If you are completely unfamilliar to the maya interface, just keep those questions coming.
Here's some tips:
1) Holding shift while drawing curves, turns on a temporarily 90 degree snap, for making straight lines/curves.
2) Vertices can be moved with both the move tool AND the scale tool (when two or more vertices are picked).
3) The spacebar contains many "hidden" menues. With the spacebar you can access almost all the menu items (but not all).
In addition to menu access you can also set your view to ortho/persp or go to the hypershade (where you view/make your shaders/materials/textures). You can also change the screen layout with via the spacebar, although this is something I discovered two days ago
4) I use some special menus, which came with the book Maya Fundamentals; example; Holding down Ctrl+X+LMB brings up a menu for creating poly-objects. You can make such menus yourself if needed.
5) Some tools are quite handy when put onto the shelf for easy access and execution. Example;
-Center pivot point
-Duplicate x axis (or y or z)
-Show last hidden
Oh, and holding down Ctrl+Shift and picking a menu item creates a button on the shelf. Drag the button to the waste bin if you want to delete it.
But these are just my preferences.
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