Backlit Cube – Pitch Black Solve

Below is a video of a 35-second solve in total darkness. No, not a blind solve. I can’t do that!?! A solve on an LED-backlit cube….

(music: Medeski Martin & Wood, “Uninvisible”)

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Maru CX3 / 60-Second PLL Time Attack

It’s been a little while since my last post — that monster parity article that still has my head hurting.  I’ve got a couple things in the works, but I put them aside when I got a Maru CX3 the other day.  I’m really impressed with the cube, and I found my turn style and speed improving with it.  On a whim, I thought I’d give a sub-60 PLL Time Attack another go with the CX3.  I came awfully close, at 60.65 seconds.  Here’s the video (with apologies for some of the out-of-frameness):

(music: Lettuce, “Outta Here”; cube: Maru CX3 w/ stock stickers)

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PLL Time Attack (72 seconds)

It’s been a little while since I felt like I’ve accomplished much in terms of cubing, especially after plateauing at about 30-35 seconds on 3×3 solves. So, I decided to revisit PLL time attacks, and, after a few days of practice, got a good outcome: an on-camera 72-second PLL attack that started and ended with a solved cube:

(music: Dexter Gordon, “Scrapple from the Apple”; cube: Zhanchi w/ ModCuber fitted full-bright stickers)

By way of brief background, PLL is the last step in CFOP — once you have a solved bottom face, solved bottom two layers, and solved top face. All that’s left is to get those four edges and four corners in the top layer rejiggered into their proper position. There are 21 PLL cases (22 if you count solved), each named after a letter that somewhat resembles the pattern of the edge and corner swaps. More detailed background and the PLL algorithms can be found on the wiki.

A PLL time attack is the performance of each of the 21 PLLs in a stream without stopping. Completing it in a minute is respectable, but not amazing; forty-five seconds is really good; and better than that is truly impressive. When I first learned PLLs, I did a quasi time attack — quasi because it was truncated (I did the Gs separately), because I did each PLL individually (not in a single stream), and because I used my best of three attempts per PLL. The sum of the 21 parts was 66 seconds. Continue reading

AL60 Solve Response – 35 seconds (Arghhhh!)

Yesterday, AL60Ri7HMi57 posted a quick video with new lighting and a clean 22-second solve. In the comments, she wrote, “Do the scramble and post your time in the comments below!” So, I figured I’d give it a shot. I had my camcorder charging on my desk, so I haphazardly aimed it, flipped it on, scrambled, and solved. 35.65 seconds. Not great. But, in all honesty, right about where I am. At least on video. I’m about 5-7 seconds faster off video, without the inexplicable nervousness of being on-cam.

The Video and Initial Observations

My first reaction was to ignore the solve and move on. Rarely one to miss an opportunity for self-examination, though, I decided to learn from it. So, for better or worse, here’s the video.

(music: String Cheese Incident, ¡Bam! (March 23, 2002); cube: black Zhanchi w/ Cube Specialists fitted bright stickers and modded Cubesmith grey stickers for U face)

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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

39-Second Aof5 entry, analysis (cyoubx/mitchell lane competition)

Competing? Really?

golf-swing-analysisYou don’t skip the company’s annual golf tournament because you’re a double-bogey golfer. You go, drink a few beers, have a good time, and learn a thing or two from the guys who live on the course. At least that’s what I do.

And, metaphorically, that’s what I did when I decided to submit an entry into an online competition administered by cyoubx and Mitchell Lane. They provided scrambles for several events (2×2, 3×3, 4×4, pyraminx) and invited people to “compete” by submitting video responses showing their solves. It would be based on the honor system (no way to prevent people from filming themselves multiple times and submitting only their best), and there would be no prizes. The express purpose was “to ‘meet’ other cubers,” “to encourage personal improvement,” and to strengten “a sense of community” among cubers.

I knew there was zero chance I could win this thing, averaging around 42 seconds (with my better solves in the mid-thirties). But I dug the concept and the chance to try something different as part of the community. Minimally, like folks who film their golf swing for analysis, I figured that I could learn something about my technique.

Video Submission, Results

Here is the 3×3 video I submitted, with a best solve of 37 seconds and an average of five of 39 seconds I realize that the edits between each solve give the appearance of multiple attempts. And there were. But not the cheating of multiple solve attempts; worse, it was multiple scramble attempts!?! Half-way through each of the scrambles, I caught myself reversing (or at least worrying that I had reversed) the inverse/non-inverses for Ds, Ls, and Bs. So I had to keep starting over to make sure I got each scramble right. Trust me, if I were going to cheat, I would have submitted better solves without glaring mistakes!?!

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