Hi everyone.

I'm making my second big attempt in getting into Ruby, and I have a
couple of questions.  I hope they don't sound too trivial.

1.  I was wondering what the state is of Ruby and support for Unicode?
 For instance, I'm coming mostly from Python which has a special
Unicode type that can be translated to various encodings on request. 
I can't seem to find anything similar in Ruby.  Does it exist
anywhere, or is it standard to deal with Unicode in a completely
different way, or is it something that hasn't been developed at this
point?

2.  What are the most definitive references for Ruby and the standard
libraries that are available?  I've found the reference at RubyCentral
to be very helpful (http://www.rubycentral.com/ref/), but it also
seems to be missing things here and there.  On the other hand, it's
possible that I'm completely mis-reading it.

For instance, I found out about the Singleton module completely by
chance while reading this group.  It certainly appears to work in my
Ruby 1.8.1 interpreter, but I can't seem to find it formally described
anywhere.  I know what I've seen of it, but I don't know what else it
might have to it.  I also wonder about all of the other things I could
be missing out on.


Thanks in advance for the help.  I really like Ruby as a language and
I hope I'll be able to use it for some things later on.  I'm just
interested to find out if these things are still in early stages of
development, or if I'm simply missing things.

Thanks.
Mike.