At a little after 10am on Wednesday morning, the entire Australian academic community launched what amounted to a distributed denial of service attack on the Federal Government’s ARC web site. The reason? The ARC had just announced the Discovery grants for 2005, and everybody was trying to download the document to see if they were among the lucky awardees. Jaga was. So congratulations to her. In the end, the UQ research office sent us an Excel file with the list of all the UQ projects which will receive funding. I only managed to download the entire document from the ARC today! Anyway, we just had some cake to celebrate.
The government needs to think seriously about a better way to distribute this information. By one o’clock on Wednesday, I was pulling my hair out in frustration when, for the umpteenth time, the ARC server decided to close my HTTP connection. The closest I got to downloading the whole PDF document on Wednesday was 58% at 3 o’clock. I gave up trying. Perhaps Bit Torrent should be considered as a viable alternative to HTTP for this kind of thing?