For some reason he writes his server applications in ASP, embedding code in HTML, good grief. I did that for a year, even when I had learnt loads of tricks and quirks to get around the poor design and implementation of the platform it was still unproductive.
He uses outlook, despite admitting that it requires add-ons like lookout to do a halfway decent job of basic things like searching through mail. Admittedly he uses firefox and has dumped IE, but hey half of my family use firefox instead of IE on the internet so that is hardly ahead of the curve.
One day Joel might discover that actually the LAMP and related platforms and languages long ago solved most of the problems he bitches about. Evolution does outlook better and without the security holes, bugs and poor performance. Class::DBI and a hundred other perl and oss projects provide really good database abstraction with DBI, DBIx and other layers on the perl stack providing all he asks for when it comes to well integrated rdbms support.
Also some notes on Dynamic Web applications for Joel or any of his readers.. Its been done, repeatedly, accross browsers, using standards, its old hat, get with the program.
webtk is cross platform and I have seen our inhouse system by the same guy work cross platforms and browser and implement a full WindowManager and widget that can match most native UI's on Linux, windows and os X.
general interface provide just another bunch of activeX components - should I be impressed. DDJ is full of ads for that kind of crap and has been for ages.