Sometimes it gets very frustrating searching through the metadata of Oracle to find what what I want, particularly since I don't have the shell handy. Getting tired of this, I wrote a simple Perl program, qsql which allows me to execute a lot of queries without using Oracle's pitiful SQLPlus. After fine-tuning it, I realized that most of the things I need to use it for are amenable to further tweaking. I can now do things like:
$ desc ti_releases | grep COUNTRY_ID
ti_releases.COUNTRY_ID NOT NULL VARCHAR2(5)
Want a quick description of every table whose name contains the word "product"?
$ for table in `tabs product`; do desc $table; done;
And then I can grep for the fields I am really looking for. It's the full power of bash with most of my most commonly needed database search tools.