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:
- 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).
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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.