lies, damn lies, and (sorta) statistics

I’m an archivist by nature. I like collecting things, sorting them, tracking them, seeing them change and grow. I believe in elaborate backup systems and in preserving all the digital information I can (photos, videos, emails, college and even high school papers, etc.). A six terabyte NAS at home, mirrored to one at my office, stands as proof.

I enjoy sifting through data. I should have been a scientist or analyst or the like. Anything but a lawyer.

I also have a strange affection for Google. They seem to get it right more often than other companies. Google is to the internet what Apple is to hardware.

So, when I started cubing six months ago, I missed no opportunity to record, track, and preserve as much info as I could. That is, in a nutshell, this blog’s raison d'être. From the beginning, I kept two Google spreadsheets for myself — one tracking my personal best solve times and the other tracking my feverishly expanding cube/puzzle collection. I added a third when I started to learn more OLLs and PLLs. Last week while running (when I seem to do my best thinking), it suddenly occurred to me that I should publish those spreadsheets and embed them here in this blog. Why not?

You’ll notice in the sidebar to the right a new “personal stats” section that is in dire need of rebranding. It links to pages embedding the aforementioned spreadsheets. (Nav sprites, in case you’re wondering.)

The cube collection page is a reminder of how much time I spent blaming hardware for my early slow solve times. To date, my favorite cube remains one of the first I purchased: a black Dayan ZhanChi. It just took me a while to realize it was my intellectual and mechanical deficiencies, not the wrong cubes, that slowed me down. Now I’m back to the hardware with which I (basically) started.

The OLL/PLL page is a sort of digital diary of my slow, steady algorithm-by-algorithm drift away from the Beginner’s Method. I revisit it when my brain refuses to cooperate. But mostly it’s just a neat breadcrumb trail through where I’ve been and toward where I’m next heading.

I find the most interesting page to be the one with the details of my personal best solve times. As of the end of May — after almost exactly six months of cubing — here is what my progress looked like:

The sharp quick drop followed by a long tail is really clear evidence of the steep learning curve. That phenomenon is also evident in this more narrow data set of my progress after starting to migrate seriatim away from Beginner’s Method (with the last drop after learning more OLLs/PLLs):

So, there you have it — a new sidebar, three new pages, three embedded spreadsheets, and a whole lot of geekery. Enjoy.

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