Last night at Nerd Club, Eric and I hacked a patch of mine in to RubyGems. We made gems use net/http rather than open-uri for downloading gem information. I configured net/http to use a persistent connection, and now those little dots should move a lot faster in the next release of RubyGems. Eric was also able to pull open-uri out of gems. Yay!
I hope that gets released soon. Those slow dots irritate me so much!