March 2003 was a horrible month for the email top ten list. Starting early in the month, my hard drive started having problems. I ordered a new one, but neglected to have it shipped overnight. So there were a couple of weeks before my new drive arrived. In those couple weeks, the drive I had was slowly spewing bad data onto my hard drive. I may be finding damage for years to come. Eventually, it would not even boot up. So I switched everything to a back up external drive. But unbenounced to me, my main mail database was already corrupt. It was just a time-bomb, waiting to go off. And, early on the 18th, it did. Everything went completely wonky. And in the process of trying to figure out what was wrong, I actually stupidly ended up doing even more damage.
In the end, I had to reinstall my whole system onto the new hard drive (which had just arrived), painstakingly restore information for several different backups I had, try to rebuild the mail database several times (failing each time) and then finally using a database recovery tool I bought online to try to restore as much as possible from the corrupt database. I even sent out an email offering a cash bounty of $1 per email for any email to or from me that could be forwarded back to me. In the end, the dates March 8th to March 18th were effected. Within those dates I lost almost all of my OUTGOING email. Which is horrible, but the contest is based on incoming email. Through the techniques mentioned above, I believe I ended up restoring upward of 98% of the emails I received during that time. This is based on the advertised recovery capability of the database recovery tool I used, plus my own comparisons of the recovered data to the data sent back to me and manual combing through data-files for messages that were otherwise unaccounted for.
I might be able to do better by painstakingly hand combing the data files for evidence of additional emails. Things like emails that by their corruption were not recognized as separate entities and are stuck to other messages or emails which I do not have, but which I have replies to, and therefore must have existed, etc. But such an effort would take many many days, if not weeks, to complete, and based on my analysis so far, would in all likelihood find only a handful of relevant messages which have not already been counted. And, as enticing as it may seem, I do not have time for such an analysis.
Therefore, the counts below will be as close as I can reasonably get. I believe they are accurate to with the exception that any one person MAY have actually sent me one or two, or on the absolute outside, three messages more than is represented below. That margin would not affect the rankings in any way EXCEPT it would potentially break the tie at 7th place. Ivan and Chad tied for 7th place with 115 messages. If there were "missing messages" from either of you, it would break that tie. But close enough. Call it a tie.
That was of course the "big deal" for the month, but a couple other quick notes...
First of all, Rebecca wins the contest for the first time since last July. She was helped out by being the most enthusiastic responder to my email bounty, sending me many dozens of messages back to me. These forwarded messages vaulted her into the top spot.
Second, a new person making the list this month. Brandy jumps straight into the top 5, placing 4th for her first appearance. And she in fact sets a brand new record for the highest number of emails for a first appearance. At 215 messages she beats out Randy's 148 messages for his first appearance on the list. All the more remarkable since I did not get my very first email from her until the 22nd, and almost all of those messages were from the last two days of the month. A frantic pace to be sure.
Other than that the usual sorts of ups and downs. Cynthia comes back onto the top five after being lower for awhile. Marilyn returns once again with her home email instead of her work email, with which she made a brief appearance in February.
So, other than the hugest email meltdown in the history of the contest, a normal month. :-)