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this will increase the volume by 2 decibels on the pcm channel. the argument to -c is for which sound card to use, the arg after set is the channel (PCM, Master, etc.) and what to set by.
amixer -c 0 set PCM 2dB-
decrease volume by 2 decibels
amixer -c 0 set PCM toggle
this is for alsa systems
for mac os (and maybe other UNIX systems) osascript -e 'set Volume *' where * is any number (can have decimal points) between 0 and 10
after a terminal gets clobbered (like after you cat a binary file by accident), this is the only way to get it back without re-starting it.