JM> Yes.  MUCH faster! :
JM> /usr/bin/time ~/junk.rb
JM> 4.95user 0.04system 0:04.99elapsed 99%CPU (0avgtext+0avgdata 0maxresident)k
JM> 0inputs+0outputs (227major+6463minor)pagefaults 0swaps

JM> Oh, and it consumes much less memory than the perl and python
JM> versions:
JM> ruby: 27M
JM> perl: 105M
JM> python: 39M

Ooops.  I was futzing around with the script and wasn't running the
same thing, here is the real result:

/usr/bin/time ~/junk.rb
5.60user 0.20system 0:05.80elapsed 99%CPU (0avgtext+0avgdata 0maxresident)k
0inputs+0outputs (1020major+12932minor)pagefaults 0swaps

process size was 51M

It's still nice.

sorry about that.
-joe