Sunday, July 31, 2005

25th anniversary of the Rubik's Cube

Tuesday 26 July 2005 was the 25th anniversary of the launch of the Rubik's Cube. I was lucky enough to be part of the official birthday celebrations - including the birthday party and speedcubing demonstrations at Hamley's Toy Store on Regent Street in London!

A selection of the photos that Peter took are below. To see the rest, check out my Rubik's Cube 25th anniversary page.

Dan and I sitting on the enormous Rubik's Cube

scrambled little cube

Me in front of the enormous Rubik's Cube

scrambled little cube

Dan and I cutting the Rubik's Cube birthday cake

scrambled little cube

Dan being interviewed for a local radio station

scrambled little cube

Me doing a solve for the radio guy. Unfortunately that 17.70 on the stackmat tournament display was my time for finishing the F2L, not the whole cube. I'm not that fast yet. The solve in this photo ended up being 30.42 seconds.

scrambled little cube

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Rubik's chicken

Check out this hilarious Rubik's chicken competition cartoon.

Bluetooth is cool

Peter just got a new laptop with bluetooth. This is cool because now I can connect to him wirelessly. I could do this before using IR, but bluetooth is cooler because it doesn't have to be line of sight. Excellent.

iPAQ 4705
The iPAQ hx4705 has bluetooth

Friday, July 29, 2005

World Cube Association

Here's the website of the World Cube Association. When cubers talk about 'official' times, they mean times set at WCA recognised competitions.

All WCA recognised times can be found on the WCA world rankings page.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Average of 10: new personal best time

I siliconed my current favourite speedcube tonight and it was such a good idea. I broke my best average-of-10 by more than 2 seconds!

solved cube

I was on the train, so instead of using Chris Hunt's JNetCube, I used CubeTimes2Go for scrambles and timing. CubeTimes2Go is a great little iPAQ cube application written by a speedcubing friend, Grant Tregay.

Here are the details:
Fastest: 22.29 seconds
Slowest: 38.11 seconds
Average: 31.14 seconds

I also got a new best lucky solve: 22.29 seconds.

Rubik's shoes

Check out these crazy Rubik's shoes! Someone recently posted this link on the speedcubing discussion forum. I expect I'll be seeing some of these shoes at the next Rubiks World Championships.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Speedcubing is so much fun!

It's been a very big day of cubing today and it has been so much fun! I'd love to write all about it now, but after 10 hrs of speedcubing demos, publicity photo shoots, TV interviews and radio interviews, plus several more hours of cubing Dan and I did together after the promo stuff, I'm far too exhausted. Will write more later. Now it's time for snooze...

scrambled cube

I'm probably even too exhausted to solve the cube now. Maybe just one more cube...

Monday, July 25, 2005

Interview for TNT magazine

Last week I did an interview about speedcubing for the UK version of TNT Magazine. The interview was published in today's issue of the magazine. Here's a scanned version of the paper article.

solved cube

TV interviews tomorrow

It's the 25th anniversary of the Rubik's Cube this month and so there's lots of promotional stuff going on. Tomorrow I'm doing three TV interviews - CNN, ITV1 This Morning and ITV News Channel - and then I'm going to a special Rubik's Cube birthday event at Hamley's toy store. It's going to be so much fun! Except the part about getting up really, really early to make it to the first interview...

scrambled cube

I've even re-stickered my best speedcube so it's nice and shiny for the TV cameras. ;)

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Speedcubing weekend

Last weekend I met up with some UK cubers - Dan Harris, Duncan Dicks, Sean Connolly and Paul Nixon. There was an article about it in the local Stroud newspaper. Actually, the article was really about Duncan and it briefly mentioned that he was hosting the cube gathering.

The weekend was a lot of fun. Obviously there was a lot of cubing happening, but also other puzzles as most cubers solve puzzles other than the standard cube. We played with the 4x4x4 cube, the 5x5x5 cube, the Megaminx, the Clock, the Magic and the Master Magic. I also learnt very nice algorithms for the final two PLL cases I didn't know (thanks Duncan!)

Dan and I discovered that we both love Scrabble, so we had Scrabble games going in the background for most of the weekend too. Dan had packed a Scrabble board, but we ended up Scrabbling on my iPAQ instead (iPAQs make almost everything better). I'm usually not too bad at Scrabble, but Dan was really on fire. He won 4 of our 5 Scrabble games over the weekend. Dan was in training for an upcoming regional Scrabble competition so I'm not too disheartened my my Scrabble defeats. :)

Dan and I also had a go at speedstacking after Duncan showed us the basics. I still can't believe this exists. How is it that someone thought 'hey, let's stack plastic cups into pyramids really fast and call it a sport'?? In case you're wondering how it is that speedcubers know about speedstacking, it's because we use the speedstacks timers at official cube competitions.

For more detail and pictures of the UK cubing weekend, check out Dan's Cubestation.

Jasmine mid-solve
Dan took this cool action shot of my hands mid-solve.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Dutch Cube Championships 2005

I have just registered for the Dutch Open. This will be my first official competition since the US Nationals in July 2004. Should be lots of fun.

The Dutch Cube Day and Dutch Open Championships are being held in Eindhoven at the Mikrocentrum. BTW, here's a map of Eindhoven.

Have you registered yet??

solved cube


The last craze over here, and the rest of the world it seems, is Sudoku.

I've seen advertisements with claims like 'the biggest puzzle craze since the Rubik's cube!' As a result, many people have been asking me about it. It did look like the sort of thing I would enjoy, however, as I only do things in iPAQ form now (e.g. iPAQ ebooks, iPAQ scrabble, iPAQ monopoly, etc.), I wasn't going to try Sudoku until I could try it on the iPAQ.

Yesterday when reading the latest Pocket PC Thoughts e-newsletter, there was an advert for iPAQ Sudoku. I downloaded the trial and gave it a go. Unfortunately, this particular Sudoku wouldn't run on my iPAQ. It should have been compatible so perhaps it was just a corrupted download. Anyway, not to be put off, I logged into Handango and searched for other iPAQ Sudoku games. I found Pocket Sudoku and downloaded the trial.

I'm pretty happy with Pocket Sudoku so far. If I'm still enjoying it after the trial expires then I will buy the full version.

Oh no!

I had a bad dream last night where I couldn't find my best speedcube! Disaster!

scrambled cube

Monday, July 11, 2005

Pretty Kitty

I met a kitty on the stairs the other day. Isn't she lovely? The quality of the photo is fairly craptacular because it was taken on a camera phone instead of a proper camera, but it's still very obvious how beautiful she is. I call her Pretty Kitty because she is so pretty.

Pretty kitty is very pretty
Here's Pretty Kitty after I played with her in Photoshop.

Pretty kitty is very pretty
The colours in the original image (above) from the camera phone were a bit washed out.

Friday, July 08, 2005

London bombings: update

I was feeling a bit shaken and freaked out yesterday, but I feel fine today.

Peter and I have received lots of emails, SMS messages and phone calls from friends all around the world since the news broke. Thanks so much to everyone. It means a lot to us to know that our friends all over the world are thinking of us. :)

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Peter and I are okay

Unless you've been under a rock for the past few hours, you'll know that there have been some major events in London this morning. Explosions at numerous train stations and at least one bus has been blown up.

For any friends and family reading this, just want to let you know that Peter and I are okay.