Liberty Park and heard and saw either Ron Paul libertarians or new agee types was enough for me to see just how sad and pathetic these protestors are. It also annoys me that when some white middle class girl gets pepper sprayed it's all OMG and everybody & the media gets their panties in a twist, while ignoring the day to day brutality poor people have to put up with. And if the cops, instead of eating donuts and being fat pigs, stayed in shape, they could subdue protestors without having to use pepper spray. Seeing the NYPD occupying my neighborhood, does not instill much confidence in our "finest."
As someone who has worked in software development in various capacities for over thirty years, I find your comments puzzling and your concotenation of those three languages even more mysterious. If you are talking about the corporate world then please be aware change comes exceedingly slowly. COBOL and Fortran were king into the nineties. Now Java and C++ have replaced those two and aren't going anywhere- Java for enterprise business applications (with or without a web front end) and C++ for anything where performance is of the essence. Microsoft tried ton replace Java with
PHP is a whole different animal and really shouldn't be mentioned in the same breath as the other two languages. PHP was the choice language for web development for mom and pop sites (yea, yea I know, yahoo) and startup quick and dirty websites. Ruby became the platform that "cool" web developers came to prefer, so yes if you aren't interested in the corporate world, learn ruby and rails. Of course, since I pay less attention to that sector, maybe there is something newer and cooler these days.
Python should be in every programmers tool set because it is such a versatile tool. Unfortunately it's not enough in most cases for a guaranteed job.
Finally an intelligent comment. Think people. Last week IBM aligns itself with Oracle on Java. This week Apple drops its own version of Java. Ellison is pulling in all the sheep that wandered when Sun alienated the rest of the tech world. The only thing left is for him to make nice with Microsoft. Then Herr Schmidt, the ex-Sun guy, will find Google standing all alone in it's battle with Larry Ellison.
Also don't forget that Apple also sells servers and wants to get more into enterprise space (the Steve himself said so). Killing off Java on OS X would be an absurd move. They have killed off Apple branded Java and deprecated it for desktop apps. Thats not the same as deprecating Java on Mac OS X or restricting Java developers from using Macs as server software development platforms.
...by cutting our annual defense spending in half. We would still be spending $500 billion a year, more than any government any where ever (including the US just a few short years ago) so no one can argue we will be "less safe." Until tea par tiers get behind such a proposal their "anti-government" rhetoric is just that - hot air.
Or one can say Google continues to co-operate with Chinese censorship just making it slightly easier to get around for those who will make the effort not to use the default (and who would likely know how to get around the censorship anyway). Give up business with China or mollify authorities - not a tough choice for yet another big corporation.
In any case, the discussion between Joel and Dmitri has little or no relationship to the relative merits of Agile methods. Dmitri is just some relatively unknown consultant/guru and his individual opinion is just that. In fact, Joel didn't seem to be dissing Agile methods in general, at least not the way I read it. He is dissing Dmitri's doctrinaire approach.
Moreover, the whole discussion is far from illuminating since it is based on a totally hypothetical example. Give me a real world and specific example where we can get a concrete view of what the real priorities and politics of the situation are, and then we can form an opinion on how to behave. Dmitri in his response to Joel talks about
"trust." But if the customer involved is critical to the company, you can be sure as hell that the project manager would (justifiably) get his ass kicked if he ignored the sales request and got all touchy feely about "trust." On the other hand if this is some nundik sales person then it probably can and should be managed by the project manager.
Ultimately, Agile is all about human-centric. As such, you need to understand that organizational politics and behavior can be just as important to the success of a software project as the programming language you choose. Both Joel and Dmitri seem to be ignoring that.