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....


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

M Slice F2L (##15-16)

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:

F2l #15

M U (Rw F’ Rw’) U’ M’

setup: M U (L F L’) U’ M’

equivalent: M U (L F’ L’) U’ M’
conventional: y’ (R’ U R U’) d’ (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.

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.