> Please let me know how to practice basic Ruby? What type of
> applications you wrote to practice and what topics you consider
> important before jumping to Rails?

Can't help with rails but here are a couple of fun ideas:

1. A tiny text-based game using the socket library (networked hunt the
  wumpus?)  Using the network is pretty easy in ruby if you are used to
  doing it via the operating system.

2. Text-mode mandelbrot fractal.  Easy if you were to only use one
character.

Damnit now I want to code these things.

Cheers
Johnny