I was in a meeting yesterday where we were discussing some of the things that get geeks like us (network engineers, system administrators, security folks, etc) excited about apps and tools. In thinking about this, I kept coming back to my favorite apps over the years and some of my most memorable moments using them.

To me, the coolest things about applications are those "undocumented features" and use cases. For example, I remember when I found the flight simulator in Microsoft Excel years ago. Dude was that cool! Or what about the first time that you figured out to use CTRL-T to open a new tab in Firefox? Heck, for an even less technical example, who remembers when you figured out that you could use your calculator to type words like "HELLO"?

I think this is also one of the main reasons that so many of us love Cisco IOS - because the longer you use it the more cool stuff you find that you can do. Even if you've been using it for years the folks at Cisco Systems keep putting in new features like NetFlow, IPSLA, and NBAR and so there's always something new to play with.

Since we're on the subject of undocumented features, here's one for Orion NPM. When viewing a report from the Orion website you can append these commands to the end of the URL to return the output in Excel or XML format, respectively:

&DataFormat=Excel
&DataFormat=XML

What are some of your favorite hidden features/cheats/tricks with the tools and apps that you use?


Flame on...
Josh
Follow me on Twitter