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.

An Intriguing and Very Intuitive System

So here’s what I find out: I get better times when I can establish a 2x2x2 block in the corner. So you think: oh Petrus, cool you should try / use it.

Here’s the contradicting statement though, I only have enough brain power right now to plan the 2x2x2 block, and only just enough. This means that anything beyond that, the other two first layer edges, and the three other slots, is entirely intuitive. I basically have to spot and insert, then go from there!

Oddly enough it has been working kind of well. It’s very flexible at this point, while I start off by solving the 2x2x2 block on the Blue-Orange-White side, if I so happen to insert the next slot before the edge, then it’s a 2x2x3 block. From there I can decide which the edge will be placed into the first layer, and ultimately which color the LL is. It’s all very strange, and no doubt sounds all too much like Petrus, people have said that I use Petrus in many of my 3×3 videos, even though I’m using nothing close to it.

But dont celebrate yet, I’ll have to try this system out more, a lot more before I can deduce if it is actually faster or not. I’ll see if I can capture a Sunday Contest average with it this weekend. Until next time, keep cubing!