Sunday, January 17, 2010

Solving the Rubik’s Cube

One recent Saturday night, I found myself up late.  Me, a Rubik’s Cube and my laptop. 

Rubik's Cube SolutionYes, this is the state of my life.  Saturday night and I call it a good night.

What’s with me and the Cube?  I’ll try and explain…

My 6 1/2 yr old son got a 2x2 mini-Rubik Cube for Christmas.  I was driving him somewhere, while he sat in the back struggling to figure it out.  His version of swear words, for sure.  He was struggling.  He did get one side.  Smart kid.

Being the good mom I am, I thought “I should try and help him figure that out.  Give him some pointers.”

Now, back when the Rubik’s Cube first came out, I was a wee lass of about 12.  I know this, because on my Saturday night geek night, I read the wikipedia article on the Rubik’s Cube. (The Cube turns 30 this year!)

I spent many hours working that thing over as  twelve year old.  I have vague memories of patterns – nothing I could replicate now – but spin up two times, then left once, then down twice.   I know I solved that Cube many times.

(And yes, some of the early attempts did include removing stickers.  We all did it.  Admit it.  So did you.)

I think I had the book and must’ve memorized the patterns.  Which have long since fled my brain.  Because it’s clear that today I have absolutely NO idea how to solve a Rubik’s Cube.

So on this famous Saturday night of which I speak, I stumbled upon a classic Rubik’s Cube – the 3x3 – which is apparently the world’s best selling toy.   And I fiddled with it.  And I realized I had no friggin’ clue what to do with it or how.

Luckily, the Rubik’s Cube web site has an absolutely amazing job aid.    It pretty much solves it for you:Rubik's_Cube_Job_Aid

So there I was, late Saturday night, “solving” the darn thing for the first time in 30 years.  It felt so good. 

The thing is, I still have no idea how to solve it.  If I had as much time on my hands as I did when I was 12, I could probably memorize the patterns.  But I don’t, so I’ll let my Saturday night triumph remain a sole effort. 

At some point, I will point my son to the job aid and let him work his way through it.

Other facts to geek out on:

  • There’s a sub-culture of people who do speed-solves (“speedcubing”, including this 6 year old boy in Spiderman Jammies. (There are many such Rubik’s Cube treasures on YouTube).
  • There are even people who can look at the cube and then solve it while blindfolded. 

(There’s some connections to be made here about workplace learning and job aids.  I’ll let you connect the dots for the moment.  It’s Sunday night and I’m not feeling like that much of a geek.)

Special thanks to Jane Bozarth for being there for me on Twitter while I worked through my Rubik’s Cube geek-thing.  Jane, I’m still waving my flag!

Photo Credit:  Rubik’s Cube Solution by kirtaph


Karl Kapp said...

I thought removing the sticker was how you solved the cube...they move?

Cammy Bean said...

Oh, Karl. And you call yourself a gamer?!

Andrew Scivally said...

These cubes are making a comeback! My oldest daughter (9) also wanted one for Christmas. She thinks that they are soooo cool. The good thing is that it costs less than a Wii game :)

Dyer Dragons said...

So, the cube has stickers?