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. 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:
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:
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.
It was exactly three years ago this weekend that I solved a Rubik’s Cube for the first time. Escaping the craziness that can come with too much family over Thanksgiving weekend, I spent an hour in front of YouTube, scribbled some notes, turned on my webcam, and recorded this six-minute solve. I thought I was awesome.
Fast forward three years, and I’m not longer impressed by being able to solve cubes, even big ones. Speed is impressive (certainly the sub-10 folks blow my mind), but that’s never going to be me. Three years in, I’m still hovering at 30 seconds for a 3×3, and I’m actually ok with that. What impresses and intrigues me even further is deepening my knowledge; I’m always interested in learning new techniques and approaches (in my very limited spare time).
For a little while, now, I’ve been focussed on using the M slice to make easier and reduce rotations in certain “tough” F2L cases. These two — #15 and #16 — boiled to the top:
M U (L F’ L’) U’ M’
executed as: M U (Rw F’ Rw’) U’ M’
setup: M U (L F L’) U’ M’
conventional: y’ (R’ U R U’) d’ (R U R’) U (R’ F R F’) U (R U R’)
M U’ (R’ F R) U M’
setup: M U’ (R’ F’ R) U M’
conventional: y’ (R U’ R’ U) d (R’ U’ R)
I’ve identified 8 other cases that are interesting contenders for M slice F2L. But some would be just as clunky as the conventional approaches. As Cyoubx very clearly articulates in this video, M slice (as part of forced rotationless) F2L taken to its extreme starts to approximate Roux — and bad Roux at that. I’m interested in exploring Roux more. But, for now, I think there are certain key F2L cases that can be converted to M and used in Fridrich/CFOP without veering into bad-Roux-land. While I continue to explore the others, I think these two work quite well.
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.
Another slo-mo PLL iPhone video? Maybe this will become a series, after all....
H 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:
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.
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:
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’):