So, What’s this Blog All About?

I just posted a bit of an self-reflective video on my Youtube channel discussing my vision for the channel and this blog, and arguing that even a slow solver can be a solid and relevant contributor to the community:

The rough script is below. Continue reading

Still Figuring It Out

A colleague in my office sent me this cartoon from the great Pictures in Boxes cartoon blog.

“Neat,” I thought somewhat dismissively, “a clever cubing cartoon.” But the more I focused on it, the more I came to appreciate the message and title (Still Figuring It Out).

I’m not sure if the author/artist intended it as a literal cubing reference or not, but I personally really appreciate the dual literal and metaphorical meaning.

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Two Years In – Thanks, CrazyBadCuber!?!

I had planned on posting a two year cubeiversary video this weekend, it being almost exactly two years from the first time I solved a Rubik’s cube. It was going to show a 30-second solve, before self-deprecatingly mocking myself for not really improving much this year. Yes, my technique is better. Yes, I know more algorithms. Yes, I’m more consistent. But my cross still sucks and my speed just isn’t falling much. Oh well. I never proclaimed to be fast, and even anointed this blog as one for the mediocre.

Well, instead of waking up and editing the video, I found myself laying in bed puzzling over why I had 400 emails (almost all from Youtube). I finally realized that CrazyBadCuber had done one of his Crazy Bad Promo videos featuring my youtube channel! Sweet! Hundreds of new subscribers! Here’s his video:

I’ve always thought that my video production and blog quality both eclipsed my cubing skills. There’s a bias against slower cubers, and I figured I wouldn’t get much attention until I sped up. Continue reading

The Cubing Spy

Well, Mr. Snowden just can’t stay out of the headlines — and probably doesn’t care to — what with his (not-so-)clandestine flight to Moscow, his newfound alliance with Wikileaks, etc. Dude’s in a mess of trouble.

I couldn’t help but snicker when I read the opening lines in this NY Times article last week:

WASHINGTON — The source had instructed his media contacts to come to Hong Kong, visit a particular out-of-the-way corner of a certain hotel, and ask — loudly — for directions to another part of the hotel. If all seemed well, the source would walk past holding a Rubik’s Cube. They followed the directions. A man with a Rubik’s Cube appeared. It was Edward J. Snowden....


(image composited by Adventures in Cubing)

Just one issue: Seems like this self-proclaimed hero du jour didn’t realize that no one over 16 has played with a Rubik’s cube in public since about 1982. (Even our esteemed cubing competitions take place behind closed doors — or, with World in Vegas this year, at least away from anyone who would notice or care.)

Like Manning before him, Snowden seems better at stealing secrets than counter-intelligence. Even our bad spies are no good!?!

Cube Patents

Every once in a while, my hobby intersects with my profession. That was the case a year ago when I wrote about the controversy between Dayan and Seven Towns over the latter’s (largely exaggerated, I believe) position that it had a copyright/trade dress claim against any cube maker using the standard yellow-white/red-orange/blue-green color scheme. And it’s the case again now, with my recent project to decorate my new office. I figured that the lawyer who deals with patents by day and speedcubes in his free time might as well have some topical art.

I downloaded a variety of cube related patents, ranging from the very first related patent of which I’m aware (from the 60s), the Japanese magnetic 2×2 patent from the 70s, the Hungarian and US Rubik patents from the early 80s, the (in)famous Verdes V-Cube patents, and the (relatively) recent Dayan ones. In Photoshop, I assembled them into a composite with the abstract pages and key diagrams, had it printed at 24×36 by Kinkos (for $4.50), and framed it (via Aaron Brothers for $35). Voila! Legal-cube-nerd art:


Click on the thumbnail to expand. I’m not convinced there’s a high demand for this sort of thing, but, just in case, here are links for downloading it:

pdf (15MB) | png (16MB) | png (50% size – 6MB)

(Again, I doubt there’s interest, but I would just ask that no-one commercialize it, and that I get credited/linked-back if anyone uses it online.)

And if the composite file isn’t enough, here’s a video. A veritable multimedia smorgasbord!

(music: “Apache,” Incredible Bongo Band)

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New 3×3 World Record

It seems that there’s a new sheriff in town. I awoke this morning to a youtube stream full of buzz about Mats Valk’s 5.55-second solve yesterday at the 2013 Zonhoven Open. For those keeping score, that’s a new world record — topping Feliks Zemdegs’ 5.66 solve from the 2011 Melbourne Winter Open.

The Solve

Unlike Feliks’ solve, there’s a pretty decent video of Mats’ that he posted on his youtube channel just after the Open:

Pretty remarkable solve. Continue reading

(Partial) PLL Speed (of Tortoise) Attack

There are 21 PLL algorithms, with an average of 15 moves (QTM) each. Those are enormously intimidating figures for someone new to cubing — especially if that someone is, say, in his mid-thirties, has a demanding job, two kids, and, therefore, limited time and energy. And even more so if, as the four readers who occasionally glance at this blog’s carefully produced and curated content already know about me, that someone is just plain bad at memorizing. That’s why, when I began this curious adventure a little bit more than ten months ago, I did so with appropriate humility. I had no illusions of being a 10-second solver, and nary a thought of even consistently approaching 45 seconds. This would be a fun distraction — something I could do interstitially. A low overhead, low footprint hobby. For it to become anything more, I figured, I’d have to do all this memorizing. Perish the thought.

And now this. A video of my version of a PLL speed attack (explanation below), showing my timed execution of the 17 PLLs I know.

Continue reading