V-Cube 5 Full Review

This is a little over due now, the video that probably made you want to go here was filmed maybe a week too late, like I said, I filmed over it. All the challenges and stuff I did last week prevented me from making the ones I really wanted to. So then here are my full thoughts on the V-Cube 5 (the black one mind you, not white… black).

The scructure, design, and turning clearly takes from the V-Cube 6, or rather the other way around. The whole internal mechanism is one large spherical structure allowing the pieces to smoothly rotate around them. The outer edges click a great deal for the amount they turn, I’ve seen a mod reversing this effect if necessary, apparently its the corners, but it doesn’t really bother me at this point I can still easily cut corners, without the fear of it exploding unlike the Eastsheen 5×5 and the Rubik’s 5×5. Matter how I turn it I really can’t get it to pop like a normal cube. As the picture below shows.

You can do some wierd stuff with it
You can do some wierd stuff with it

Needless to say, because it’s not popping it’s rather tight right now, I have only gotten a few sub-3 times with it in the past week. Despite this, the turning definitely makes up for this. Doing the centers and edges has never been so fun as I can cut the corners in a whole new dimension without it popping (again, as the picture shows). The stickers have the same qualities as the 6×6 they chip a little bit (as the picture here and the one below does) but at least they don’t peel like Rubik’s brand ones do.

The biggest con, and the most frustrating one yet that I’ve encountered is some weird oily stuff that was already in the cube, I have no idea what this is or how it got there. What I am certain though is that it’s not just because it’s black. I’ve gotten messages from people on YouTube asking me what to do about their excessively oily cube. So apparently I got it on a minor scale, but despite my cleaning efforts I can’t really get it out right now. I have an idea to run all the pieces but the core through my dishwasher, but not sure what effect that will have on the stickers. So if anyone knows anything about that then comment it below and I will be grateful.

So in conclusion: if you have big hands, you can’t get a good Rubik’s 5×5 to work out for you, and you are frustrated with the limiting turns on an Eastsheen. Then you should consider getting this if you’re going to pursue this puzzle more competitively. After I started to average <6 mins on the 6×6 and <1:30 mins on the 4×4 I really wanted to get my times between 2:30 or 2:00 at this point those times seem very far off but the V-cube seems to be a pick in the right direction, it just needs to be looser for me right now.

To finish I’d like to touch on something a little older. I’ve read a lot of comments on my original V-Cube 5-wrong-color video when I received the wrong product, saying that white is actually better? I cannot deny or confirm this, I don’t have a great amount of cubes or time to experiment this concept. I wanted black because I really like the classic look and I can recognize the contrast between the colors more easily. Sure I have some white cubes (a Minx of the Pyra and Mega variety, and a 6×6) and they work fine, but when it comes to the 2xx-5×5 I really can’t use anything but black effectively. I furthermore don’t see why a white cube would be faster, if you present some scientific evidence behind this I might believe you (like coefficients of friction and chemical reasons why white cubes are faster) and consider switching to white cubes.

and Eastsheen 5x5, the V-Cube 5, Rubik's 4x4, and a Rubik's 3x3
An Eastsheen 5x5, the V-Cube 5, Rubik's 4x4, and a Rubik's 3x3

Mac’s Galore

Sitting in my high school’s library now, looking around it’s slightly surprising to me that Apple only has an 8% market share. I see two MacBooks, two MacBook Pros, and 5 various models of the iPod.* Many of you may or may not know in the end of October 2008 I bought the $1600 MacBook, and even dual booted Windows XP on it. While yes I admit the prices on their hardware is pretty ridiculous, and I could have gotten a much more powerful components, a much larger screen for the same price or even less, and the glass screen is a good warning mirror in case anyone sneaks up on me, what I got for the price I paid seems a little more fair now.

Having had it for almost three months, I can sufficiently say that I am rather satisfied. Windows runs games and such perfectly on the 70gb partition I made for it, and although the trackpad isn’t very compatible that is easily fixed with a good notebook mouse.

Yesterday, some friends and I pitched in $25 in order to splitĀ  4/5 licenses of iWork ’09. Originally I was skeptical about the software, I watched the Apple keynote revealing the revised Office suite and wasn’t too impressed. However actually trying it out on my own computer has been an experience. Initially I had used Open Office write, which while works, can be difficult sometimes, I got it so I wouldn’t have to pay more re-purchase MS Office and I considered it to out rank the suite overall. Now having tried iWork extensively, the ranks of Word Processors go from worst to best: MS Office, Open Office, iWork. For anyone who has a Mac already and is tired of using a clunky interface on such a beautiful machine, I recommend that you switch over, again you can split up the licenses as you wish.

The other software that comes on the Mac side, iLife ’08 in particular is also impressive, I have already used Garageband multiple times to create soundtracks for my videos, and I feel that they have come out with a level of professionality that a copyrighted song could not have given. iMovie is really a joy to use for short simple videos, responding to challenges on YouTube has never been easier, before my process would be slowed down over the course of about two hours per challenge.

My verdict: if you’re a fun loving student like me who games and does whatever whenever, then get a mac, you won’t regret it. If you’re just looking to get a good portable computer though just for browsing and word processing, get an HP Mini, I’ve tried them out from friends and in stores and they’re second to none in portability.

*I don’t care Zunes are still better, just wait until Songbird supports more mp3 players.

The New(?) System

I admit I’m very hesitant about posting this announcing a new system or method that I am using. Mostly because it is so similar to Petrus, yet at the same time not at all. I’ll mostly let the reader decide what to call it and tripple check with people before naming it after someone (especially me). Soooo here’s the story.

It’s a late thursday night, I’m cubing, after a hideous 23.xx average but with one amazing 16.xx single. This 16.xx was the last solve of the 5 and I had gotten an extended cross on it (the cross with 1 F2L slot finished) so then I realized, “Hey I always get good times where I have an extended cross or some sort of 2x2x2 form, so why don’t I always start with a 2x2x2 block?” It took only a few solves to try this new system out and sure enough my times dropped. A lot.

Just look at the averages drop.
Just look at the averages drop.

So after a video glitch in an average of 12 with this new system it seemed to work! So what is it all together? I’ll try to elaborate. Before I start, I think it’s safe to say that color neutrality is very advantageous.

1. Get a 2x2x2 block somehow, doesn’t matter how, sure look ahead a bit for the next slot after it, but you really can’t plan all that well.

2. Finish up the next two layers either by adding the two last edges to make an extended cross. Or by making the 2x2x2 into a 2x2x3. From the 2x2x3 you can choose the side the LL will be on.

3. Do LL how ever you want to.

So for those interested and who understood those three consise yet complex steps, call the system what it is, and if it isn’t around then what you want. I’ve misnamed things in the past before so I’m not making any calls here just to be safe.