The Realm of the Verbal Processor

Jarvis's Ramblings

Better Subselect Queries

Earlier this week was the January meeting of the Minnesota System Center User Group. Our content this month was centered around writing queries and troubleshooting tips. During the discussion, I was demonstrating how to create a subselect query using the ConfigMgr GUI. This was something that I blogged about almost two years ago…mainly as a thank you to Rod Trent for a fantastic post that he had done way back in 2001. Rod’s post put the creation of subselect queries on the bottom shelf for those of us who aren’t strong in SQL. Note: a subselect query is a “not” query…i.e. return all systems that do not have xyz.

One of the really cool things about our user group is that we have two guys who are Microsoft MVPs for ConfigMgr…Brian Mason and John Nelson from Wells Fargo. If you know anything about John Nelson…it’s that he is a freak of nature when it comes to creating insane queries in ConfigMgr. And yes…in this instance the term “freak of nature” is a high compliment!

So…frequently as we would talk about a particular query or way of searching for something…after we had a workable query, we would ask for input from John on how to improve the query. He had lots of very useful input…including on subselect queries. After the meeting while talking with Brian and John, we discussed creating an updated post on subselect queries…so here goes…

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January 30, 2010 Posted by | ConfigMgr | 26 Comments

“Green” Dish Detergent?

This morning I went to get a plastic cup out of our dishwasher that had just finished running. When I pulled it out, the cup was still dirty…it felt slimy or greasy. It actually made me wonder if we had forgotten to put detergent in the dishwasher when we ran it. I checked and we had put detergent in from a newly opened box. The fact that it was a new box triggered my memory…

I had seen a few news articles last year about some areas passing laws limiting or banning the use of phosphates in dishwasher detergent. In the articles I had seen about states banning phosphates, people quickly found out that their dishes weren’t getting clean. Some residents in Washington state were headed across the border into Idaho to buy detergent.

I checked the box and found the proud proclamation in very tiny print on the back of the box: “Contains no phosphates!” We ran the dishwasher a second time. Same result. I then loaded up my son and headed to Target to see if any other dish detergent had phosphates. After grabbing a box of Cascade that does have phosphates we once again have clean dishes.

I’ve seen the “green” initiatives that are driving the phosphate free dish detergent bans. I support conservation. My family recycles (even with the convoluted restrictions on what can/cannot be recycled in our area). I am very conscious of gas mileage and how the way I drive affects that. I do my best to waste as little as possible. However…if I have to wash a load of dishes multiple times with the phosphate free detergent (and then again with detergent that actually gets the job done)…is that really “green”?

A Sierra Club page claims: “Safe, effective, phosphate-free detergents are already on the market and among the most effective, according to Consumer Reports.” They don’t link to anything by Consumer Reports. After my experience (and the experience of those traveling across state lines to buy detergent) I seriously question the term “effective” in that quote. Matter of fact I found a reference to a Consumer Reports article on dish detergents from August 2009 that stated “Detergents without phosphates … tended to perform worst overall.”

January 30, 2010 Posted by | Misc | 3 Comments