System Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard tab > Show keyboard . . . in menu bar > click on the icon that appeared in the menu bar > click on Show Keyboard Viewer > a keyboard will appear on screen > hold down the shift key or fn key or option key and watch the keyboard change; when you want to use a certain key you see, go into a Word doc (or whatever), hold down the key you were holding down and press the desired key on the keyboard to get that character.If you have any questions, ask.
1) Just use Alt + N and you will get a tilde.This does not seem to work, at least in OS X Mountain Lion on the two laptops I tried. Alt+N followed by n is apparently a shortcut for producing an accented character tilde-over-n, but Alt+N within OVDC does not result in a plain tilde character.
2) Double check system prefs/speech to make sure that has not been set as the trigger for either Text to Speech or Speech Recognition. // if the first step is not workingThis was a good idea, but we confirmed that it isn't a trigger. In fact, the plain tilde key on the keyboard works just fine within Mac OS's terminal. One can type "ls ~/stuff" just fine within the Mac OS terminal, but typing the same sequence of keys within OVDC results in "ls /stuff" without the tilde.
3) Apple Support says:This works, but it is a very painful way to type. Using copy-and-paste to get a tilde is our current workaround, and that is bad enough.