A few weeks ago, one of my coworkers told me he learned to solve a Rubik's Cube. I learned how to solve one in middle school, but I was never able to get really fast. One day, after I was kind of exhausted from work, I decided to pick mine up again to see if I remembered how to solve it.

I think it's like riding a bike.

.-'`'-. .-'`'-. .-'``'-., ,.-'``'-. .-'``'-., ,.-'``'-. .-' `'-., .-'` `'-., .-'``'-. .-' `'-., .-'` `'-., .-'``'-. ("=. ,.-'``'-., ,.-'``'-. ,.=") ("=. ,.-'``'-., ,.-'``'-. ,.=") | |"=., .-'` `'-., .="| | | |"=., .-'` `'-., .="| | | | |`"=.,.="`| | | | | |`"=.,.="`| | | |`-.,| | # | |,.-'| . |`-.,| | # | |,.-'| | |`-.,| # |,.-'| | -----|`. | |`-.,| # |,.-'| | | | |`-.,#,.-'| | | -----|,' | | |`-.,#,.-'| | | |`-.,| | # | |,.-'| " |`-.,| | # | |,.-'| | |`-.,| # |,.-'| | | |`-.,| # |,.-'| | ( | |`-.,#,.-'| | ) ( | |`-.,#,.-'| | ) '-. | | # | | .-' '-. | | # | | .-' `'-.,| # |,.-'` `'-.,| # |,.-'` `'-.#.-'` `'-.#.-'`Was this tedious to color? Absolutely. But it was a little better since I used my colorizer tool.

So, I suddenly decided on a new goal for the holidays. I would try to get a lot faster at solving the Rubik's cube. The method that I already knew is a layer by layer method that goes like this:

- Make a green cross
- Solve the first two layers
- Make a blue cross (2 possible algorithms, possibly performed twice)
- Orient the blue corners (1 algorithm, possibly performed twice)
- Get all blue on the top (2 algorithms, possibly performed twice)
- Fix the top edges (1 algorithm, possibly performed twice)

This beginner method works in a way such that you don't have to memorize too many algorithms. Some algorithms need to be performed multiple times to make this work, but it's easy to learn. I was able to solve the cube in just under 2 minutes this way. There are a lot of websites out there that teach this (though most go white -> yellow instead of green -> blue).

So, how was I going to get faster? Learn more algorithms and take less steps. When I was younger I wanted to learn the Fridrich method, but it was way too much for my 11 year old brain to handle. I would have to learn 53 algorithms. That *still* sounds like too much for my 28 year old brain to handle. But, I started with the most common algorithms and slowly started adding more to my brain.

I first had to go and learn all 13 last layer permutations. Except it's more than that because some of these you might have to perform backwards or flipped. There were actually 19 permutations that I needed to learn. But I just started with the most common ones and slowly added more to my memory. I also realized that this was a really good use for utilizing Anki flashcards. Once I got this down, I was able to completely remove step 4.

I also wanted to change step 5 from "possibly 2 actions" to "only ever 1 action". It was actually pretty common for this to require 2 separate actions. When I get to this step, I definitely have the blue cross. Looking at all the orientations, there were only 5 other patterns that have a cross on top. I don't know if it was because I had flexed my memory muscles with 19 algorithms already or because the orientation algorithms were just simpler, but adding 5 more patterns to my memory bank was actually really easy.

So at this point, I've shaved my Rubik's cube time down to about a minute. I think I've learned enough patterns to satisfy myself, and I'm just practicing it every day and logging my times in a spreadsheet to see if I can get faster.