Adventures in 4x4ing

Excepting a one-week detour to play with a Pyraminx and a weekend of fiddling with 2x2s, my cubing adventure has been exclusively a 3×3 one. Back in April, I purchased a QJ Mini 4×4 on amazon, and I thought I might get into it. Instead, I dove more deeply into the 3×3’s, learning F2L far better, mastering the PLLs (just 3 Gs left), and picking up OLLs here and there.

On Saturday, my five-year stumbled onto a youtube video of a 7×7 solve (probably starting with my youtube history) and asked, “Dad — why don’t you get a big cube?” Not one to argue with the flights of a kid’s imagination, I relented by pulling out my dusty 4×4. (A far cry from a 7×7, but, like a camera, the best one is the one that’s with you.) I spent 30 minutes in front of youtube (learning, as I did with a 3×3, from RobH0629‘s great tutorial), scribbled down a few parity algorithms, and then, voila!, solved a 4×4. Continue reading


Lego Cube

There was no toy I enjoyed more as a kid than my Legos.  I remember the exact drawer in which we stored them and have vivid memories of building a two-story house with my Dad, with shutters that we would open and close each morning and evening.  In the world before cable TV and the internet and iPads and computers, I had Lego (and Brio) — and that was all I needed.

Now that I’m all growns up, so to speak, with new hobbies and distractions and family obligations, it’s always fun to re-live some of that childhood nostalgia.  My son loves playing with my old Brio set and Lego.  What great cross-generational fun!

Which explains why I was so excited to stumble upon RedKB’s well-produced video showing how to make a Lego-adorned Rubik’s cube.   Continue reading

Pyraminx Restickering

As I posted last weekend, I’ve enjoyed the distraction of my QJ Pyraminx.  It’s a fun puzzle, and the QJ turns easily with just the right amount of clickiness.  My only complaint was that the stickers, while good quality, were pretty drab.  The red was very dark and the green and blue were hard to distinguish in low light.  Enter cubesmith.

I re-stickered this morning with a set of bright/flourescent stickers, and am really happy with the results.  (Strangely, the iridescent orange appears red in the video.)  As long as I had the GoCam handy, I set it up and captured the process in time-lapse. Fifteen minutes compressed to 90 seconds:

music: Thom Yorke‘s chilling solo rendition of, fittingly, “Pyramid Song” (from October 26, 2002 Bridge School Benefit, an amazing cause!)

first timed pyraminx solve (31 secs)

My QJ pyraminx arrived last week. So far, I’ve spent a couple hours with it and a few good youtube tutorials (this one, especially). It’s a far easier puzzle than a 3×3 cube — not only because it has only four faces, but also because (disregarding the “trivial tips”) each face has only two solvable layers.

Hence, my 31-second solve after very little practice:

music: Nero’s remix of Deadmau5‘s “Ghosts N’ Stuff,” from The Art of Flight soundtrack

Continue reading

adventures in pyraminxing

With all the talk of Passover and Egypt of late, I decided that it was time to shake things up. Enter the pyraminx. I just ordered the QJ one from amazon. It should be here on Tuesday (thanks to Amazon Prime).

Here’s the wiki summary:

The Pyraminx is a puzzle in the shape of a tetrahedron, divided into 4 axial pieces, 6 edge pieces, and 4 trivial tips. It can be twisted along its cuts to permute its pieces. The axial pieces are octahedral in shape, although this is not immediately obvious, and can only rotate around the axis they are attached to. The 6 edge pieces can be freely permuted. The trivial tips are so called because they can be twisted independently of all other pieces, making them trivial to place in solved position.

Judging by youtube videos, the pyraminxes are more intuitive and easier to solve than a 3x3x3 cube. We’ll see….