my isp (ubuntu) has command "read" which has a -t timeout option as well as a character specification option. READ doesn't have a MAN entry, but i typed "help read" to find out what it has. Not sure if it will work though, haven't tested it using the timeout feature. -edit- update - yeah, this seemed to work: read -t 5 -n 1 testing limits to 1 char, 5 seconds value into $testing
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