I’m still here. Work travel, family vacation, the kids back in school, and soccer season starting. All of a sudden a month passes....
As I get back into the swing of things, I wanted to make this quick video showcasing my new custom cubing mat and previewing a few projects and tutorials queued up for the next few weeks:
As described in the video, the mat design is a simple “segment” from the denser cube patent composite poster I had made last year. The centerpiece is the main US patent issued to Erno Rubik in 1983, based, as it were, on his 1978 Hungarian patent. I set it up on graph paper to make it seem like an engineer’s sketch, laid it out on a bias, and did a full-bleed to make it more modern. After some debate, I decided to make the background gray, rather than black. The reduced contrast would make it less distracting as a background for videos, I figured.
I ordered the 14″ x 24″ mat from Inked Playmats for $24. Their service was great, and the mat arrived three days after I updloaded the art. The quality matches a standard mousepad, but is much thinner (at about 1/16″). I’d definitely recommend the Inked Playmats.
There are 21 PLL algorithms, with an average of 15 moves (QTM) each. Those are enormously intimidating figures for someone new to cubing — especially if that someone is, say, in his mid-thirties, has a demanding job, two kids, and, therefore, limited time and energy. And even more so if, as the four readers who occasionally glance at this blog’s carefully produced and curated content already know about me, that someone is just plain bad at memorizing. That’s why, when I began this curious adventure a little bit more than ten months ago, I did so with appropriate humility. I had no illusions of being a 10-second solver, and nary a thought of even consistently approaching 45 seconds. This would be a fun distraction — something I could do interstitially. A low overhead, low footprint hobby. For it to become anything more, I figured, I’d have to do all this memorizing. Perish the thought.
And now this. A video of my version of a PLL speed attack (explanation below), showing my timed execution of the 17 PLLs I know.
I received an email responding to my last post (the one in which I declared this a blog for the mediocre!). I explained at the end of that post that, yes, clichéd as it is, the best advice for learning complicated algorithms is practice, practice, practice. The email asked how I practice. The short story is algorithm-by-algorithm, perm-by-perm. I just learned the Ra PLL, for example: (R U2 R) D (R’ U R) D’ (R’ U’) (R’ U R U R’). It was among the harder perms I’ve learned, and I’m not fast at it — between 3 and 4.5 seconds. So, I just drill over and over and over. Do it, reset, do it again. Here’s a quick video showing it:
Yes, that’s a just-purchased off-brand Stackmat timer connected to CCT on my work PC. “Shanty” form Bright Light Social Hour’s brilliant self-titled album is barely audible in the background.