A Little More User Experience..

Aiming for Thursday for the next Vampire Poets but some more User Experience stuff just so you guys know I’m working like a fiend on this comic, a FIEND!

George costuming:

I had this crisis where I suddenly thought the Special Guest Star in User Experience ought to be Dickens, in honour of his birthday and also because obviously he was so much more marketable. Then I realised I was trying to decide which Victorian-novelist-lost-in-a-mechanical-computer scenario would make my MILLIONS and that’s when I gave myself a sharp smack. I’m much too fond of George now to replace her, and anyways Dickens will have a fine walk-on part.  Much more on User Experience in the coming weeks!

For the UX notes and also for more accurate gags and also because I don’t have enough projects in my life, I’ve started to put together an animating model of the Difference Engine-  right now it looks like this:

Ooooh Babbage you are so clever!

It’s not so mysterious when you actually move it around, but it’s a bit tricky to explain clearly so I’ll put together an explanatory vid when I have a sec!  If you need an explanation RIGHT NOW and are good at visualising, these invaluable and beautiful clear diagrams were my source, millions of thanks both to Mr Satyam and Dan in the comments who led me to them.

Stay tuned, loyal and kindly audience! I hope it’s a comfort that slow as the comics are coming at least you may rest assured that I am SUFFERING mightly:



  1. Alice on February 21, 2012 at 2:36 am

    And so another Thursday comes and goes. I’ve started getting all excited on Wednesday nights, only to undergo crushing disappointment the next day. Poor Sydney! We’re all posting these passive-agressive comments that basically say “*pressure pressure pressure*…but no pressure!”

    No pressure! Have fun! (But please please please keep working on Vampire Poets? IT’S SO GOOD!!)

    P.S. I like how your shirt changes colour in the last two panels. Is it like a mood ring?

  2. Kaazz on February 2, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    I like how you said you’re aiming for “Thursday” for the next comic posting, but you didn’t specify WHICH Thursday. Clever, clever girl! So, even though today is Thursday, and no new comic is forthcoming, you are NOT late! ;-)

    *sigh* I guess I’ll check NEXT Thursday, in case that was the one you meant.

    No pressure. ;-)

  3. Anon, a Mouse on February 1, 2012 at 2:43 am

    “I will love love her and hug her and call her George…”

    Funny thing about art. The more stress, the better it is, and the better it is, the more likely the creator is flinging paint around while screaming about how verything is awful.

    Don’t worry, we’ll try to catch anything fragile or valuable that you happen to throw.

  4. Tealin on January 30, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    That last couple of panels? TRUTH.

  5. John Spencer on January 27, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    That is the most mind-boggling and intriguing Difference Engine movie clip. Fantastic (but real). It might be fitting to leave the model tantalisingly unfinished as Babbage was forced to.

    You see, us readers are sometimes attentive to your huge workload.

  6. Owen Fleet on January 26, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    All good things are worth waiting for :)

  7. Hugh on January 25, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    Keep reminding yourself that this is your own personal project and meant to be fun. We, the mob of beggars outside Amalgated Comic Industries, should be treated in a Victorian manner: pay no attention to our pitieous cries unless you are feeling benevolent.

    (And put the Duke of Wellington on a war anteater for a panel or two. You’ll feel better. No, he’ll never abandon Copenhagen, but the English army are trialling the beasts.)

    • Clare on January 26, 2012 at 4:58 pm

      I do like the idea of war-anteaters. (Even better than His Majesty’s Dragon, His Majesty’s Anteater… or Wombat? Wombats are cool.)

      Please just have fun! We greedy beggars are happy to wait on your crumbs o’ fun comix. I’m enjoying the story very much so far and look forward (patiently) to more of George and Charles and vampires and poets…

  8. John on January 25, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    I was just about to say something like, now that the backgrounds are automated, you can fill the free time with making things even more extensive, rather than, say, spending time with your husband. Then your Twitter feed said pretty much that, so I got nothin’.

    I wouldn’t necessarily consider Dickens “marketable,” though. He’s got name recognition, sure, but his reputation hasn’t aged much better than Bulwer-Lytton’s, for the most part (if for different reasons). Actually, in keeping with the modern cultish fascination/marketability of Ada, Babbage, and Brunel, Bulwer-Lytton would probably be optimal choice, in theory.

    In no way am I suggesting that he be used here, of course. I like the idea of George wandering the Engine.

  9. MaggieCat on January 25, 2012 at 7:59 am

    Aww, and to think I never associated “cute” and “George Eliot” before! ‘Genius’ yes, but ‘cute’ not so much. No matter how much I’d like to see the next part of the story, try not to make yourself too stressed! I guess that;s easier said than done though. (Heck, the last time I pulled out my sewing machine my cat attacked it for making me cry, and I remembered why I started doing everything by hand.)

    @Mary Ellen: I don’t think even Victoria managed to make that look work for very long, and I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who can wear it without looking like they have a pumpkin-shaped head. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that style coming into fashion coincided with a rise in depression in women — particularly those who didn’t have itty bitty noses. At least the previous bunches of curls on the side look gave you something to work with. What do the swooshes have going for them? “I’m aerodynamic and my ears are warm”?

    Back on point: buns and twirls seem the most likely, although nets and combs also fit nicely with that silhouette. Some possibilities, although some are a bit later than Lovelace/Babbage : http://img408.imageshack.us/img408/8566/victorianhairstyles.png Luckily for anyone planning to draw her, Eliot always struck me as an eminently practical woman. If anyone was just throwing her hair up in a snood or a rolled chignon (the horizontal french twist variety), it was probably her.

    @ James: A brief but pretty complete explanation of hair rats: http://www.quaintrellelife.com/hair_rats.html

  10. James on January 25, 2012 at 3:28 am

    …”attachable hairpieces, rats, etc.” — rats? This is a term for something that is not, in fact, a rat?

  11. JamesPadraicR on January 25, 2012 at 2:48 am

    Hi, long time reader, first time commenter.
    Love the comic.

    I was thinking “Shouldn’t George be wearing trousers and smoking a cigar?” then realized I thinking of the wrong one, Sand rather than Eliot.

    Also remembered that I saw an interview with Walter Isaacson this morning in which he said that he is strongly considering doing a biography of Ada. His Einstein bio was excellent, so he could do justice to her. She certainly deserves the exposure.

  12. Mary Ellen on January 25, 2012 at 1:53 am

    It just occurred to me that I’m not sure how ordinary middle-class Victorian ladies who wore their hair with the center part and down-curving side wings as Eliot did (a fashion popularized by the young queen, one of the few humans on earth on whom it looked good!) did with the BACK view. My only clear idea comes from Olivia DeHavilland in My Cousin Rachel, whose heavy side wings resolved into a braided coil or spiral chignon at the back, just above the nape. Of course the use of attachable hairpieces, rats, etc. must have been widespread amongst women with the time and resources to devote to fashion.

    I am not wondering about this to add to the Suffering Artist’s stress level!

  13. Brian on January 25, 2012 at 1:16 am

    Everything worth doing is stressful sometime.

  14. Kaazz on January 25, 2012 at 12:50 am

    I do hope it’s not TOO stressful for you, at least not stressful in a bad way. I, and so many others, get so much joy out of this, I’d hate to think it has become a chore for you! At any rate, hang in there – keep up the good work, and all that. We’ll be here when you post the next episode! :-)