Thursday, September 14, 2017

2x2x2 Algorithms


1. Bottom Layer
Color neutral
Not the layer—just the bottom
2. OLL
L2 U2 L U2 L2
F (R U Ri Ui) x 2 Fi
R U Ri U R U2 Ri
Li Ui L Ui Li U2 L
F (R U Ri Ui) Fi
(R U Ri Ui) (Ri F R Fi)
Fi (R U Ri Ui) (Ri F R)

3. PBL
MatchesAlgorithm
0R2 B2 R2
1(R Ui R) F2 (Ri U Ri) [Top Front]
2R2 Ui B2 U2 R2 Ui R2 [Front]
4[Bottom]
(R2 Ui B2 U2 R2 Ui R2) U2 (R2 Ui B2 U2 R2 Ui R2)
or (F R Ui) (Ri Ui R U) (Ri Fi) (R U Ri Ui) (Ri F R Fi)
5[Top Front]
(R' U R U') R2 (F' U' F U) (R F R' F') R2 U'
or [Top Left]
(R U Ri Ui) (Ri F R2 Ui) (Ri Ui R U) (Ri Fi)

I am learning to solve the 2x2x2 faster and smoother. Why? Because Josiah got a 2x2x2 for his birthday and he is into speed.

The method I am learning is Ortega. Not the fastest, but potentially very fast indeed. And of course, I have deviated a bit from the Ortega method because I already know an F Perm algorithm, so why learn the T Perm? Although it would probably be good for Josiah to learn it for later use on the 3x3x3. And when there are 4 matches I can use the 2 match algorithm twice instead of learning the Y Perm. Again it would probably be better for Josiah to learn the Y Perm.

I might just mention that the Ortega Method for the 3x3x3 is simply a Corners First Method. So I can incorporate and practice what I am learning when solving a 3x3x3 corners first.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Another BLD Solve On The First Try

This is good. I was beginning to think I had lost it. Only 1 piece was solved after the scramble. All were solved when I opened my eyes.

L U' B2 L' D R2 U F R U2 F' U2 R U2 L' D' R' F' D2 L2 B' L' D B' L

I am not stressing as much about when to transition from and to M2/D2 and F Perm. I get an idea before starting, but then think about it as I go.

Puzzle Shopping Adventure #1

(The following is an email I sent to Brandy)

I have a story to tell. 6 of the stickers I originally got from Jason were too long. He made them 26 mm like the tall ones of the bottom layer instead of 22 mm like they should be. They are the 6 biggest stickers of the top and bottom faces when the puzzle is cube-shaped and the thinnest layer is the top layer.

While I was applying your stickers as soon as I discovered one that was not right I emailed him. As it turned out I sent him 9 emails that night and he responded to all of them. In other words we had quite a conversation throughout the evening as my work progressed. In the end he apologized and said he would send replacement stickers and give me any set of stickers I wanted. That is how I got the standard color stickers for my black Mirror Blocks Cube. 

I also have the 6 replacement stickers for each of our cubes. I just stickered my bright yellow cube with the original stickers. I left off the 6 replacement stickers so it will be easier to tell where Josiah's go. But really, it isn't hard to tell.

So how is it that I was able to give you a completely stickered cube on time for the party? I hand cut the stickers that were too long with an exacto knife then rounded the corners with scissors. Did you notice that some of the stickers didn't look quite right?

In the meantime I ordered a new Z cube with colorful carbon fiber stickers from SpeedCubeShop. I paid $5 extra for them to do a "Professional Setup Service" on it so it would be smooth and quiet out of the box. But it wasn't. Evidently they did not do the setup, or they did not do it correctly, because three of the six springs were way noisy. So I contacted them via email and went back and forth with Cameron about how to make it right. In the end I decided to lube it myself and asked if he would send me a $5 product to make up for their mistake. He said he would. I asked for a Sticker Remover Kit! It hasn't come yet but when it does I will replace the six stickers on Josiah's cube.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Back In The Groove? I Hope So.

Eyes Closed First Try Solve!!! I didn't take notes, and I started with edges. When I got to the end of the edges it dawned on me that I had learned a wrong letter. It shouldn't be BAR, it should be BAO. I don't know why I thought O was R in the first place, but I'm glad I caught my mistake during the solve. It was good to get it. I used my black stickered Z cube. I really like the way it feels as I twist and turn it. I think Alex called it squishy. It fits.

Monday, September 11, 2017

2 Weeks???

Has it been that long since I did an Eyes Closed Solve on my first try? Yesterday I had another fail on the first try. This morning I got it right.

D' L F U L' F D R F D' F' U R' B' R' F' R D' B' R2
R1
PH
I A
4S DF
O
Pass4
ChocolateVats
Gary2DoughnutKing

I'm thinking about going back to using only the F Perm on the corners and M2 as much as possible on the edges. But on this last solve look how much jumping back and forth there was on the edges. Maybe I should go back to using only the F Perm for awhile until I am good at it again. I dunno.

Well, I tried another solve and again messed up on the first try. On the second try I just did the corners then checked, and checked several times through the edges. No messups, but lots of looking at it to make sure I hadn't messed up. Sheesh.


D2 F L F U' B R' U2 F2 U' F U2 L D L2 B R F L' U' L U R D' R'
O K
HeDoesPromoteCompassion
2Forgive4Jesus
U 2
VK OI1B4P

I have put the Tangram Cube away. And until I get confirmation that Josiah still wants to learn the Mirror Blocks, I am not solving it like I was every day. I am determined to get back to being able to solve the cube Eyes Closed on the first try consistently. 

Plus I want to start learning OLL for the 2x2x2.

It is a little later in the day. I finally solved one first try start to finish eyes closed! It was less to remember and twist though as three of the top corners only needed to be twisted. Here is the scramble:
L F' L B' L' F' R F' L U R2 B2 L2 D' L' U' L D F' U2 L D2 B' D L

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Puzzle Shopping Adventure #2

In the Spring I stumbled across cubes with Carbon Fiber stickers online and bought a cube, a skewb, and a pyraminx. I really like the black stickers on the colored plastic. And they are nice quality puzzles too. Well, the cube did have two issues. I have trouble distinguishing between yellow and white in some light, and it made a spring noise on the red side. I ended up removing the red cap and screw so I could lube the spring. It helped a lot. Last Spring I was doing puzzle shopping on Amazon.

At SpeedCubeShop this Summer I noticed a Z Colorful Carbon Fiber cube that has colorful stickers on black plastic. I thought maybe the colors would be better in dim light, but I was apprehensive about taking it apart to lube it. So the good news is that SpeedCubeShop offers a Professional Setup Service for $4.95 that I was assured by Cameron Brown, the owner of the shop, would eliminate all spring noises. But then the puzzles were sold out! Good news though. They got more and I snatched one up right away. I got it, a bright yellow QiYi Mirror Blocks Cube, and a SCS puzzle bag. There was a Labor Day discount and free shipping. But when it arrived, I'm afraid they hadn't done the Setup Service on it at all. Three springs were noisy, there is no trace of lube in it, and one of the screws was not screwed in as far as the others.

I emailed them. Cameron emailed back to apologize and offered to pay for me to return it so they could make it right. Or, he said I could have some of their lube for free and lube it myself. After my response he even offered to refund the setup cost. Whatever I wanted. I decided what I wanted was a Sticker Remover Kit that costs the same as the Setup did. He said they could do that. And that takes me to Puzzle Shopping Adventure #1...

But what did I do about the noisy springs? I popped out an edge and two corners then took off the three center caps of the bad springs, removed the springs and lubed them real good. I lubed the other screws without taking them out. There is still some spring noise but not nearly as often and not as bad. I wonder if the springs are even necessary...

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Another ECS Fail and Another Tangram Cube Pattern and Twisting Corners

First the bad news. On my first attempt at an ECS today I ended up with the back two layers solved and the front layer scrambled somewhat. I think what happened from the looks of it, and what was supposed to happen, is that in the M2 stage somewhere I forgot to F' once.

So now I've entered it in the spreadsheet and will give it another try.

U2 L2 U F2 D' R2 B2 D F' U R D L' B R' B2 D F2 R U B' R2 F U' B2
cycle 3UF
ChristVas4OurESCape
Yes!Rejoice!Praise!
Flip 1 & 3
1JGABA
Whites on bottom back

August 8, 2017
I gave it that nother try this morning first thing. Weird thing. When I opened my eyes it was all solved except one layer was 90° out. No idea.

Ha! I did it again with the same result. Only this time I figured out where I messed up. So obvious! On the last A I failed to put A back at the end by doing U.

By the way, let's talk about twisting corners. I used to for a long time twist two corners with RU'R' F'U'F D F'UF RUR' D'. And for awhile I used The Move x 6 with D's here and there. Actually if 3 corners need to twist this is probably my favorite way. Then with Roark I used The Move x 2 F The Unmove x 2 F'. But now I am using a method that I've known about for a long time but never used much. RUR'URU2R' L'U'LU'L'U2L.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Practice Practice Practice

Just did an eyes closed solve. I got confused the first time through and forgot at least one of the steps. It was a mess when I opened my eyes. Tried again, writing it out this time in the spreadsheet. Well, I just wrote the letters, even though I had sentences for part of it. During the solve my mind wandered some and I thought maybe I had skipped something but when I opened my eyes it was all solved. Phew.

The Tangram Cube is still fun and has my interest. I try to solve it once a day at least.

The Mirror Blocks Cube lessons with Josiah started last Monday. We got through the intro and the first step in solving it. I should solve it at least once a day too. I got some stickers for mine and am going to get a new one and more stickers. For now my old one is naked so I don't solve it by color, just by shape. That's OK, since that is where I need the most practice anyway.

I also gave the Lidbeck family a bunch of my puzzles. Skewb, Square-1, Super Square-1, Snakes, Magic, Pyraminx, the Tower thingy with all the shades of different colors of balls, and maybe more.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Tangram Cube Pattern

I recently got a Tangram Cube and had fun figuring it out. Once when I was just scrambling it I noticed a pattern developing. With a little effort I was able to fill in a few spots to make this.


Thursday, August 31, 2017

Finally! What A Pain That One Was


B2 R' B' D' L F U' B' U R' U' F R' F D R U' B' R2 U L' F' L' U' R'
2 Forgive
Anyone 4
PushingBackDefinitelyHelps
1
flip J
Serenity 4
GrandParents-xFinallyComes
AfterDark

I tried lots of times on this one. At one point I did it wrong the same way twice in a row. I never knew where exactly I was messing up. Even after writing it out I messed up. I went through it slowly and carefully with my eyes open and got it so I knew the steps were correct.

Maybe I need more practice.

September 2, 2017
Yesterday on our way to town we made up sentences for a cube and I almost solved it. I had forgotten to complete a cycle which meant I was one edge swap and one corner swap short of complete, and an edge was flipped. I had used B when it should have been O. So for the second half of the edges I had to make a new sentence. With these adjustments I was able to solve it start to finish eyes closed while Marae was in the market.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Tangram Solution Strategy

On a solve recently I forgot to start with the little corners and instead started by solving the big corners to the little corners. No problem. When finished with the big corners one twist still solved the little corners. I like this because it makes for an easy to remember sequence of pieces to solve. Solve them by size starting with the largest!

Step 1 Solve the six big corners 1 or more at a time by twisting edges or using Up Replace Down to get as many of them as possible then The Move to finish up. Use one of the Little Corners and one of the Edge turns with The Move.

Step 2 Solve the two little corners using at most one simple twist of W.

Step 3 Solve the three long edges by moving the slice so they are in the correct spots, then if necessary flip two of them. K A K A K flips L and R. You could flip L and A by moving them to R and flipping them there. Or R and A by moving them to L and flipping them there.

Step 4 Permute the three little edges using The Move with two Edges.

Step 5 Orient the three little edges. L R L R L A L A flips K1 and YP.

Step 6 Solve the six centers 1 or more at a time using (J A J' A) x 3 (W L W' L) x 3 which cycles Bottom > Back > Right. The setup move W' R W swaps the centers on the right and back so the cycle is reversed.

I'm still in that stage where I am learning new things every few solves. Today I started doing the 3 cycle of centers. The way I do it is by doing two 5 cycles. The second one puts two of the pieces back and results in a 3 cycle. So if you only need a 3 cycle you have to do the two 5 cycles. But what if you need a 5 cycle? Today that was the situation. I started with the first 5 cycle and before I started the second one noticed that after one 5 cycle all I needed was a 3 cycle. Get it? So in Step 6 if you need a 5 cycle think about this.

(J A J' A) x 3 cycles R>F>L>U>B. Right, Front, Left, Up, Back.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Tangram Cube Solution Quandary

Before getting to the Tangram Cube a note about Eyes Closed Solving. I tried today and the first attempt I was a little off but thought I knew the problem, so I tried again on another cube that had the same scramble. Ended up even worse. Well, I put the same scramble on the two cubes so I could try again. Only one problem. The same scramble had different results. In other words, today I couldn't even scramble a cube accurately! (August 29, 2017. First thing this morning I got up, reviewed the puzzle a minute, closed my eyes, and solved it successfully. Yes!)

Now to the Tangram Cube! So in trying to do the solve again without notes today I discovered some new algorithms. For example, Step 5. Orient the 3 little edges. (J A J' R) x 2 A L A L flips K1 and YP. This is a simpler algorithm than the first one I came up with. I have replaced the former one in my solution post of a couple days ago. (August 30, 2017. Found an even better way today to flip K1 and YP! L R L R L A L A.)

Then I was just experimenting a little and found another better way to cycle 3 centers. I say better because it just uses The Move x 3 then another The Move x 3. So it only uses 24 moves instead of 28. But I'm not sure I quite have it figured out. And if I want to cycle backwards do I want to use 48 moves or do I want to learn the backwards cycle? Neither! I found a setup move that let's me cycle backwards. So here is what I have ended up with. I will revise the Solution post accordingly.

(J A J' A) x 3 (W L W' L) x 3 cycles Bottom > Back > Right
The setup move W' R W swaps the centers on the right and back so the cycle is reversed.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Thursday Friday Saturday

Last Wednesday during my lunch break at SCOE I did an ECS (eyes closed solve). Then I got the Tangram Cube in the mail after work. No more ECS for the next few days. I was busy figuring out the Tangram Cube. Yesterday I posted the solution strategy I worked out. So today, Sunday, I picked up a scrambled 3x3x3, studied it, closed my eyes, and solved. Fun!

I have a date with Brandy and Josiah to do puzzles next Saturday afternoon. Living the good life.

Today also I was fiddling with the Tangram Cube and stumbled upon a pattern.


Saturday, August 26, 2017

Tangram Cube Solution Plan

The way I see it everything is built around the two little corners so

Step 1. Solve the two little corners using at most one simple twist of W.

In order to establish the colors clearly I thought I would next solve the big corners. All was going well until it ended up that I needed to swap green and orange! No problem. Just twist one of the edges and it unsolved one corner and makes a 3-cycle needed.

In case someone stumbles upon this page and wonders what The Move is, you may recognize the term Edge Piece Series. Same thing. You twist a layer. Twist another layer that intersects the first layer. Twist the first layer back where it started. Twist the second layer back where it started. So it is a 4 twist sequence that 3-cycles something. It can be used one way or another in solving, as far as I know, every twisty puzzle out there. Well worth being familiar with. When I taught my grandson how to solve the Rubik's Cube I called it Al-Bob-Charlie. Move Al to Bob. Move Charlie to Al. Undo the first move. Undo the second move. He could solve all the edges and 3 of the corners using Al-Bob-Charlie and Up-Replace-Down.

Step 2. Solve the six big colors 1 or more at a time by twisting edges or using Up Replace Down to get as many of them as possible then The Move to finish up. Use one of the Little Corners and one of the Edge turns with The Move.

Step 3. Solve the 3 long edges by moving the slice so they are in the correct spots, then if necessary flip two of them. K A K A K flips L and R. You could flip L and A by moving them to R and flipping them there. Or R and A by moving them to L and flipping them there. If you need a pure flipper use (K A K' A) x 3 to flip L and A.

Step 4. Permute the 3 little edges using The Move with two Edges.

Step 5. Orient the 3 little edges. L R L R L A L A flips K1 and YP.

Step 6. Solve the centers 1 or more at a time using (J A J' A) x 3 (W L W' L) x 3 which cycles Bottom > Back > Right. The setup move W' R W swaps the centers on the right and back so the cycle is reversed.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Tangram Cube Initial Discoveries

I got a new puzzle yesterday from Speedcube Shop. I am checking it out.

Naming and counting the pieces.
  • Two little corners that only rotate.
  • Six big corners that can 3-cycle around the little corners. They can also swap around the long edges with an edge twist.
  • Three long edges that can flip one at a time, and move around the cube with the inner slice.
  • Three little edges that can move around with the slice, and swap one pair at a time with an edge twist. 
  • Six center pieces that double swap with each edge twist, and 3-cycle with each corner twist.
I experimented a bit with The Move but didn't find anything immediately so moved on. May come back to it though. I tried finding a typical commutator 3-cycle. I look for a set of 3 moves that changes only 1 piece in one of the layers. Didn't find one yet. But going UpR(ight)C(orner) ReplaceT(op)E(dge) DownRC ReplaceF(ront)E UpRC ReplaceTE DownRC ReplaceFE...

Wait a minute. I thought I had a 3-cycle of little edges dialed in, but now in trying to put them back I have scrambled the centers. Well, all but the red one. What did I do?

It went downhill from there. Pretty soon it was pretty scrambled. But now, without really knowing how exactly, I've got it back to the 5-cycle. hmmmm.

August 25, 2017
Before I went to bed last night I decided to name things so I can track what I am trying and how it works. I am using some of the letters from my BLD solving. Here is what we have so far.

Holding the cube with yellow up and blue front:

L = long edge at FrontLeft
A = long edge at UpBack
R = long edge at RightDown

ED = little edge at LeftUp
K1 = little edge at FrontDown
YP = little edge at BackRight

J = corner at FUR. J or J up, and J' or J down.
W = corner at BDL. W' or W up, and W or W down.

K = move slice up. K or K up, and K' or K down.

Right now I have a 5-cycle of centers and two little edges are flipped.

Things finally fell into place after spending a lot of time today trying to figure out some cycles and swaps and flips. It is solved. But I need to experiment and document much more before I want to give it a good scramble. Here is what I've learned so far.

L R L R 3-cycles E and its adjacent centers to K, K to Y, and Y to E.
Of course similar 3-cycles can be accomplished using L and A, and A and R.

J A J' A 3-cycles big corners like you would expect The Move to do, plus it 5-cycles centers. Blue to yellow to red to orange to green to blue.
Using this and similar Moves you can cycle big corners from
Blue to Yellow to Green
Blue to Red to White
Red to Yellow to Green
Red to Blue to Orange
and on and on. I suppose solving the 8 corners would be an easy thing to do. The two small corners, J and W can be solved in at most 1 twist. The six big corners can probably be solved easily using The Move.

Another way to 3-cycle big corners is with the following algorithm.
(A W' A J A W A J') one time.
It also double-swaps centers blue-yellow, and red-white.

(A W' A J A W A J') two times swaps the centers back so results in a pure 3-cycle of big corners.

(A W' A J A W A J') three times would cycle the corners back home and double-swap the centers only.

August 26, 2017
In the table below last night I only finished two rows then filled in the J half of the puzzle 3-cycles but not their algorithms. I did not yet try them to see what is double-swapped. I went to bed. I'm ready to get back to it now. I haven't solved the cube with eyes closed since Wednesday and it is now Saturday! Yikes! I want to get back to that too. But first I want to work on this table some more.

Maybe not. I just reviewed what I wrote above and you know, if I could come up with an easy way to solve centers, and then find ways to solve the rest without messing up centers, it would surely be a much better approach. So I am going to take a break from the table and do some more experimenting and maybe document the other things I have found so far.

L R L R 3-cycles E and its adjacent centers to K, K to Y, and Y to E.
Of course similar 3-cycles can be accomplished using L and A, and A and R.

J A J' A 3-cycles big corners like you would expect The Move to do, plus it 5-cycles centers. Blue to yellow to red to orange to green to blue.
Using this and similar Moves you can cycle big corners from
Blue to Yellow to Green
Blue to Red to White
Red to Yellow to Green
Red to Blue to Orange
and on and on. I suppose solving the 8 corners would be an easy thing to do. The two small corners, J and W can be solved in at most 1 twist. The six big corners can probably be solved easily using The Move.

Another way to 3-cycle big corners is with the following algorithm.
(A W' A J A W A J') one time.
It also double-swaps centers blue-yellow, and red-white.

(A W' A J A W A J') two times swaps the centers back so results in a pure 3-cycle of big corners.

(A W' A J A W A J') three times would cycle the corners back home and double-swap the centers only.

(K A K' L) two times just moves centers. O>B>R and Y>W>G
(K L K' R) two times just moves centers. O>B>G and Y>W>R
(K A K' R) two times moves centers and edges. Edges OY>BW>GR

R L K L R K' flips L and A, and E and Y.

(K A K' A) two times cycles K>E>P. K and E flip; P rolls.

(K A K' A) three times flips L and A.

(K A K A) K' (A K A K) or
(K A K A K) two times cycles E>K>Y. K and E flip; Y rolls.

(J A J' R) x 2 (A K A K') x 2 flips YP and K1.

A ((L A L) J (L A L A) J') x 3 Pure Center 3-cycle B>R>G and with setup moves we could easily do B>R>O and B>R>W and G>W>B and G>W>O and G>W>R and B>O>Y and B>O>R and B>O>W and O>R>G and O>R>Y and G>Y>O and G>Y>B and G>Y>R and on and on and on.

Now that I found a center 3-cycle and have convinced myself I have all the algorithms I need, I have fully and intentionally scrambled it. I will not need to complete the table below. In the next post I will try to put just the algorithms I plan to use and how.

Tangram CubeCorner 3-cycleDouble-swaps of centers
AlgorithmsBY RW BG WH BW RYGO
A W' A J A W A J'Yellow-blue-orangexx
A W A J A W' A J'Yellow-blue-whitexx
Yellow-red-orange
Yellow-red-white
Blue-yellow-green
Blue-yellow-white
Blue-red-green
Blue-red-white
Red-blue-orange
Red-blue-green
Red-yellow-orange
Red-yellow-green
and on and on

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Forgot Last Sentence

At the end I forgot the last sentence and did H 2 L instead of 2 W L. Resulted in a 3-cycle. Oh, and then I used C instead of D. I said D but moved to C. Dumb.

F' R2 D' R2 F L D' R B' L' D2 B' R U B L F U2 B R' U2
PleaseLord JesusE...ment2 Guys
KidsBabes
HelpInspire
UsJesus
FromChrist'sPowerfulVictory
2WinLittleDirt bags

Used the Z Cube and went very slowly and deliberately.
Let's see if we can get it right this time.

Using the Rubik's Cube I got it. But it wasn't easy. When I got to the corners I had to stop and think hard to recall the sentence. What helped was remembering the corners, not the words.