Tag Archives: video

F2L #36 – S Slice Variant

F2L 36

R U S’ (R’ U R) S R’
[setup: (R U’ R) U2 (F R’ F’ R) U2]

Four months! It’s been four full months since my last video/post. Totally unlike me. Busy is an understatement. It’s finally time to come for air momentarily with a tutorial I’ve planned for a long time.

This one relates to F2L 36, a case that I’ve never liked. The standard alg — U2 (R' F R F') U2 (R U R') — isn’t terribly slow. Nor is it very smooth or fluid. (My older video on that version.) I’ve come to prefer a “tricked out” variant that comes by way of Teller West — and, no surprise, it’s based around the S slice.

Here’s an in-depth tutorial comparing the standard alg to the S slice variant, showing my finger-tricks (very different than Teller’s), and vindicating the standard alg for certain cases:

(cube: Maru CX-3, partially un-stickered))

Like most S-based algs, this one succeeds or fails on finding a fluid, effortless way to finger-trick the slice. I couldn’t manage it the way Teller does. But once I “made it my own” — my recurring advice to cubers of all levels — the alg came together quickly. I push the S’ right-to-left across the top using my index finger, which is naturally on the right side of that edge after the R U; I pull the S left-to-right across the top after the R’ U R lands my index finger to the left of the edge. Mechanically, it all makes sense. But timing is everything.

I’m fascinated by how this algorithm can be deconstructed into component parts to help explain it’s mechanics:

   R U
             S’
                   R’ U R
             S
   R’

The first “level” in blue is a standard corner insert. Sandwiched between is a series of self-reversing S slices at the next “level” in red, and between those a series of self-reversing R moves (with the critical U smack in the middle). Huh? Basically, it’s a corner insert. But, just before the final R’, the S’ knocks out an edge, the R’ U R brings around the replacement (previously stuck F2L edge). The S flips that edge while pairing it with the corner. When the corner finally inserts, it brings the edge with it. Pretty neat.

Once understood as an expansion of the simple R U R’ insert, it becomes obvious why the S version works only when the flipped edge is in its own slot. If the flipped edge is in another slot, you need to use another alg — as emphasized at the end of the video.

It was fun to spend time on this one. Busy I remain, but hopefully it won’t take another four months to pump out the next post.

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Excuses: 34-Sec Ao5

It just takes an on-camera 34-second Ao5 (this one as a submission for Paradox Cubing’s 10k Subscriber Contest) to remind me that well, uh, I kinda suck at this cubing thing. I know that 34 seconds is impressive to 99.9% of the general population. But three years into this thing, I should be at speedsolving levels, and 34-seconds isn’t really there.

Nevertheless, since I’ve never been bashful about being mediocre and it not really bothering me, I figure that I might as well post the average. But then to show that, gee, maybe I am a wee bit self-conscious about the time, I’ll follow up with an excuse video.

(cube: Dayan Zhanchi; music: Grateful Dead, “The Eleven” (2.14.68))

Sucky, right? And in multiple different ways:

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First Unboxing Video (Aolong/Yulong)

Just a quick post about the first and only unbxoing on my Youtube channel, showcasing three Moyu cubes: a black Aolong, black Yulong, and colored translucent Yulong:

It’s been a long while since I ordered new 3x3s. Although a lot of new cubes have been released lately, and the few I’ve tried have no doubt impressed me, none have displaced the Zhanchi as king of all things 3×3 (for me). The two that have come close are Cyoubx’ Maru CX-3 and the Moyu Weilong, the older sibling of the Aolong. Both are interesting, but have their flaws. The Weilong is smooth but locky. The CX-3 performs well, but is hard to tension properly and is really square, with almost no beveling on the outer edges. A picky criticism, perhaps, but it does have an odd “hand-feel” because of it. Continue reading

Fung OLLs (##39-40)

The two “Fung” OLLs — the large “square” lighting bolts — each have an occurrence probability of 1/54, and together 1/27 (3.7%). They seem to appear more often for me; I would have guessed more like 1/15. Whatever the frequency, it was time to learn these.

#39 – FUNG


f’ L F L’ U’ L’ U L S

#40 – ANTI-FUNG


f R’ F’ R U R U’ R’ S’

The standard algs for these didn’t flow very well for me. Digging a bit deeper, I found the alternate ones with the S moves to be easy and regrip-less. Here’s a video tutorial:

(puzzle: Maru CX3 w/ stock stickers)

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Google Doodle, Hot Mic

Today, Google marked the 40th Anniversary of the Rubik’s Cube with an interactive doodle. Super fun.

I noticed the doodle late last night, but grew frustrated when, like a name-brand Rubik’s cube, it didn’t seem to do easily what my fingers (by way of the mouse) wanted it to do. Trying again with more patience, I got the hang of it and recorded a fun solve taking 2:16, about 4 times longer than my average solve time for (real) cubes.

Hilariously/disturbingly, in so doing, I also joined the list of folks with open/live/hot mic slip-ups — when I didn’t realize until the very end that my Snowball iCE mic was still plugged in. So, yeah, I apparently mutter to myself when I solve, narrating as I go. Awesome.

Not quite as sloppy as Obama’s “last election” comment to Medvedev; as embarrassing as Jesse Jackson’s on Obama; as noteworthy as Bush on the NYTimes; as potentially calamitous as Reagan joking that “we begin bombing in five minutes“; nor as, uh, interesting as Donald Sterling’s. But still pretty funny, especially when I discover the hot mic at the very end of the video.

I generally don’t audbily talk myself through solves. I think it was just the awkwardness of solving through a mouse on a screen.... You can hear my frustration when I got cases with algorithms that would be clunky virtually — and can even hear me grab a Zhanchi when I got halfway through the R PLL, helping transfer muscle memory into mouse clicks.

Great doodle, Google. Thanks for marking the day!

Dual Commentary with TazzVidz

stick-figuresAbout a month ago, TazzVidz approached me about doing a dual commentary on his channel. I was a bit skeptical at first. But then I decided that it might be refreshing to do a humble, earnest dual commentary.

I’ve written here ad nauseam that I think I’m a good cuber, but a mediocre speedsolver — dubbing this site a blog for the mediocre. It was in that vein that I did the interview/commentary. He layered the commentary over a video of *him* doing a 4×4 Ao5. I think it came out great:

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Excuses…Excuses — (0:39) Ao5 with a Cast

Here’s a dirty little (not-so-)secret fact: I’m a mediocre cuber. Indeed, mediocrity is, in a sense, the raison d’être of this blog.

me·di·o·cre [mee-dee-oh-ker]
of only ordinary or moderate quality; neither good nor bad; barely adequate
     synonyms: undistinguished, commonplace, pedestrian, everyday; run-of-the-mill
     antonyms: extraordinary, superior, uncommon, incomparable

More accurately, I’d say that I’m a pretty good cuber, but a very mediocre speedsolver. My technique is decent. I know all PLLs and can execute them efficiently. I understand intuitive F2L very well, and have learned a lot of tricks for more complicated cases. And I’ve got about 60% of the OLLs under my belt. But when it comes to putting them all together into full solves, I’m just not that great. My cross stinks. My look-ahead is non-existent. And, under the pressure of the clock, I tend to confuse F2L cases and forget OLL cases. That’s why I average just under 30 seconds.

And that’s why I very rarely record full solves and, even more rarely, averages. Well, after my surgery and with this damn cast still on my arm (¡au voir mañana!), I thought I could record an average of 5 (Ao5) with a built-in excuse. And so I did. Here’s the video with a 39 second Ao5 (and with BIG apologies for so much of it being out of frame!):

(puzzle: Dayan Zhanchi w/ Cube Specialists fitted bright stickers; music: String Cheese Incident performing “Galactic > So What?” on 7.30.03)

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