As a beginner with 2 wks experience I can say that ODBC usage is easy 
once you find the right info (DBI). You may want to search for OG (Object 
Graphing) which maps db's to objects and free's you from most/all SQL. So 
far I'm impressed as hell with the code reduction by converting to Ruby.

Now if only we could get these CS geeks to inject some "Newby Tips" when 
posting their hyper-meta-abstract creations ;-)