Sec. Def. Tim Howard, The Cubing Keeper

Turns out Secretary of Defense Tim Howard not only could block a record-saving 16 shots against Belgium, but also managed to secure the tie against Portugal while one-handed cubing:

Amazing how shoddy 15 minutes of motion tracking can look, even at low-res! Continue reading

Puzzle Collection (June 2014)

I’ve received tons of requests to put together a video showcasing my puzzle collection. I’ve resisted for a while, since I frankly don’t find it that interesting to watch someone talk — and for thirty minutes at that!?! — about their puzzles. But, as one subscriber noted, I do have a few unique cubes in the collection. So, why not? Here’s a video of my puzzle collection as of June 2014:

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Winner: Aolong Give-Away

Congratulations to Cubing Cubes for winning my Aolong give-away contest. His video was one of 19 walk-through entries and 1750+ subscriber entries. Here’s a video explnation of the winner determination and my walkthrough of the scramble I had provided:


D2 U' R2 U F2 D2 U' R2 U' B' L2 R' B' D2 U B2 L' D'

No one realized that the scramble was the one on which Mats Valk set the 3×3 single world record of 5.55 seconds.

I thought my own walk-through (my first on video, perhaps?) was pretty decent, although it shows (around 5:30) that I could have paired red/green more easily; I forgot that the back/right slot was empty. And, yeah, there’s that pesky editing error in the audio at 7:10. Oh well. Continue reading

First Unboxing Video (Aolong/Yulong)

Just a quick post about the first and only unbxoing on my Youtube channel, showcasing three Moyu cubes: a black Aolong, black Yulong, and colored translucent Yulong:

It’s been a long while since I ordered new 3x3s. Although a lot of new cubes have been released lately, and the few I’ve tried have no doubt impressed me, none have displaced the Zhanchi as king of all things 3×3 (for me). The two that have come close are Cyoubx’ Maru CX-3 and the Moyu Weilong, the older sibling of the Aolong. Both are interesting, but have their flaws. The Weilong is smooth but locky. The CX-3 performs well, but is hard to tension properly and is really square, with almost no beveling on the outer edges. A picky criticism, perhaps, but it does have an odd “hand-feel” because of it. Continue reading

Still Figuring It Out

A colleague in my office sent me this cartoon from the great Pictures in Boxes cartoon blog.

“Neat,” I thought somewhat dismissively, “a clever cubing cartoon.” But the more I focused on it, the more I came to appreciate the message and title (Still Figuring It Out).

I’m not sure if the author/artist intended it as a literal cubing reference or not, but I personally really appreciate the dual literal and metaphorical meaning.

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Give-Away: Moyu Aolong

It’s been a while since my last give-away of my custom LED-backlit cube. That was in celebration of hitting 1500 subscribers. Well, it’s been six months, and, although my subscriber count did subsequently increase, it’s plateaued recently. Time to attract new subscribers, while giving current subscribers an opportunity to win as well. Here are the details, which are also summarized in this video (embedded below).

Prize: white Moyu Aolong, stickered with my color scheme (gray up, black down, bright sides)

Duration: June 1 – June 13

Process: Winner chosen randomly based on the entries received by June 13

Entry process:
Continue reading

13 Cubers / One Scramble

Once upon a time, this blog was something other than just a collection of my embedded Youtube videos. In fact, it was more like a repository of neat things related to cubing. Besides acting as an online chronicle of sorts, which is a function I still really dig, I want to steer the blog back to including other content.

This recent Cubing World video is a great excuse to do that. A follow up to last year’s Twelve Cubers, One Scramble video, this one features thirteen fast 3×3 solvers (two the current world record holders) each doing CFOP walk-through solves based on the same scramble: L2 B' L2 B' D2 B' R2 D2 F2 R2 B' L B' U' R' D' B2 L2 U' B U2

This video is great. As I commented on it, the solves demonstrate really well that solving a cube is not just a robotic application of memorized steps — naysayers’ favorite criticism. No doubt there is a formulaic element of “see X and apply Y,” especially at the OLL and PLL stages. But the amount of variation in these walk-throughs showcases the high degree of analysis, problem solving, and creativity that go into a really good solve. And these are no lackeys. That some of the best cubers in the world each approached the same scramble differently is a testament to the deep complexity of the cube.

From Alexander Lau’s Roux and Phil Yu’s ZZ mind-benders to Justin Mallari’s impressive dexterity and finger tricks to Feliks’ and Mats’ always brilliant solves, the video is riddled with nuggets of awesome tricks and techniques to study. I can watch these over and over again...and have!