three sub-minute solves (on video)

After achieving two sub-minute personal bests last week, I feared that they perhaps were flukes.  The off-camera aspect irked me, as well.  So, donning the GoPro, I gave it another shot last night and logged three sub-minute solves:

At 52, 58, and 58 seconds, these were the best 3 of 5 — after tossing out a sixth lucky solve (with OLL solving the cube completely).  I wound up with a 60.8 second 5-solve average.  I actually was on pace for a sub-50 solve when my F-II popped.  Bummer.  All three recorded solves were on a sticklerless Dayan Zhanchi.

Soundtrack by the John Coltrane Quartet (“Afro Blue” from Live at Birdland) — with McCoy Tyner, Elvin Jones, and Jimmy Garrison, one of jazz’ all-time great lineups. Continue reading

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two sub-minute solves (personal bests)

Lately, my morning routine at work (about 7:20-7:25) has me shaking off the cobwebs with a freshly-brewed dopio and a couple cube solves.  I haven’t timed myself in a couple weeks, as I’ve concentrated instead on more advanced techniques.  But, for some reason this morning, I decided to load cubetimer.com.  Suddenly, I logged my two personal bests:

I first logged a 52-second solve with a black Dayan Zhanchi, shaving a full 17 seconds of my previous record.  Then, pressing my luck, I logged a 58-second solve on a stickerless Dayan LunHui (my new favorite cube).

These were using the advanced cross technique about which I just wrote, but otherwise basic Beginner’s Method.  No F2L.

advancing the cross

For the most part, I still currently use the Beginner’s Method (as taught by RobH0629‘s very accessible and excellent tutorials) to solve a 3×3 cube.  Although I’m amazed that I’ve gotten down to 1:09 using that method, I realize that I’ll need more advanced techniques to cut my times.  For example, on even my fastest solves, the cross takes me an average of 15 seconds; with new techniques, I should be able to halve that.

When I say cross, I mean forming a cross/plus-sign in the bottom face (usually white) by placing the white/red, white/blue, white/orange, white/green edges with their white halves facing down and colored halves lined up with each side face’s center cube.  Like so:

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magnetic dice cube

I frequently use CubeTimer.com to time my solves.  I just noticed a “Links” link above the timer, clicked it, and stumbed onto MagneticCube.com — which sells, not suprisingly, magnetic cubes.

The video below shows how they work. Although it appears to require quite a bit of force to turn each layer, it is still a very clever concept.

With a $59 price tag, it’s probably not the resistance that will keep me from buying one.  But a really cool novelty cube nevertheless. (Perhaps I’ll hazard the DIY project one day….)

cubism, the shirt

I love Woot, and especially Shirt Woot. Clever designs screened on Amercian Apparel shirts, slung via genius copy writing, and all for $10/shirt (to your door!). Back in September, before I even knew how to solve a cube, I grabbed this shirt for our now-four-year-old:

Woot - Cubism

As the copy explained in prose:

His command of math was really near-cherubic
That game designer they called Erno Rubik
He could turn a little math
Into a bunch of moving squares
And so
Erno Rubik not even once had to boot lick