John Aycock

Nonstick Yurt Salesperson of the Month
Department of Computer Science
University of Calgary

ICT 646, (403) 210-9409


  Silly stuff   Courses   Books   Papers   Research   Art


Idol Time: 45 levels, 3.5KiB. Published on cassette, naturally.

SMitten by Art

An art project: computer-generated parody of Mitt Romney's political tweets.

Painting the Internet

Conceptual art. Because I like the concept of staying out of jail.


Some of my pictures, and some unintended side effects of taking them.

Current and Upcoming Courses

Past Courses Taught

  • CPSC 217, Introduction to Computer Science for Multidisciplinary Studies I
  • CPSC 231, Introduction to Computer Science for Computer Science Majors I
  • CPSC 399.05, Introduction to Reverse Engineering
  • CPSC 411, Compiler Construction (I)
  • CPSC 457, Principles of Operating Systems
  • CPSC 510, Compiler Construction II
  • CPSC 527/627, Computer Viruses and Malware (was CPSC 599.48/601.92)
  • CPSC 599.55/601.02, Compiler Code Generation and Optimization
  • CPSC 528/628, Spam and Spyware (was CPSC 599.63/601.12)
  • CPSC 599.82, Retrogames
  • CPSC 601.01, Creative Programming II
  • CPSC 601.89, Readings in Compiler Construction
  • ISEC 621, Ethical Hacking Laboratory

Research Interests

  • "Retro" computer and video game implementation
  • Binary reverse engineering
  • Multidisciplinary things related to computer science, including areas like archaeology, art, economics, ethics, history, and law

Past Projects

(At least those with web pages..)
  • SPARK, the Scanning, Parsing, And Rewriting Kit
  • AGATE: All Good Acronyms Taken, Evidently


  • J. Aycock. Spyware and Adware. Advances in Information Security, volume 50, Springer-Verlag, 2011.

    The Mystery of the Missing Circles

    If you're looking for the circles I mentioned in the Preface that indicate endnotes, they were quietly lopped off in production by the publisher. I apologize! The full errata list is here.


  • J. Aycock. Reading and Modifying Code, 2008.

    Download it here.


    • The book is self-published. That means it's no good, right?

      The book content has actually been reviewed by more people than any given peer-reviewed publication I've ever had. (Historical note: it was available via BookSurge from 2008-2014.)



And from prehistory..

Random Thoughts

The ranged-weapon equivalent to saber-rattling is shake spear.
Leatherworking tools are made in an olfactory.
An accent comes from a cloud of body spray.
For computers, frequent backups are good; for sewers, less so.
Sawdust is wood, but sod dust is dirt.
Building a subway is under construction.
A conductor's baton is a band stimulant.
Rabbit in aspic is hare gel.
How are bacteria different from cafeteria? I can get cheese from either one.
Geology essays are edited using rock paper scissors.
Waltzing around carrying bread products is something done in abundance.
Excess sar can be shoveled into a sarcasm.
A baker showed his love for his girlfriend by painstakingly making her cinnamon rolls shaped like classic automobiles, thus inventing car bun dating.
The café was so dirty that they served soil lattes.
There was an upcoming Shakespeare test in the English class, and a student asked "What sonnet?"
Ancient writing can just rune your whole day.
A member of a submarine crew brought aboard a garden gnome; he thought that would give them luck on their arduous trek. But the gnome wouldn't fit anyplace, and everything had to be reorganized on the boat to accommodate it. It was a sub space agnomealy.
The chiropractic college's fall message was not "Welcome back, students!" but "Welcome, back students!"
A dog with a wooden leg has a faux paw.
The two of them were chosen the day prior to help get potatoes ready before the big dinner. The pre-pared were prepared by the pre-paired.
The sheriff, seeing his posse arriving, said "my throng is riding up."
The life of a tree: one day you're feeling chipper, the next day you're in one.
Computer scientists make soup with Boolean cubes.
For a writer, a typo is disaster: no character ever died gloriously in a hail of mullets.
Their house's electricity suddenly came back on, delivering a kick to the family joules.
A quiet rhinoplasty is Dolby nose reduction.
All the birds in ancient Rome were the same color. Rome was famous for its aqua ducks.
The web page's design was tasteful, as if created by an elite squad of drunken monkeys.
Cats right themselves; books don't.
A stiff competitor is a starch-enemy.
Pinocchio was happy; he was a-wood-chipper.
The accident in his beloved "green" car was like a punch to the solar Lexus.
Purple is when you yank on a cat's tail.
A letter opener is what makes an "o" into a "c."
Nothing provides instant clarity and reflection like pressing the "send" key.
Slowly, the farm equipment turned, and its headlight illuminated a small bed. It was a cot in the tractor beam.
Does a program that works with TIFF files have to take arguments?
No wonder I'm so tired – I'm in the human race! That explains why people keep handing me cups of Gatorade.
Old mail in your webmail account is cobwebmail.
Make sure to cross your eyes and dot your "T"s.
My antisocial networking website is wildly successful: no users yet.
I read a book on approximation algorithms. It had about six chapters.
An expensive, but well-lit, French apartment is both sunny and cher.
Children can see up your nostrils at all times.
Never attempt a shellsort until the turtles have stopped moving.
If you give a man a fish, you'll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he makes fish sticks and starts dressing all nautical and saying things like "Har! Y'ever been to sea?"


Most comments I receive about my web page are to do with the crossed-out titles up at the top. This may mean that most people don't read beyond line two of my web page. However, on the off chance that these hold some entertainment value, I've compiled a list of previous titles.

What I Look Like

Ooh, the suspense! Follow this link for a picture...

My Old Web Pages

Are you really that bored? I'm pleased to note, looking back, that they're all as bizarre as my current one:

You rock, Wayback Machine.