This is the third installment in the tough/hard/weird/non-intuitive F2L series, with the first and second posts among the most popular on this site and my Youtube channel. These cases (#15-18) require splitting top-layer pairs before re-combining them — what the F2L wiki refers to as “splitting pairs by going over.” As with the cases in the other tutorials, having now spent some time with alternate algorithms, these seem less “tough” than just non-intuitive.
Following the format of the previous installments, here’s a video tutorial, followed by table contrasting my old (intuitive) approaches against the improved ones:
(music: Bassnectar, “Timestretch (West Coast Lo Fi Remix)”; cube: Maru CX3 w/ stock stickers)
If you’ve followed this blog at all, you’ll know that I’ve spent a fair bit of time looking for vendors that could print custom logo stickers (for branded center stickers). As my logo grew more refined and intricate, so did my expectations from vendors.
The logo started as a monochrome/grayscale simple stylized G that I printed on my laser printer. I eventually had a sheet of that logo printed, as I described in my first sticker post. From there, the logo evolved into a G on a colored background resembling a scrambled cube, the letter setoff by a white stroke. I eventually discovered oliverstickers.com, which is run by Olivér Nagy, a really nice guy from Budapest who prints stickers for a lot of European cubers. He printed me a good amount of stock in that logo at great prices; as I blogged about those stickers, the stock quality was good and full-color printing was sharp enough. There was slight pixelation, but only up-close; from a normal distance, they look great. The pricing was excellent (about $13 to my door), and they arrived within two weeks of ordering, even with shipping from Hungary. Here’s a link to the logo section of his shop. When I developed my new logo sting for my videos, the logo evolved once more — adding a drop shadow, a reflection/glare, and a bit more refinement to the G’s size and placement.
I was about to place another order with Olivér, when Bradley (Izo) of puzzleaddictions.com, knowing I was looking for a domestic sticker printer, made me some test stickers. They’re terrific:
I discovered a couple months ago on the speedsolving.com forum that Dayan made a small run of Zhanchis in clear plastic around April 2011. They were prototypes, and only about 100 were made. A few vending sites, such as 51morefun.com and lightake.com list them, but as sold-out at this point. Given the rarity, they’ve been hawked on Ebay for over $800!?!
I’ve always dug clear products. Getting to see the inner-workings of intricate machines is fascinating. So, the chance of getting my favorite puzzle in a translucent model was intriguing. The rarity of it made it that much more so. But I wasn’t going to drop 8 Franklins for what is otherwise a $12 puzzle!?!
I eventually found someone on the speedsolving.com forum who was willing to part with a new DIY kit at a reasonable price. I received it a couple weeks ago and finally got a chance to assemble it. Here’s a video:
Peruse YouTube for a couple minutes, and you’ll find hundreds of videos showcasing sub-20-second speedsolving. You may even stumble onto Feliks setting his 5.66 second world record. Crazy impressive on all sorts of differents levels. Good for him. Not the least bit of enmity or jealousy on my end.
But dig a little deeper and you’ll find, as I did, something more sinister: a clip of Justin Bieber on Spanish TV solving a cube in 1:26. While I find his music beyond abhorrent, I can at least appreciate that the kid has some singing and dancing talent. Good for you, Justin. But I simply could not allow myself to be out-cubed by the pretty-boy. Not competitive by nature, I succumbed to an unusual, embarrasing, almost preternatural drive to beat him. Then, after two weeks of further practice, I did: