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About Ithiriel

Ithiriel is my blog for computer-related things, primarily programming and system administration. It helps me keep track of what I am trying to do, demonstrate what I have learned, and hopefully provide information useful to someone else (and, if possible, the community at large).

Content is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Code provided by me on this site, unless otherwise stated, is licensed under a BSD-like license.

Why "Ithiriel"?

In September 2001, I created a site for "Ithiriel Software." The idea was that it would act as a sort of pseudo-company to make anything I did outside of work look more professional. I freely admit this was a silly idea and that I know better now. However, since software development was based around that pseudo-company, I set up my subversion repository and a few other tools around the domain name.

Knowing better and desiring to have a public blog, I tore down the horrible site that I had posted and decided to use the domain name for the blog so I could legitimize the decisions I had made before. This is probably a good example of a bad practice.

About Me

I am Chris Ess. I live in Raleigh, NC with my small network of computers. Since 2001, I have worked as a system administrator for a web hosting company in Research Triangle Park, NC. After work, I try to work on my programming skills and, unfortunately, tend to end up playing computer games instead.

I've grown up around computers. My first computer was a TI-99/4A home computer. I first started programming by keying in BASIC programs included in issues of the 99er magazine and, later, Home Computer Magazine. I have very fond memories of some of these programs, including a version of Battleship and a logic puzzle Boolean Brain (apparently available here if you have an emulator). Eventually, this gave me enough information to, along with a now-almost-dead TI Extended BASIC manual, start writing my own programs. I then made a jump to the IBM PC when I got access to one of my own and started learning and using Turbo Pascal. In high school, I learned to program in C on the school Macintoshes.

My first exposure to Unix-like environments was in my junior year of high school at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. While I admittedly spent more time in the computer lab on old Sun workstations than I should have, I learned a fair bit about Unix, HTML, and the internet. This is when I first started visiting IRC. When I arrived at NC State University, I continued my experience with Unix-like environments with the SPARCstations in the computer labs and eventually running Linux on my personal machine. I also learned some C++ and Java through university courses and Perl from borrowing a friend's copy of Larry Wall's Programming Perl over Christmas break. Since then, for work and for various personal projects, I have picked up Python, PHP, and Ruby.

I consider myself an experienced, although possibly not expert, system administrator. I regret that my programming skills have been underused and I would like to do more programming and software development in the future.

Contacting Me

You can email me at caess at this site ( You can also use the contact form linked in the upper right-hand corner.

For secure communications, I have a PGP key. The fingerprint is:

9A86 1FA4 DADE 9C93 F2B0  7C23 38E9 ECDE D61A 0437

You can retrieve the key from a public keyserver or you can download it here.

Other Links

My Twitter stream:


Everything said here is my own opinion and is not the opinion of my employer or any other group I may be affiliated with and should not be taken as such.