Happy Veterans day everybody. New York had its largest military parade ever. An F-16 was dragged up the Fifth Avenue. In Washington D.C. Clinton revealed a brand new monument to the World War II heroes. In the meantime his government is scheduled to shut down Monday at midnight. For us from former countries this is nothing new. We are intrinsically familiar with large military parades and with governments shying away from daily problems into safety of the indisputable victory carved in bronze or marble monuments, distinctively present rather everywhere in our former countries. Also, government shut-downs are a prosaic event for us coming from countries that shut-down altogether. The emphasis in "former countries" is on "former".

Meanwhile in Sarajevo, the city in which two world wars - the first and the third - started, the Veteran's day was not missed either: veterans of United Nations Protection Forces celebrated the day at Sarajevo soccer stadium. Honor salvoes from Serbian controlled surrounding mountain-tops were greatly missed. It seems that they run out of ammo.

In Israel, a country with sure a lot of veterans from all the wars they fought, the Vet-day was overshadowed by mourning for their dead president, who was shot a week ago by a fellow Jew. The killer used hollow-point bullets, the kind that is prohibited by world conventions even in the open warfare against enemies, the kind that was often used in the war in Croatia and Bosnia. He said that maybe God guarded his murderous hand. He said that maybe God steered his fatal two bullets through Rabin's spleen, spine and major arteries. Curiously, killer's enemies from Hamas and Hizzbolah, and even the Iran's foreign minister said that - yes - his act might be the implementation of the will of God. It is so relieving to see Jews and Arabs united at last. Rabin's death revealed that this was the same God that both Jewish and Arab extremists worship, the same God worshiped by Serb, Croat and Muslim war criminals - a long-forgotten ancient war-monger bloodthirsty deity that demanded a human sacrifice at its unholy altar.

I was absent for a while because I was finishing the Peacenet's Balkan Resources web page.

Also, I was (am) injured. It happened a day before Rabin was shot. I probably hated the whole Israel because one Israeli coned me, and then when I became angry, his employee tackled me. When an eighty pounds heavier object runs into you full-speed (20 mph, I guess) from your back, and you don't see it, so you don't expect it, then you usually fall awkwardly and injure yourself. I badly sprained my ankle, calf and knee (left leg). So, I had even more time to write - but no will to do it. I always become so depressed when I am injured. So, now I feel a little better, and here it is.

This is a complete story of my ordeal with Compumart America, located at 32nd street between 6th and 7th avenue in New York:

Chronology of lies, ignorance, indolence and incompetence:

  1. I requested graphics card with VRAM and they ("they" here always means Compumart) gave me graphics card with DRAM (VRAM is better than DRAM, and I have been charged for VRAM). I noticed the problem immediately and told them. They put a new card in (with VRAM).
  2. Their manager (Joey) would lock up my credit card every time I gave him to sweep it through the machine, by sweeping it through several times (or trying to charge more than the credit limit). Finally, he charged me $100 more than the price we agreed upon, when I took the computer. I noticed the mistake immediately and complained. He credited this money back to my credit card a month later.
  3. Mouse that I initially got was really bad (it barely moved) so I requested and got a new one (but why should I go through the pains of exchanging everything that I bought?).
  4. Video capture board that I initially got could not capture live video, so I returned it and I agreed to buy a new one at a premium. That one was supposed to work.
  5. Modem that I initially got came with a manual which said "data/fax modem" and no listed phone numbers. Modem did not work with my software. Joey claimed it was a Hayes modem. When I confronted him with a proof that it was not a Hayes modem, he said it was a Microcom modem. It was not. Later he abandoned that claim either and agreed to exchange the modem.
  6. Intermittent problems existed with the system in general: unless I bypassed ms-dos the dos diagnostic system could not recognize my Pentium cpu. Instead it said it was 486 dx cpu.
  7. I was consistently lied to about the manufacturer of the motherboard: Joey claimed that the manufacturer was first AST, then Acer. However, Acer customer service informed me that they do not use third party bios - while my computer had Awards bios, which meant it definitely wasn't Acer motherboard.
  8. When I bought additional 4 MB of RAM, two times in the row I was supplied with a module that did not work in my system. Finally I consulted myself with a technical support guy at another computer vendor and he told me that Pentium computer's RAM has to be upgraded in pairs. Otherwise the upgrade will be unrecognized by the system. When I told that to Joey at Compumart, and when I gave him exact code of the product I need, he got it. But wasn't the Compumart's technical support supposed to know such a basic information?
  9. New video capture card never worked correctly on my system, which suggested bad hardware architecture. Finally my system crashed in an A20 Hardware Error. Apparently, this destroyed some vital dos instructions, and Windows could not be started any more. They remained persistent that this is nothing more than a software problem that I caused and the only remedy they offered is reformatting my hard drive and getting rid of disk compression. I agreed to that and even purchased a new, larger hard drive. The newly installed system didn't work either. So, finally they agreed to change the motherboard and the bios.
  10. New bios (Phoenix) works better (at least it recognizes my processor under DOS). But the motherboard, although different, is still from the same manufacturer: SIS, and debilitating conflicts persistently reappear in my system:
         * video capture board is not recognized on the system
         * midi mapper for sound card is not recognized
         * works only with Windows based programs
    For a reason that they did not fully explain to me Com 2 port on the new motherboard is not available to peripheral devices, so I had to put the modem on Com 3 port. The jumper settings on my modem and the overall configuration of my computer do not allow to have IRQ in range 1-4 with Com 3 port (so I have it at irq 5), but communications programs written for DOS require for irq to be in 1-4 range.
  11. Although problems with Windows are software problems - I can't be responsible for them, since Windows were pre-installed for me by the same brilliant technician who screwed up the rest of the computer. Microsoft does not provide support if DOS and Windows came pre-installed in the computer. Instead, in that case Microsoft leaves the customer support to the equipment manufacturer who pre-installed Windows. Therefore, Microsoft authorized a few dozens manufacturers to pre-install Windows. The manufacturers that were authorized to pre-install Windows and provide customer support got that authorization since Microsoft tested its Operating System (DOS) and Operating Environment (Windows) on their hardware products (motherboards) to assure compatibility. Other manufacturers are not tested and may be not fully compatible with Microsoft products - hence, they are not authorized to pre-install Windows. If they do so, they are solely responsible to provide support with Windows. Therefore, Compumart's responsibility is to assist its customers with both their hardware and software problems while under warranty. Joey, however would like rather to avoid that responsibility. Furthermore, I requested that motherboard be fully compatible with DOS and Windows (from a Microsoft authorized manufacturer), and I was scammed.
  12. During Windows setup vendor should create directories on the hard drive that correspond to the Windows installation disks, so that customer may change configuration, run setup again and customize his/hers Windows. Compumart did not create those directories on my system, so I fully depended on their technical support, which was indolent and incompetent. I doubt even that Compumart has any legal right to install Microsoft products on its merchandise. If necessary that should be checked with Microsoft. We may cc: the letter to Microsoft.
  13. When I picked up the computer after the "repair", Louis, Compumart's resident computer engineer, told me that he changed jumpers on my modem to Com port 3, because Com port 2 was hogged by my new motherboard and thus unaccessible to peripheral components. The modem, however, did not work. Nor did any other peripheral component, except mouse, work at the time my computer was officially repaired. When I checked the jumper settings on modem they were Com3/irq2. Interrupt (irq) settings 2 is usually not permitted on 286 and above systems (like mine is), because irq 2 is used as a 'cascade interrupt' to the 8 higher interrupts (irq 8-15). This information was provided for me by the CompuServe Windows Users Forum support personnel. They were also quite surprised that somebody who makes computers would do such a mistake. Later I switched jumpers settings to com3/irq5 on modem and from irq5 to irq10 on sound card, so they work now. However this all created unnecessary expenses for me (CompuServe bill, long distance calls to California - where most of the computer factories are, and to Canada - where the ATI is). When somebody spends $ 3,500 on a machine, he expects to plug it in the wall at home and turn it on - NOT to spend another two months trying to figure it out how to make it work.
  14. Since the ATI Video-It video capture card never worked in my newly installed system I spent two months consulting with ATI on what to do, and finally they accepted the card for repair. The card was found OK and returned to me. On its way back it was lost by UPS. Finally when it reached me, it did not work in my system again. The card is simply not recognized in my computer, and the ATI technical support exhausted all suggestions. So, I decided that it makes no sense to have a $400 worth hanging in my computer doing nothing. But, when I tried to return the card to them (Compumart), they didn't want to take it without original packaging, that was long gone. Nobody can expect from people who live on Manhattan to keep packaging in their apartments for five or so months. That was only their excuse to refuse giving the refund. Also, Joey again lied that they gave me an Acer motherboard (with Phoenix bios?), and he tried to convince me that I exchanged Studio Magic for Video-It after the new motherboard was installed - which is incorrect: I did it a month before the first configuration crashed, and Compumart technical staff failed to test if it worked with new configuration before coercing me to take my computer back. To add an insult to the injury Joey speculated that I might be done doing what I wanted with the Video-It card and now wanted my money back. Resulting quarrel lead to Joey's unyielding and inappropriate questioning of MY credibility based on my haircut. After I did a few irrational things in the store (like wanting to video-tape Joey saying what he has to say, knocking things of his table, spitting on his right arm and knocking a TV of the shelf), a heavy-set employee run in me full-speed from my back. So, now I can add a physical injury to this sad list of a vendor misconduct: left knee and left ankle are strained, and I have difficulty walking (I can't walk without crutches), I can't go to my job and I have no health insurance.


Since these problems obviously lead deep into basic hardware (ans now also into my bodily functions), and since the vendor did not demonstrate any trustworthiness, I see no other option but to ask for a full refund. Also, this goes on far too long. It should be considered that I bought this computer with intend to do business (Web page design) - the intent which was severely obstructed by those persistent problems, so I suffered other grave losses related to owning this computer. Therefore I believe that Compumart has also to pay any accrued interest charges on credit cards I used to buy their computer. Plus charges that might be incurred by medical expenses.