Two minutes later I got an Email informing me that I had won one of their fifth prizes, a PowerVault RD1000. Now if you're a lot like me, you would naturally have two thoughts:
- Isn't it nice to get instant notification that you've won something?
- What the heck is a PowerVault RD1000?
Now it happens that I recently decided I need 160MB of disk drive backup for my audio files. There's a very sweet recent product that's portable and handy, the Western Digital Passport USB drive. (Several other companies, such as Iomega, make similar drives.) My first reaction was great joy; I did not have to buy that drive, I would use my prize instead.
Well first of all, note that the prize drive is half the space I think I need. Disk Cartridge prices are very high for the RD1000, and prices for the Passport drive are remarkably low. The bottom line here is that disk drive prices drop very, very fast over time. The RD1000, a year-2006 product, cannot easily compete with newer disk drives. Now I'm obligated to pay taxes on my prize if I receive it, and its estimated value is $299. The tax on this drive compares closely with the price of newer disk drives, and the newer drives are likely to be more convenient to carry around and use on multiple systems.
This is the most valuable prize I've ever won in a contest, and I turned it down. I'm going to buy a 160MB drive instead.