A payload of a download

When the White House announced it was releasing the 2009 budget in electronic form only ' unless someone wants to cough up $213 for a printed version ' some wondered about the potential drain on bandwidth and work hours Feb. 4 as people pulled copies from Budget.gov.

But thanks to the compression features of PDF and a nicely arranged Web site, downloading the budget is no sweat. The budget ' four volumes and more than 2,000 pages in printed form ' is broken up on the site into scores of searchable PDF documents of each section or subsection. You can download only the parts you're interested in ' the Interior Department budget, for instance, or Fiscal 2009 Exhibit 300 Evaluation Criteria if so inclined. If you don't want to download, you can read and search the pages on the site. The budget is posted in HTML and PDF, and both versions are searchable. Supporting documents are in PDF only.

If you want the whole thing, you can download the budget and supporting documents in five large chunks: the 2009 Budget, Analytical Perspectives, supplemental materials to the Analytical Perspectives, Historical Tables and ' by far the largest chunk ' the Appendix.

We went the chunky way and braced for the ordeal. But downloading 2,642 pages in PDF took 4 minutes, 22 seconds with a standard, pedestrian home DSL connection, and that included time toggling back and forth to get each chunk. Total hard drive space occupied: 20.95M. Not too shabby.

About the Author

Kevin McCaney is editor of Defense Systems. Follow him on Twitter: @KevinMcCaney.

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