At long last!! Normally I would have the September Top Ten out by the end of October. But as I write this it is December 18th. This is the first time in the history of the contest that the results have not been out within a month after the month the contest covered ended. I apologize to all involved.
For anybody that doesn't know, in mid-October there was a major hard drive crash on my mail server, and when I (stupidly and unthinkingly) synced my laptop with the server I lost almost all the mail for the last half of September and the first half of October. I'd had local copies of everything even after the drive crashed, but when the server came back up and my mail client syncronized, it said "Oh, these aren't supposed to be here" and wiped everything.
I was able to get some mail back from Brandy that she was also cc'd on or originated which since it was on the same local machine I was easily able to just bring right back over into my mailbox as if it had always been there. I also got quite a few emails back in response to a plea I sent out for people to forward back to me emails that would have counted in the contest. Rebecca sent the most of these by far. Thank you Rebecca. In addition to this Chris sent me the log files from the mail server, and I was able to find evidence of even more emails which while I do not have copies any longer, I can prove did exist. Now, unfortunately the log files were not perfect, or I could have done the count straight from there. I haven't done the exact count (too tired and I just want to get this thing done finally) but judging by comparing the logs to the days in early September when I actually had a complete record, and against the emails I had been forwarded, my estimate is that only about 60% of emails I received were getting fully into the log in a way I could track. All this adds up to the fact that yes, the counts I present here likely are still missing some messages. It is hard to say how many exactly, but there are definitely some messages which were sent to me, but I have no remaining evidence for, and therefore were not counted.
I spent many many hours painstakingly manually matching the log files up against the emails I had actual copies of to ensure I did not double count anything. This was a pain because the logs showed time received whereas the easiest to access info on the items I had copies of was the time sent. After all this though, I know I have counted every message I have any evidence for at all, and am sure I have not double counted any of those messages.
I am convinced this reconstruction is the best I can possibly do, short of building a time machine and backing up my data before I lost it in the first place. This email disaster was much worse than the March 2003 melt down, but we shall get through it! We are half way through at this point. Unfortunately the October 2004 count will be just as long and involved, although I have the techniques down now. After October is counted, hopefully things will return to normal.
So anyway... the interesting things about the actual mail count in September... For the second time ever Matt takes the number one spot, also breaking his personal record for most emails to me in one month. Almost all of these emails were from a 90 minute period in which he sent me several paragraphs one word at a time. A tried and true technique. Congratulations Matt!
Otherwise, Brandy's new abulsme.com address beats her old comcast.net address for the first time, but she is still hogging two spaces on the list by continuing to use two email addresses regularly. Al and Rebecca tie for 5th place. (Although, the "missing messages" would likely break this tie, I have no way of knowing which way that would break.) Chris, Al, Ivan, Chad and Ron interestingly do not move at all on the list, treading water at their locations without moving at all. Kelly plummets from first to seventh after tiring from her big push in August. And Barb and Erica fall off the list. Goodbye! Come back soon!