Category Archives: hardware

Travel Solve: Ixtapa (30 sec)

Quickie post on creeping internet from Ixtapa, Méjico. Nothing special (no fancy edits or intros/outros). Just a 30-second solve on a Weilong from our cabana sadwiched between the pool and beach — in dedicated furtherance of my travel series (e.g., Utah, China).

When I’m home, I’ll try to figure out how that black edge got dislodged during F2L. Also, I do know that Fung OLL. But with the pressure of the video — a stressor I’ll never quite understand — I two-looked it for some reason.

Hasta luego....

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Knitted Cube

Howdy. I’m back from some business travel and wanted to get a last pre-holiday post up. I’ve got a couple tutorials and a fun collaboration brewing. Soon....

In the meanwhile, I wanted to post about an 8″ cube that my mom knitted for me, falling at the intersection of her and my hobbies:

My mom is an expert knitter. In my nearly forty years on this planet, she’s knitted me untold dozens of sweaters, hats, scarves, and blankets. This was one of her harder projects, and one of the more fun.

Screen Shot 2014-07-04 at 12.24.24 PMAuthenticity was key for this project. I didn’t want random colors for each cubie, but instead “positions” that were attainable on a cube. The best way to do that was with an actual scramble, and we opted for the one on which Mats set the world record. That would be easily accessible, I figured, if she messed up the “model” cube that she was using. Of course, she never did. Continue reading

iPhone 240fps Slo-Mo (Ja Perm)

Yes, another quickie slomo video. Ja Perm:

(R’ U2) (R U R’) z R2 (U R’) D (R U’)

I don’t think this iteration is that common, but it’s been my go-to since I stumbled onto it ages ago.

(music: Beats Antique, “Cat Skillz”; cube: Maru CX3)

The key with this one is the z rotation, which converts into more manageable U and D moves what would otherwise be alternating R and L moves. I don’t execute the z as a full rotation, but just enough that my right hand can execute the “coverted” moves.

DIY YJ Yulong Phantom Cube

A quick post and a quick video. I caught a glimpse of the Maru CX3 Phantom Cube the other day and really dug it. In contrast to a typical cube of black plastic with colored stickers, the phantom has black stickers on colored plastic. It’s basically a stickerless cube stickered (on all six sides) with black stickers.

Since I had a handful of black stickers and a Yulong stickerless cube laying around, I figured I could make one myself:

I’ve always been intrigued by stickers on colorless cubes anyway, and this one performs pretty well. That said, the “inverted” scheme makes color recognition really tough. A fun cube, but definitely not one for speedsolving.

iPhone 240fps Slo-Mo (H Perm)

Another slo-mo PLL iPhone video? Maybe this will become a series, after all....

HH was the very first one-look PLL I learned. It forced me to learn M slice flicks for the four M2′ combos, each of which I executed as two single M’ flicks. Soon thereafter I learned double-M’ flicks (pulling back to front across the bottom with my ring then middle finger), allowing much faster execution. Although I also learned double-U flicks, I couldn’t get my right hand fingers into position for those doubles while holding the cube in a way that allowed for the double-M’s. So, I would do double M’s and paired single Us. I eventually learned the M-based U Perms which relied on a mix of U and U’ as shown in this slomo video. Last week, a lot of folks commented that my Ub push/pull finger trick on the U layer was innovative.

What if I used that same trick for the H Perm, like so:

M2′ U’ M2′ U2 M2′ U’ M2′

Turns out, it works quite well.

(music: TAUK, “Sweet Revenge”; cube: Maru CX3)

My left hand index finger executes the U’ by pulling left to right across the front. That puts the index finger in a position to push right to left for the U2, and in a position to do the second U’ like the first. The only challenge was that muscle memory kept telling my left hand to move the M layer as though I was doing a Ub perm. A couple days in, the synapses have adapted and separated the two. My execution is good, but there’s speed to be gained.

AoChuang 5×5 Re-Stickering (Time Lapse)

It’s not easy to make a re-stickering video interesting. So, why make one at all? In this case, it was an excuse to test the iPhone 6 time lapse feature. Here’s about 30 minutes of scraping, cleaning, and stickering a Moyu AoChuang 5×5 reduced to 100 seconds.

(setup: iPhone 6 tripod-mounted with Charger City adapter; music: The New Deal, “Back to the Middle”)

The puzzle and stickers are from The Cubicle in my standard scheme. The cube looks great and performs even better. Easily the best 5×5 out there. Perfectly suited for me, the worst 5×5 solver out there....

iPhone 240fps Slo-Mo (U Perms)

It seems that iPhone 6 slo-mo videos are all the rage these days. Why not jump on the bandwagon? No doubt slow-motion is useful for teaching new algs and finger tricks. Here’s a quick proof of concept based around my execution of the U-Perms:

(setup: iPhone 6 tripod-mounted with Charger City adapter; music: Kung Fu, “Loose”; cube: Dayan Zhanchi)

Not bad for a phone, eh? Although this was shot under the same light as my other videos, it does appear darker and noisier (with the sensor trying to compensate). It seems that the 240fps frame rate does drop the total light processed by a good 50%. I’ll need to blast it with light next time.

I have an ambitious plan up my sleeves for a video based around the slo-mo feature. But with the clunky workflow (needing to pass the video through the iMovie app before offloading for editing in FCPX), it might be a while before I find a solid uninterrupted block of time for it.

P.S. I just recorded a similar video for the Nb Perm (z D’ (R U’ R2′) D (R’ U D’) (R U’ R2′) D (R’ U R) z’):

(setup: tripod-mounted iPhone 6; music: Kung Fu, “Paragon”; cube: Moyu AoLong v1)

Maybe I’ll consider a series of these....