I tried to start learning Ruby by installing Ruby & Rails on XP, and it
has been very frustrating so far.  Any remote gem installs failed at
the following step,

Updating Gem source index for: http://gems.rubyforge.org

It seems to me a very common problem on XP since the same problem
occurs on 3 different XP machines, XP Home SP1, XP Pro SP1, and XP Pro
SP2.  However, I couldn't find any answers to this problem after
googling many hours on the net.  Someone mentioned that it is related
to ZoneAlarm, but I do not have that on any of the XP machines.  Two XP
boxes use my home network, and the other one is my office machine.
None of them uses a proxy for Internet access.  The following simple
test program also hangs on these machines,

require 'net/http'
puts 'connecting...'
Net::HTTP.start('www.google.com') do |http|
   response = http.get('/index.html')
   puts response.code
end

The internal HTTP server comes with Rails also hangs and does not
respond to any browser requests.  I could not Ctrl-C to kill the
process either. The problem was finally resolved by using my old NT
machine on the same home network which the other two XP share.  "gem
update --system" and "gem install rails" all worked smoothly w/o any
problems.  The test program also ran and displayed the response code
right away.  Rails HTTP server works perfectly as well.  I  don't use
my NT machine nowadays, so it would be very cumbersome to try out rails
on that machine every time.  It will be really appreciated if someone
can help me out here.

Thanks,
Barry