Richard Taylor <address inserted by JavaScript>

Barton. Southampton. Bath. Guildford.

May 2021

Where is the time going? The last 2 months have sped by and I've not got into my challenges at all. I don't want to fail 3 in a row. I've also not done any timed 3x3 solves recently... and a quick average of 5 now shows I am back in the 35-40 second range.

If competitions are going to resume in the summer, then I want to get into the 30-35 range and start pushing for sub-30 again. So, the challenge is to do at least one average of 12 every day in May.

Over 400 timed solves in the month I managed a majority of them under 35 seconds, with a mean of 33.47 seconds. By the last week I was getting some encouraging results: my best average of 12 was 28.68 seconds.

April 2021

Some of my old electronics text books surfaced recently while I was sorting through some boxes. I got quite nostalgic for the days when I knew more about hardware than software. Talking to a friend about it, he mentioned that there are some really good circuit design and simulation tools available now.

I am going to investigate some tools and try to design something. Who knows, if it goes really well I might dust off my soldering iron and build something for real.

Lots of things came up this month, so I barely got started. I did have a look at kicad.org and would love to give it a try another time.

March 2021

Reading is a skill that I don't so much forget, as forget to use. It is easier to watch videos, but so much less rewarding in some ways.

This month I am going to try and read the books I got for Christmas - "Light" by M. John Harrison; "Hyperion" by Dan Simmons; and "Matter" by Iain M. Banks.

My first DNF. It took longer to read the first book than I hoped, so I only got part-way through the second book. However, in the process I did decide to re-subscribe to New Scientist and get my news from long-form print rather than doom-scrolling apps and TV.

February 2021

As this is a short month I am going with something that might be at the easier end of the spectrum.

I am a big fan of twisty puzzles and can solve many of them reasonably well. But one puzzle that I have never learned to solve completely is the Megaminx. It's time to figure out how to do that last layer.

There is a great tutorial from Feliks Zemdegs on his CubeSkills website which has a very good beginner method and some tips for improvements aimed at 3x3 solvers.

January 2021

How better to start off 2021 than with a good tidy up! I have a couple of decades worth of digital files, and at least 40 years of paper documents that I have loosely "filed" in several different locations. And I can never find anything.

But how can I fix this? I recently came across the Johnny.Decimal system. So I am going to learn all about it and try to apply it to my desperately unorganised personal records.

This is a great system for me. I love it.

December 2020

As the year of the covid-19 pandemic was coming to an end, I found myself reading an article on fluid intelligence. It basically says "keep challenging yourself to learn new things". Which is kind of what I have always done, until this year, when I abandoned all my mini-projects.

So how about learning, or relearning, one new thing each month? To start off I went back to a game I used to play a long time ago - chess. It's very popular at the moment (thanks to The Queen's Gambit) and I'm not expecting to master the game... I am just going to try solving chess puzzles on lichess every day.

Let's see if I can keep the challenges going in 2021.


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