Frequently Asked Questions (with Answers)

I thought my website would have been too simple to have generated questions anent the site & its author but several keep coming up. Here are a some answers:

Who are you?

My name is Andrew Hardwick. I am also known in various publications as variants including "Andrew John Hardwick", "Andrew J. Hardwick", "A. J. Hardwick", "A. Hardwick", "Dr. A. J. Hardwick" and the online pseudonym "Duramecho".

I suppose I should insert some biographical information here but I have not got around to it yet. I hate writing glowing CV-like reports about myself and a self-depreciating one on a public website might come back to haunt me :-) .

Does it matter anyway? The purpose of this website is to give useful and entertaining information away free to whoever wants it not for my self publicity. Indeed I kept the site anonymous for its first 6 years of existence as I thought it looked rather arrogant to have a personal website back in 2000 AD. However by the end of 2006 later it was normal for even school children to have public personal web sites, blogs, MySpace social networks and even YouTube video footage of themselves and instead an anonymous website looked weird so I retrospectively put my name to the web pages I have written.

If you want to find out more, I recommend that you use the contact form rather than the email address published on this site as that now gets so much spam that legitimate email can easily get lost in it.

Who are you not?

Unfortunately 'Andrew' is a very common English name & 'Hardwick' is moderately common so there there are confusingly many other 'Andrew Hardwick's on the WWW.

I am: not the lecturer in Warwick Business School; not the film producer who worked on 'Extraordinary Rendition'; not the artist of large impressionist scenery paintings; not the owner of the bouncy castle manufacturing company near Liverpool; not the accountant or the surveyor in Derby; not the surveying company director in Bristol; not the politician in Freeport; not the sales director in Southampton; not the architect in Italy; not the software architect in Oregon; not the promotional material writer in Melbourne; not the editor of a book anent therapy for troubled children; and not the creator of xenophobic petitions to the UK government online site whom I suppose is also the one on the 2008 leaked BNP membership list. Being confused with a bouncy castle making movie producing child therapist is probably not that bad but I don't want to be confused with the racist.

Why the pen-name 'Duramecho'?

I got it when I first set up a personal e-mail account. I set it up on Yahoo in the days when they still did free POP3/SMTP e-mail accounts. Although I had long been using email, I was late to setting up a Yahoo ID so I found my first name, surname, initials, university mainframe username and even surname spelt backwards had already been taken. To get a different word, I split my surname into syllables (which happen to be normal English words), translated them into Esperanto, recombined the words and transliterated it into the ASCII alphabet. I thought it was simple & obvious but only one other person has spotted that connection correctly so far without being told (although a couple have guessed via Portuguese in which the translation is similar). One colleague working on computer security even joked that it was virtually a multi-level encryption scheme!

Why did you publish this lot?

Simply because it might be of use to other people or might entertain them. I have learnt & obtained a lot for free from the WWW. Such a cooperative system works best if people give as well as take, ideally by helping out not just by paying for services commercially. The huge scales involved fortunately mean that the average amount a person need give is far less than what they take, but they should still give something. I have not had the dedication to get involved in any large freeware programming projects yet but I do have an odd mixture of little bits of knowledge that are might be helpful so I ought publish some of them. Hence this site.

How do you make money out of it without sales or advertising?

I don't. However it only costs about 25 GBP per year to rent the hard disk space and bandwidth for this website (even though it supports CGI scripting and subdomaining) and hosting of several of my email accounts plus about 12 GBP for the '.com' domain name rental. For over 17 years, it was hosted on UKServers.net via Virtual Names who were the cheapest I found in 2000 allowing CGI scripting and hosting of any file type (some rivals banned even very small program downloads & zipped archives at the time even if they were only a few kB). They have proved reliable & helpful since so I have kept with them until they were bought by Names.co.uk in 2018 who currently host it.

I could have made it even cheaper by using an Internet Service Provider's webspace (which is often at no extra cost if uploaded via the ISP) of course but that would have their address as the domain name which would change as ISPs change thereby messing up the bookmarks that people have made to this site. Another cheap alternative would be to use an Apache webserver on one of my own computers when this site started there was neither always-on home broadband here nor were there low power SSD based networked devices so it would have meant an energy inefficient desktop PC or similar constantly on.

Do you reply to emails?

I try to but my replies are often considerably delayed. The problem is spam. Currently I get about 30 items per day to the e-mail addresses published on this site. That is very little compared to a big business website but far more than than the zero per day which go to my personal email addresses. Every few months I get around to looking through the titles of the emails for ones which don't look like spam so I should find the genuine ones and reply to them but there is the possibility that some genuine email is accidentally thrown out with the spam. Please make the titles obviously relevant and specific to this site so they stand out from the generic "Hi", "About your site", "Re: your article" & "Thanks info@duramecho.com!" type titles automatically generated by spammers and don't get stopped by the automated spam-blocker.

However, please send non-spam e-mail if you want to & hopefully I'll get it. Most of the genuine e-mail I get is thanks (which is nice to receive) or questions (which are also nice, unless they are from students wanting their homework done for them!). A few are corrections which are useful because I am not a good proofreader.

The contact form is better to use than as that fast-tracks through my spam filtering.

Why is it 'duramecho.com' not 'duramecho.org'?

It is a free site not a business so it would more appropriately be '.org' instead of '.com' but this site has not always been this way. I first created a public personal web site in order to test out some CGI scripts when I was asked to make a sales website for a relation's intended organic Indian ready-meals manufacturing & delivery business (off-the-shelf sales website system were all 'shopping basket' style which was inappropriate for fast-food so he needed a bespoke one). Therefore 'duramecho.com' was originally commercial. However he switched from small deliveries to large scale manufacturing for supermarkets & restaurants and I did not want to make web pages as my job (easy money at the time but boring!) but I kept the domain for my free information pages.

As for the 'duramecho.info' option, which is probably the most apt, that was invented after this site was created.

Why is this site written in English?

It is in English simply because UK English is my native language. It is not because I did not realise that there are other languages or that I think the whole world should speak English. There was a lot I wanted to publish and I could write it fastest if I write it in my native language.

Apologies to those who need or prefer other languages. Originally I intended to at least translate some pages into Esperanto but over a decade later I still had not got round to publishing all I originally intended to publish even in English & machine translation has become adequate so doubt I will ever manually translate this site.

What is some of my nonstandard English?

Everyone has idioms but there are couple I deliberately use quite often which are sometimes wrongly considered mistakes:

Anent
It means 'about' in its sense of 'with the subject matter of'. It is a genuine English word (albeit archaic). All the common alternatives - 'about','concerning', 'regarding' & 'on' - are ambiguous as they have other common meanings so I sometimes use 'anent'. I get complaints wherever I use it, particularly when I tried to use it in academic papers where the literary conventions are as important for acceptance as the scientific content, but English really needs an unambiguous word for that meaning so I keep at it. Not all languages lack an unambiguous word for this, for example it is 'pri' in Esperanto.
No space in 'infront'
The spelling mistake of "infront" instead of the conventional English "in front" when used as the opposite of "behind" has been pointed out by readers of this site. I've mostly done it deliberately in my dance notes as it makes them clearer for quick reading both in being a single word to represent a single concept (like 'behind', which it is often paired with) and to avoid "in in" (as in "walk in in front of") which looks odd (and was wrongly flagged as an unignorable error in Microsoft Word for years). Elsewhere on the site, it is mainly a typo (although I still think it is clearer) from having used it so commonly in the dance notes.