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

crystal cube hack – part 2

hacked crystal cubeI wrote last week in Part 1 of this post about hacking, so to speak, a Ghosthand Crystal Cube. As detailed in that post, I wired past the motion sensor and on-board IC that caused the irritating and impractical blinking. That forced the cube into a constant-on state once I connected two leads that I had temporarily extended through the core for testing.

As described below, I solved that problem with a switch inside the core that could be reached with a paper clip. Here is a video of the final result, showing the cube powering on/off and a sample solve in the pitch dark. It’s not a speed-cube, and it is prone to pops and lock-ups, so I solved at a casual 55-second pace.

Continue reading

crystal cube hack – part 1

Ghost Hand Crystal Cube

Part 2 available here.

I thought it would be a fun novelty to have a cube that lit from its core. It would make it easier to cube in dim light — and, let’s face it, not being able to cube in dim light tops the serious first world problems list!?! And it would be fun. There are some decent glow-in-the-dark cubes (e.g., the C4U ones). But those have to be “charged” and need a very dark environment to glow. They also don’t help one bit with sticker colors.

It turns out that there is at least one model of light-up cubes: The Ghosthand Crystal Cube, which is a bargain at a mere $5.99. Knowing I’d want to “hack” the cube, I bought three.

Hack it? Yep, hack it. Continue reading

36 seconds (on-video PB)

I just got my fastest recorded (on video) 3×3 solve of 36 seconds. I’ll cut to the chase, and put the long-winded commentary below the media content for once. Here’s the video:

(music: “The War” from the Duplicity soundtrack; cube: properly Lubixed white 57mm Dayan Zhanchi with Cube Depot light matte sticker set)

At 36.10, this was not my fastest 3×3 solve; Continue reading

28 seconds

My first sub-30 solve: 28.28 seconds!  Pretty Lights’ “Finally Moving” played in the background.

Clearly, this is well outside of my ~40 second average. Even with the benefit of the 28-second solve, the session average was over 40 seconds. Everything just came together easily: I visualized the cross perfectly and performed it in six moves; my four F2L insertions went off without a hitch and with minimal hunting; and I knew the OLL (#23).

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I got lucky with a PLL skip, which probably saved me 4 seconds. But, even if you throw in a 2-look PLL, I should have been below my previous personal best of 34 seconds (with best-recorded of 39 seconds).

I guess my recent F2L work is paying off!

39 seconds (on camera)

Over the past few weeks, I’ve posted a series of personal bests — culminating in last week’s 34 second solve.  But none of those PBs were evidenced by anything other than a screen capture.  So, it was nice just now to record (on my hastily set up iPad) this 39-second solve before diving into my work day.

This was on my re-stickered Dayan Zhanchi, with my custom (homemade) G‑sticker.  This nicely showcases my slow but steady evolution — with no remnants of the Beginner’s Method. Advanced cross, F2L, Antisune (OLL 26), and the just-learned Ub Perm for the PLL edge cycle.

34 seconds

Another personal best: 34.0 seconds! Brad Mehldau’s angular take on “My Favorite Things” played in the background. Proof that jazz is good for the soul.

In my excitement at shaving a full 4.8 seconds off my last best time, I neglected to get a screen grab with that big ‘ol 34.0 in the middle. (Of course, nothing proves that I’ve actually solving anything in the times of which I boast — with requisite humility, mind you. Meaningless in terms of evidence, but still meaningful to me.)

So, I thought I’d post this chart of my last 11 days of sessions (since switching to gqTimer) instead. Nevermind the slight improvement of my averages. I’m struck by the consistency — right around session averages of 50-seconds. Freak personal bests pop up, but 50 seconds is inarguably where I am at this point.