I want to hold the 'delete' key and delete characters more quickly than OSX Mavericks does by default. Something like Ubuntu, which delete really quickly. Any suggestions?!
Under System Preferences, click Keyboard, and adjust the "Key Repeat" speed (see below). Tested in Word and it does affect how quickly the delete key deletes characters when held down.
Alternatively, in the terminal you can enter
defaults write NSGlobalDomain KeyRepeat -int 0which is the fastest setting. The fastest exposed by System Preferences is 2 (log out and back in to see changes). See here: Mac OSX Hints
defaults write NSGlobalDomain InitialKeyRepeat -int 15can be used to change the delay before the repeat starts (default is 15).
For a graphical solution, see keyremap4macbook, detailed here.