To talk to a USB device you probably need to talk using the USB protocol (see libusb for details).
I've never come across anything that lets you treat it as a simple character-based device.
I was only attempting to do it by sending text to the device because I have seen that seem indicate that it should work. I have certainly had no success so far.
If I use libusb, can I do this from the Linux Shell or do I have develop an application? My experience with Linux it pretty well zero.