Welcome to the Jungle!

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For me, one of life's best surprises is unfolding a wadded, crinkly, stiff $20 bill that I find in the pocket of my pair of freshly washed jeans. This treat -this reward for something I had forgotten about doesn't happen to me often because my limited cash keeps me so attentive to its whereabouts. But when I do find a washed bill, the feeling is sweet and you can bet that I'm fixin' to spend the cash like it was "extra" all along!

I once felt a surprise euphoria greater than discovery of forgotten money in my pocket. I was driving car three in a five car pile up on the freeway. I was unhurt, but my car was totaled -complete with smashed-in trunk and hood scrunched to an inverted "v." I called my insurance company to report the accident and file a claim. I discovered that my coverage was far better than I had remembered. My deductible was smaller than I expected and my policy included car rental. I thought it must be a mistake, but it wasn't. Over time and after the trauma of the accident, I had completely forgotten the insurance policy for which I had signed up. The better-than-expected policy sure helped my emotional and financial recovery.

I've found a tool you can use now, forget about, and ensure a similar euphoria for yourself later. It's called Jungle Disk (jungledisk.com). I've longed for a reliable service like this for years and when I read about it I couldn't sign up fast enough.

Jungle Disk is an Amazon.com-backed, secure, storage system that will back up some or all of your computer files without using tapes, CDs, external hard drives or flash devices. Jungle Disk encrypts and stores files safely online at Amazon's datacenters.

With Jungle Disk, you won't have to push buttons, buy blank media or remember backup schedules. It installs, then shows up as a virtual drive on your computer (PC, Mac and Linux). You select folders or files on your computer for automatic backup at whatever interval you wish. You can retrieve your backed up files at any time -or delete them on your computer to make space, leaving them archived on Jungle Disk.

If your computer crashes, or, God forbid, meets physical disaster, log onto your Jungle Disk account and pull all your files back to a repaired or new computer.

What's the cost? Fifteen cents per gigabyte of storage per month (no additional subscription fee as with other online backup services). This means that if 250 of your iTunes songs use one gigabyte of space, then Jungle Disk will store 1,000 of your favorite songs for about 60 cents per month -that's it -charged via the convenience of your Amazon account. Add in your emails, your kids' homework, your irreplaceable financial files and family photographs and you could end up with complete recoverability of your data for a few dollars month.

After setting it up, I don't think about my Jungle Disk backup anymore -it just happens. When (not if) I experience my next data-misfortune, I've prearranged a splendid surprise for myself.

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