Thank you Paul and others for all your invaluable input!

I considered using pycurl and it looks like this a bit of an overkill for my purpose (which is to simply tickle an external URL). At the same time I guess nobody would argue that that this is the most straightforward way. I agree with Chris though that it would not harm to add a possibility to adjust the timeout on the level of Request object in urllib2.

Thanks again for your kind and quick help.

Paul Winkler wrote:
FWIW, the last time I did something like this I ended up using
pycurl ( http://pycurl.sourceforge.net/ ).
I don't have that code any more (it belongs to a former employer)
but it was pretty easy to get working, it supported timeouts,
it was fast, and it worked with a cantankerous proxy server setup that
broke httplib.  (discussion here:
http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-list/2005-April/275678.html )

-PW

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