Here’s a dirty little (not-so-)secret fact: I’m a mediocre cuber. Indeed, mediocrity is, in a sense, the raison d’être of this blog.
me·di·o·cre [mee-dee-oh-ker] of only ordinary or moderate quality; neither good nor bad; barely adequate
synonyms: undistinguished, commonplace, pedestrian, everyday; run-of-the-mill
antonyms: extraordinary, superior, uncommon, incomparable
More accurately, I’d say that I’m a pretty good cuber, but a very mediocre speedsolver. My technique is decent. I know all PLLs and can execute them efficiently. I understand intuitive F2L very well, and have learned a lot of tricks for more complicated cases. And I’ve got about 60% of the OLLs under my belt. But when it comes to putting them all together into full solves, I’m just not that great. My cross stinks. My look-ahead is non-existent. And, under the pressure of the clock, I tend to confuse F2L cases and forget OLL cases. That’s why I average just under 30 seconds.
And that’s why I very rarely record full solves and, even more rarely, averages. Well, after my surgery and with this damn cast still on my arm (¡au voir mañana!), I thought I could record an average of 5 (Ao5) with a built-in excuse. And so I did. Here’s the video with a 39 second Ao5 (and with BIG apologies for so much of it being out of frame!):
My Two-Look OLL post inspired me to keep pushing along with learning more OLLs. I had started learning the C-shapes (##34 and 46), but got distracted when I couldn’t find a decent flow for the latter. Now, I finally found an alternate algorithm for it. Here’s a video tutorial, followed by further explanation:
In my last post, I wrote about new custom stickers from Olivér Nagy. Besides some great new custom logo stickers, he and I worked on a sticker template for Rubik’s-brand Void Cubes. The OEM Void stickers have a ridiculous pattern of concentric circles and the color scheme is a bit funky — with white replaced by red and red replaced by a magenta-purple. Re‑stickering to a familiar color scheme made it a lot easier to solve!
As long as I had the camera rolling, I decided to do a quick walk-through video. A lot of folks think the Void Cube is some alien beast when it comes to solves. In reality, with one key parity exception, it solves just like a 3×3. The video walks through that parity issue, which is more fully explained after the jump.
I’ve wanted to make this Two-Look OLL tutorial for a while, and finally found the time. Although the video embedded below is comprehensive (read: long) and should stand alone, this post’s further background and table of algorithms should help with learning/practice.
What is OLL?
The third-step in 3×3 solving under the CFOP/Fridrich Method is OLL (Orient Last Layer). By the OLL stage, with the Cross and F2L complete, the bottom face and first two layers will be solved. The goal of OLL is to orient the up face stickers (generally yellow for white-on-bottom solvers so that all are facing up and none are facing “out.”
There are 57 possible cases/states at the OLL stage, too many for most cubers to learn/remember all solutions. (Two years in, and I know only about 30 of them....) Two-Look OLL is designed to lighten the burden by breaking OLL into two steps. The first step (or “look”) of Two-Look OLL is to orient the four edges, forming a yellow cross or plus-sign (ignoring the edges). The second “look” orients the four corners so that yellow faces up, completing the top face. The center cubie is, of course, fixed and can never be “un-oriented.” As the Speedsolving Wiki summarizes:
[Y]ou do not need to know all 57 OLLs to use 2-look OLL, rather the system is divided up. By first orienting the edges (3 cases), then orienting the corners (7 cases), orientation of all pieces on the last layer is completed.
I think we all can agree that 10 cases is better than 57!?! Here’s a video teaching and contextualizing them:
I’ve been a little obsessed with finding the perfect logo and the perfect logo stickers to go with it. I think this is my third or fourth post about logos and stickers, having previously written about stickers from both Olivér Nagy and (the now-defunct) Puzzle Addictions.
Time to order new stickers, I turned to Olivér’s store again. I ordered stickers to match my more refined (drop-shadowed and “glared”) logo. I also developed new variant to match my unique color scheme on white cubes — switching yellow to gray, white to black, and the black gridlines to white to emulate white plastic. As shown in this video, the stickers came out great!