More Tough F2L

My post on “Weird” F2L is the most viewed on this site, and features the most popular video on my Youtube channel — with continuing thanks to CBC! So, I decided to copy the same format to showcase three more tough (at least for me) F2L cases. It turns out that these actually are easy cases. It’s just that the “intuitive” approaches are clunky, and the easy approaches non-intuitive.

Here’s the video tutorial, followed by table contrasting my old (intuitive) approaches against these improved ones:

(music: New Mastersounds, “You Mess Me Up”; cube: Maru CX3 w/ stock stickers)

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“Weird” F2L Improved (##11-12, 23-24)

There are limits to intuitive F2L (so-called). There, I said it. Again. Yes, the concept of pairing edges and corners in the top layer before insertion is elementary, and, in many instances, you can intuit just how to do that — splitting pairs, using empty slots, etc. But the solution to certain cases is far from intuitive. Which is to say that purely intuitive approaches might work, but inefficiently (too many moves, unnecessary cube rotations, etc.).

Cases 23 and 24 are prime examples; their cousins, 11 and 12, are close seconds. Having spent a few days on these four cases (watching videos, looking on the speedsolving wiki, etc.), I found much better solutions than my “intuitive” ones. (With the exception of #23, which I had learned from Andy Klise’s excellent F2L Cheat Sheet.)

The improved cases are demonstrated in the video below and summarized in the chart that follows it. The cube is an F2L Practice Cube, basically a Maru Cx3 with only the bottom two layers stickered. Anyone learning F2L should un-sticker the top layer of a cube to prevent distraction and increase F2L focus.

(music: Budos Band, “Nature’s Wrath”; cube: Maru CX3 w/ stock stickers)

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New Camera Test – Edge Flip

Vixia HF R400I’m a bit of a shutterbug, with a couple nice SLR bodies and a collection of Canon L glass at home. Once upon a time I had a really nice video camera that we used to film the kids doing kid stuff — you know, first steps and all that jazz. Well, the passage of time made that that camcorder seem prehistoric. Time to get a new one to record the goings-ons with the kids….

Enter a Canon VIXIA HF R400, a compact camcorder packing a big punch on a digestible budget. This blog is an unintended beneficiary.

As the owner of an SLR that falsely-claims noise-free 3200 ISO shots, I assure you that I approached the R400’s low-light claims skeptically. Less skeptical was I of the solid slow-motion claim, based on the option of recording at 60fps. I tested both in this quick video:

(cube: Moyu Weilong with Cube Specialists fitted Bright+ stickers)

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Megaminx Beginner’s Walkthrough, ECE Trio Tutorial (no last layer)

I’ve been on a Megaminx kick for the past 10 days. After posting that 10-minute (plus) non-last-layer solve, I practiced a bit more and finally did learn the last layer (beginners’ tutorial coming soon). I’m down to about 6 minutes now for a full solve. With one exception that I’ll point to in my upcoming last layer post, I couldn’t find many good Megaminx tutorials online. Instead, I kept bumping into statements that solving a Megaminx is just like solving a 3×3 — but with a bunch more F2L steps. Yeah, that is basically right. But not entirely.

On a cube there are just 4 F2L slots. Except for some incremental efficiency gains, there’s really no magic to the order in which you fill those slots. On a Megaminx, order does matter — at least, I found that certain face/slot orders flows more smoothly, with a lot less potential for accidentally destroying already-solved portions.

I also found that there will always be one tricky V-shaped slot formed by an edge-corner-edge (ECE) trio. In the end, it turns out that’s it’s not that hard to form and insert the trio without breaking up the solved neighboring faces. I just wish someone would have created a clear tutorial one it, since it’s not entirely intuitive. Having figured out a technique that worked well for me, I decided to do a quick walk-thru video showing the face/slot order I use and then explaining the way I fill that ECE trio:

This is a beginner doing a beginner’s work; there’s some inefficiency and excess hunting throughout. Continue reading

F2L – Corner Placed, Edge in U

As though quoting Scripture, the entire community seems speaks in one harmonized voice when it comes to F2L:

Learn F2L intuitively. Don’t memorize F2L algorithms.

Yeah, ok. I get the point. Intuitively, it’s not hard to grasp pairing corners and edges and then inserting them. And it’s not hard to see how to do that in many instances — splitting pairs, using empty slots, etc.

But I do contend that certain F2L cases are anything but intuitive. In particular, I found completely non-intuitive the cases in which a corner is inserted (but flipped), with the corresponding edge in the U layer. Indeed, I’ve gotten in the inefficient habit of simply getting the corner into the top layer without regard to where (with a R U R’, for example), and then treating it, ahem, like an intuitive F2L case.

No longer. I’m committed to learning the four cases below. The first one is easy — a Sexy Move plus an easy peasy insertion. But the others are so damn similar that I find it nearly impossible to keep them separated in my head. Any suggestions?

setup pairing insertion
(R U R’ U’) (R U R’)
y’ (R’ U R U’) (R’ U R)
(R U’ R’ U) (R U’ R’)
y’ (R’ U’ R U) (R’ U’ R)