GoCube Kickstarter Campaign

Hey, gang. No over-produced video of average solves today. Just a quick post about a promising Kickstarter campaign around a “connected” cube. The GoCube seems to be a cube with accelerometers and motion sensors that track the relative position of each cubie and the absolute position of the cube itself. According to the campaign, the cube is:

An incredible smart connected cube with tracking and whole new way to cube. Learn, improve, and even compete.

Check out their promotional video:

It may not move like a speedcube, but it seems like a promising training cube — and, at a minimum, a fun novelty gadget. So, yeah, I ordered two. Naturally.

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OLL 56 Redux

OLL 56
(spinner)

(Rw’ U’ Rw) (U’ R’ U R) (U’ R’ U R) (Rw’ U Rw)

setup: (r U r’) (R U R’ U’) (R U R’ U’) (r U’ r’)

Hola, amigos. ¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo! I’ve been reinvigorated over the past couple months to get back into cubing — and, yes, the attendant trappings of blogging and producing videos. A little rusty, but it’s coming back.

There was a period of time a few years ago that I rushed to learn a bunch of algs, and ticked through them at a strong clip. The problem, however, was that I never really committed them to muscle memory and auto-retrieval. Fast forward a couple years, and I’ve forgotten many. So much so, in fact, that I sat down to learn OLL 56 without realizing that I not only had learned it in January 2016, but I had blogged about it and recorded a slo-mo video. (Looking back, my execution was actually pretty good!)

Well, two-and-a-half years later, I learned it (again, as it were) for the first time with a new alg that I prefer:

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Light-Up, Illuminated Cube

Yes, I’ve re-decorated. Really, more of a gut-job and rebuild. I like the new look of the site and will post separately about the process and new template soon.

Ahoy to the loyal followers in AIC land. Just a quick check-in post to demonstrate, more than anything, “Yes, I’m still here.” Busy as hell, but re-inspired to get back into cubing after a chance run-in with a hell of a cuber during Toy Fair in New York. He was working a booth next to ours, and I took a few mins to say hi. We wound up grabbing drinks and having a great time nerding it up about cubing and life — perhaps the first two people to trade algs and pointers in a Manhattan speakeasy. (You know who you are. Thanks, mate. It was a blast.)

Thusly re-motivated, I began cleaning out some drawers — and, in so doing, unearthed a special cube that I had modified a few years ago. When I say “modified,” I don’t mean tension and lube. I mean solder, wire cutters, and micro-switches. Yes, the hacked Crystal Cube about which I’ve written a few times.

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18 Months Without Practice (Yikes!?!) / Father’s Day Shout-Out to AZACH’S WORLD

Hey, gang. It’s been 18 months since I’ve posted a video, and just about the same amount of time since I’ve practiced cubing. Maybe a random solve here or there when they kids find a cube somewhere. But that’s it. The simple explanation: I got really, really busy. All good stuff. Just very distracting and time consuming. Not much spare time over the past 18 months for hobbies.

Cubing is not like riding a bike. You don’t do it for a bit, and you forget. Quickly. Below is a solve I posted as an excuse to accomplish something else entirely. You can see how rusty I am. My recognition is abysmal (let’s be honest, it was never great); my technique and finger tricks are embarrassing; and I forgot several cases (or at least they didn’t come reflexively). Oh well. I’ll start practicing again, and I’m sure the muscle memory will come back.

So, why all of a sudden crawl out of the woodwork to post a crappy solve? Because it’s Father’s Day, and my son has been begging me to. That’s why.

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OLL 56 Slo-Mo (iPhone 240fps) [I’m Stil Here]

UPDATED: As mentioned in this post, I’ve updated my algorithm for this case to (r’ U’ r) (U’ R’ U R) (U’ R’ U R) (r’ U r).

Three posts for all of 2015. That was it. Three. That wasn’t some fancy Rule of Three dramatic device. Not at all. Just. Plain. Busy.

OLL 56
(spinner/streetlights)

(r U r’ U) (R U’ R’) M’ U (R U2 r’)

setup: (r U r’) (R U R’ U’) (R U R’ U’) (r U’ r’)

There were months at a time that I didn’t even pick up a cube, let alone post. But never fear: In the infamous* words of John Hartford, I’m still here.

* by which I mean neither the Three Amigos’ “more than famous” nor the literal “well known for some bad quality or deed,” but rather “not really famous at all.”

This one relates to OLL 56, one of the bar or I-shaped OLLs. As I learn the full set of bar OLLs this emerged as one where the standard alg — (r U r') U (R U' R') U (R U' R') (r U' r') — could be improved by an M-slice. Yes, I’m a self-proclaimed M- and S-slice evangelist. And, yes, I’ll admit that sometimes using the middle slices is more neat and clever than ultimately useful. (The S-slice alg for F2L edge flip probably should be Exhibit 1.) But OLL 56 really does get easier with an M slice dropped in. Here’s a video showing the execution at full-speed and in slomo:

(music: “Spellbound” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) / Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License; cube: Maru CX3 with The Cubicle fitted stickers in custom color scheme)

It may not be for everyone, but it’s much easier for me. Full bar OLL tutorial coming soon….

F2L #36 – S Slice Variant

F2L 36
S-Slice Variant

R U S’ (R’ U R) S R’

setup: (R U’ R) U2 (F R’ F’ R) U2

Four months! It’s been four full months since my last video/post. Totally unlike me. Busy is an understatement. It’s finally time to come for air momentarily with a tutorial I’ve planned for a long time.

This one relates to F2L 36, a case that I’ve never liked. The standard alg — U2 (R' F R F') U2 (R U R') — isn’t terribly slow. Nor is it very smooth or fluid. (My older video on that version.) I’ve come to prefer a “tricked out” variant that comes by way of Teller West — and, no surprise, it’s based around the S slice.

Here’s an in-depth tutorial comparing the standard alg to the S slice variant, showing my finger-tricks (very different than Teller’s), and vindicating the standard alg for certain cases:

(cube: Maru CX-3, partially un-stickered)

Like most S-based algs, this one succeeds or fails on finding a fluid, effortless way to finger-trick the slice. I couldn’t manage it the way Teller does. But once I “made it my own” — my recurring advice to cubers of all levels — the alg came together quickly. I push the S’ right-to-left across the top using my index finger, which is naturally on the right side of that edge after the R U; I pull the S left-to-right across the top after the R’ U R lands my index finger to the left of the edge. Mechanically, it all makes sense. But timing is everything.

I’m fascinated by how this algorithm can be deconstructed into component parts to help explain it’s mechanics:

   R U
             S’
                   R’ U R
             S
   R’

The first “level” in blue is a standard corner insert. Sandwiched between is a series of self-reversing S slices at the next “level” in red, and between those a series of self-reversing R moves (with the critical U smack in the middle). Huh? Basically, it’s a corner insert. But, just before the final R’, the S’ knocks out an edge, the R’ U R brings around the replacement (previously stuck F2L edge). The S flips that edge while pairing it with the corner. When the corner finally inserts, it brings the edge with it. Pretty neat.

Once understood as an expansion of the simple R U R’ insert, it becomes obvious why the S version works only when the flipped edge is in its own slot. If the flipped edge is in another slot, you need to use another alg — as emphasized at the end of the video.

It was fun to spend time on this one. Busy I remain, but hopefully it won’t take another four months to pump out the next post.

Tricked-Out OLL 35 Slo-Mo (iPhone 240fps)

OLL 35
(fish salad)

L U2′ r2′ F r U’ r U2 L’

setup: R U2 (R’ F R’ F’) R2 U2 R’

I’ve been busy lately. Crazy busy! Family. Kids. Work. Travel. Life. Time to take a break and to emerge from the shadows with another quickie slomo video.

This one relates to OLL 35, an OLL I’ve always hated. It’s the “other” big fish OLL — the harder one, with only a center on each of the “tail” sides (rather than center/corner pairs). The standard alg (R U2 R2' F R F' R U2 R') is ok, but I never got a great flow with it.** This “tricked out” version comes by way of Teller West, my co-conspirator in S-slice evangelism (although this iteration altogether ignores S).

Here’s a video showing the execution at full-speed and in slomo:

(music: String Cheese Incident, Coltrane’s “Afro Blue” (8.2.03); cube: Dayan Zhanchi w/ Cube Specialists fitted bright stickers)

The toughest part is the U2′, pushed left to right with my right index finger. On locky cubes, that sticks. But if you can get the timing and execution right on the opening L U2′, the rest flows smoothly and effortlessly.

** Actually, the standard alg is really good, and flows quite nicely. I must have focussed on a different alg when I first sat down to learn it.