Message #3629

From: Ryan Harper <>
Subject: (overly long)Newest Solver Introduction
Date: Wed, 08 Feb 2017 19:31:53 -0800

Hi everyone! My name is Ryan Harper and I recently became the 304th person
to solve the 3^4. I’m 19 years old and am from Reno, Nevada. I guess I’ll
start with my cubing background and how I came to find and solve the
puzzle, then move on to talk about some of my other hobbies and interests.
I apologize for the length of this email and honestly don’t blame you
should you chose to skip over it for that reason.

My interest in twist puzzles began my freshman year of highschool, after
seeing a video of a gear cube and thinking it looked like the coolest thing
ever. I built up a modest collection with a handful of novelty puzzles like
the axis cube and curvy copter, but the cube that held my interest the best
was always the 3x3. I got to around sub 25 seconds with CFOP, but trying to
push my speed never seemed like that much fun, and I found much more
enjoyment in challenging myself to solve in new ways. I learned every major
solving method(CFOP, ZZ, Roux, Petrus) and many more obscure
methods(FreeFOP, corners first, Waterman). Then I started to come up with
challenge solves for myself such as half turns, scrambling/solving only 3
faces, edges first, and solving the cube using only permutation algorithms,
orienting pieces by permuting them along different axes. Over time though
my interest began to dwindle and I stopped cubing seriously sometime during
my sophomore year of highschool. I forgot almost all of the algorithms I
knew and my solve time dropped to around 45 seconds.

Recently my friend sent a picture of the 4D cube to my snapchat group
captioned "I don’t even know how to solve a 3D cube but I will solve the 4D
cube some day". He’s very interested in higher dimensional maths(and a huge
fan of Mathloger if you’re in this group) so of course he’d want to solve
the 3^4. I responded to this picture with a picture of the 4D cube open on
my computer and said jokingly, "Hey I do know how to solve a 3D cube. I’ll
report back in a few hours". I started to mess around with the program and
thought the way the cube looked and moved was super cool, which was my
motivation to keep playing with it. I’ve done a good bit of research into
higher dimensional geometry in the past so I was able to understand that
each individual 3x3x3 cube was logically equivalent to a face on a 3D cube
and the way pieces move fit that.

From the time I installed Magic Cube 4D I worked for the next 19 straight
hours on solving it. The first few hours were spent figuring out how pieces
moved and how the controls in this program worked. Then I spent several
hours figuring out how macros worked, and making and remaking macros
repeatedly to be more efficient and organized in a way that made sense to
my programmer mind. I think I probably spent at least 8 hours just making
macros, which included a solid 3 hour period in which I was so tired I
forgot that I could move a piece into position before doing an algorithm to
have it affect different pieces. I was pretty annoyed when I realized the
solution to the problem I was having was just F2 D R2. I used my knowledge
of commutators from solving the 7x7 to make algorithms that could cycle and
orient centers, edges, and corners. After working for around 11-12 hours
straight, I finally had the tools I needed to solve the 3^4. My solve was
fairly inefficient, based on my favorite challenge solve for the 3x3 in
which you solve the whole cube with only algorithms, without any
blockbuilding or intuitive moves. Over the next ~8 hours I painstakingly
solved every piece individually. As I got the the later stages of solving
the edges and corners I found that tracking pieces was so difficult that
the only way to progress was by taking notes detailing every piece that was
out of place or misoriented and then using flowcharts to find the the
optimal order to manipulate the pieces. Then I’d spend several minutes
finding those pieces again and putting them into position to manipulate. I
was having so much fun/was completely delirious that I didn’t even notice
how much time was passing. At some point while solving edges I sent a
picture of my progress to the friend who introduced me to the 3^4 and he
told me how few people had ever actually solved the cube. I didn’t totally
believe him at first, but he gave me a second wind of determination to
finish the solve. At around 11 AM, 19 hours after learning of the 4D cubes
existence and 19 hours straight of draining, hard work, I finally finished
my solve. For how dramatic this retelling of events has been I feel like "I
finished my solve" is a tad anticlimactic, but that can’t be helped. I sent
out a nearly incomprehensible email to get added to the hall of fame and
finally got some well deserved sleep.

And now onto my hobbies and interests. I’m currently taking a semester off
from college to save up tuition, so I have a lot of free time on my hands.
As such I have many hobbies and plenty of time to spend on them to get as
good as I possibly can. I’ll write a short paragraph about each of my
hobbies, because they’re all too important to who I am to just be a part of
a list, and I don’t know the meaning of concise.

I’ll start by talking about anime. I started watching anime in 8th grade,
and over time got more and more into it. I’ve completed 244 shows to date(, and I’ve also gotten into
reading visual novels and some light novels. There’s not a ton to talk
about anime, but it’s been a very influential part of my life and gotten me
into many other hobbies.

My junior year of highschool I found the genre of sports anime, and
somewhat arbitrarily decided that I would like to be jacked. I started
consistently going to the gym 6 days a week and became a bodybuilder. I’m
very vain, but lifting consistently paid off and I think I look pretty damn

Lifting consistently gave me the physical prowess to be able to enjoy
sports for the first time in my life. I dabbled in ultimate frisbee and
soccer before eventually joining my colleges mens volleyball club. I’m the
only person on the team who started playing this year, so I’m very bad, but
I really enjoy playing libero. Despite my inexperience I still get time on
court in games which has been a blast. I hope to one day be good enough to
actually contribute in a meaningful way on the court.

Next up is snowboarding. I did snowboard as a kid, but after not stepping
on a board for 6 years I was a complete beginner when I got back into it
last year. I was determined to git gud, so I went up every single weekend,
sometimes twice, and progressed from a complete beginner to a fairly
competent freerider. I’m still inexperienced in the park but I consider
myself an advanced freerider and spend most of my time on the mountain
riding double black diamonds, tree runs, chutes, mogul runs, and searching
out the steepest slopes and the biggest cliffs to drop off. My goal for
this season is to get 50 days on the mountain and progress my switch riding
to black diamond level, get comfortable doing straight airs off the biggest
jumps, and get to a level where I can do intermediate spin tricks and jibs
comfortably. I think I can accomplish this, but I haven’t gotten much time
in the park this season because the local mountain keeps getting amazing
snow so the park is never built. Unfortunately this means I’m forced to
ride amazing powder every time I go up and push my freeriding to the
highest level my body can possibly handle. What a travesty!

With how much I’ve been talking about lifting weights and sports you may
have forgotten that this is a group for discussing solving the 4th
dimensional Rubik’s cube, something most of us would proudly describe as
one of the nerdiest activities ever conceptualized. Don’t worry though, I
am a massive hecking nerd. As I write this mail I am playing a video game
so nerdy that people who play videogames(already a fairly nerdy hobby)
consider this game too nerdy for them. I’m of course describing the MMO,
Eve Online. I’ve just recently got into running highsec incursions which I
find decently fun with unreal profits. I also enjoy nullsec exploration,
station trading, bombing, and small gang roams. If anyone else in here
plays Eve shoot a mail in game to Flex Tanaka. If anyone in here hasn’t
played eve but wants to try it out you can join using my referral code(
which will give you some free skill points to help you get started.

And to round this all out I’ll talk about the only thing I do that is
actually useful, programming. Recently my programming projects have had two
main focuses. 1) Learning to interface with the eve online api to build
powerful third party private tools. 2) Machine learning projects. Both of
these pursuits have been quite fruitful and have lead to working on a
handful of projects that I’m very satisfied with. I’m currently in the
planning stages of building a set of very powerful tools for my eve online
corporation, such as live isk/hour calculators and a wh logging tool
similar to tripwire but works by logging formatted bookmarks, so you don’t
have to log sigs manually. I should be making a good deal of ISK from my
corp off this and the tools are going to be awesome. I’m also working on
using a feed forward neural network to predict shifts in the eve online
market to make tonnes of ISK. Finally, I’m working on remaking the 3^4 in
javascript so it will feel more modern and be able to be embedded in a
webpage to help spread this fun. I do almost all of my development in
javascript thanks to the magic of node js and the thousands of foundations
built for javascript.

If you’ve made it this far I commend you for your patience. I hope you
found at least some of this interesting and that it may spur some good
conversation. Maybe some of you share my interests, in which case I’d love
to talk about that. Send me an email, or don’t, and have a great day.