One Softimage feature which I've felt was sorely lacking in Maya (apart from ICE of course) is the awesome interactive viewport renderer. This thing is super functional- you can quickly via shortcut make a little region render in full persp view to see how one little aspect of your scene is looking, or drag a rectangle over everything for a full render without needing to open up the render view and close it back down again. The benefit is that it doesn't interrupt you by taking you out of your normal working view. Going back to Maya and dealing with the render view panel feels really unintegrated and clumsy by comparison.
So how happy was I when I saw that someone over at Therenderblog has developed a Softimage style viewport render tool for Maya, which theoretically will work with any renderer of your choice and will help educate you about scripting Python tools in Maya to boot?