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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: Feedback from DCD
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 8:30 am 
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For some reason I can´t attach any pictures.
I´ve got an asymmetric one.
I used my standard 3x3x3 algorithms.
After finally getting one layer done (in my first couple of tries I tried to rely on luck, but in this final try I actually had to think logicaly) When I got my first layer done, the second one just worked out, and the last on almost went smoothly, but in the second to last stage of the solve, I had to swap two corners(which is impossible of course), so I swapped two identical edges, and it worked out.
So everyone with a Qubami: think logically about the first layer, and once that´s done, it will probably work out just fine.

Of how many people do you know who solved it before me, Kelvin?

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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: Feedback from DCD
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 8:34 am 
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Sjoerd wrote:
I´ve got an asymmetric one.
I used my standard 3x3x3 algorithms.
After finally getting one layer done (in my first couple of tries I tried to rely on luck, but in this final try I actually had to think logicaly) When I got my first layer done, the second one just worked out, and the last on almost went smoothly, but in the second to last stage of the solve, I had to swap two corners(which is impossible of course), so I swapped two identical edges, and it worked out.
So everyone with a Qubami: think logically about the first layer, and once that´s done, it will probably work out just fine.
Makes sense. What logic did you use for the first layer? (I'm only asking because I'd love to solve one myself!) How would you rate the overall challenge compared with a standard 3x3?

Sjoerd wrote:
Of how many people do you know who solved it before me, Kelvin?
You're the first person to solve the final commercial product, or at least one of the puzzles. Before you, just two people (including a Cambridge PhD in quantum mechanics) managed to solve my initial prototype; then only Jaap and APJ on this forum have solved the "trial puzzle" in the online game. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: Feedback from DCD
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 3:35 pm 
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I can´t really remember my logic, that´s the problem. I started with the face that has a yellow dot as a center. Around this were two centers with crosses and two centers which were blue. If I were to start with the face that has a yellow dot as a center, in my normal 3x3 method I would make a cross first, so all edges around this yellow dot center. The side of the edges non-adjacent to the yellow dot center could not possibly be a blue cross. This helped me out a little bit, but I can´t remember how exactly.
But after typing this whole story, I remember. My cube has no red crosses on edges. This means the red parts of edges around the yellow dot center must be red circles, and then the blue pieces must be crosses.
So now I kept trying to make the right combinations with these pieces as edges until the corners would fit too. After completing the first layer the rest just worked out

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43,252,003,274,489,856,000. Or the full number in Hungarian is:
Negyvenháromtrillió-kétszázötvenkétbilliárd-hárombillió-kétszázhetvennégymiliárd-négyszáznyolcvankilencmillió-nyolcszázötvenhatezer :wink: )


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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: Feedback from DCD
PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 12:55 pm 
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how many pm's for buying one have you got and will this cover your costs


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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: Feedback from DCD
PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 1:11 pm 
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*Comment quoted into Qubami solving thread.*

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Last edited by Retr0 on Mon Nov 02, 2009 4:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: Feedback from DCD
PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 1:24 pm 
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Retr0 wrote:
If Kelvin requests me to remove this, I shall.

I would never ask anyone to remove or change any comments they want to make: it's a free forum and besides, these things will always come out anyway, that's the beauty of the internet. But I would suggest that we try to keep any discussions on solving Qubami's here, and any discussions on buying/selling Qubami's here, just to stay on topic.

Then we can keep this thread for updates on production and development of the business, which is at least *somewhat* related to "puzzle building & modding". :wink:

Otherwise Sausage will be on my tail! :lol:

jmcclure wrote:
how many pm's for buying one have you got and will this cover your costs

Usually I prefer to be completely open and transparent about *everything*, but I'm afraid I can't be too specific on certain financial details because I don't want to attract the attention of potential KOs (hence the choice to take orders only via PMs). I hope you will understand.

However I can say that, while I'm still a *long* way from covering all my initial costs, the support and feedback from fellow TP members has been fantastic. As a result I feel much more confident about tackling the mass market, albeit more cautiously.

So let me take this opportunity to thank all of you who have supported me so far on this, I can't tell you how much it means to me: THANK YOU!!!

The next step is to work on the Qubami website and packaging (marketing), so more updates will follow on this in the near future, and I hope you will stay with me for the exciting journey ahead... :D

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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: Moving forwards...
PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 9:48 am 
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OK, it's been a while since I posted here, so I thought I would give a quick update to assure you that things are still moving forwards (in case you had any doubts).

Although I have been here at the TP site on a regular basis I have been extremely busy with my normal day job. However things have quitened down in the past few weeks so I have finally had a chance to focus more of my time back on Qubami...

This past couple of weeks I have been working flat out on my business plan, which I have just managed to complete and submit to a national business plan competition (www.venture.ch). While I would love to win this competition (main prize is CHF 60,000), I needed to write the plan to structure my thinking on how I will take this venture forwards, and the competition was a great way to focus my efforts by enforcing a deadline.

Anyway, it is now done, and the good news is that I have developed my plans and thinking to a whole new level, and my next priority will be to try and raise some significant investment over the next 12 months, on the basis that I'm pretty sure this will take off in a big way...

You know by now that I like to be very transparent about all my motives and intentions, but in this case I would hold back a couple of (very good) surprises that I am now planning as part of the customer proposition. I wish I could tell you more about this now (it's very exciting), but I'm afraid you will have to wait and see. :P

OK, well that's it for now. The competition winners are announced on May 20, so I'll be sure to keep you updated. Wish me luck! :D

Best regards,
Kelvin

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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: Moving forwards...
PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 2:59 pm 
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Kelvin Stott wrote:
You know by now that I like to be very transparent about all my motives and intentions, but in this case I would hold back a couple of (very good) surprises that I am now planning as part of the customer proposition. I wish I could tell you more about this now (it's very exciting), but I'm afraid you will have to wait and see. :P

:D

That better not an April Fool's Day joke. :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: Moving forwards...
PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 4:55 am 
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APJ wrote:
That better not an April Fool's Day joke. :lol:
No joke, and to give just a small hint: it's based on the fact that each individual puzzle has its own secret solution. :wink:

Meanwhile, I now have a prototype of the 2x2 Qubami. :D
Attachment:
Mini Qubami.gif
Mini Qubami.gif [ 46.12 KiB | Viewed 4807 times ]

Like the 3x3 version, the mini version of Qubami starts out ordered and the goal is just to scramble it and get different colours and symbols on every row and column (ignoring the diagonals, like a 3D sudoku), but it has only 2 colours and 2 symbols rather than 3. Anyway, it's a lot harder than it looks. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: Moving forwards...
PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 4:58 am 
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Kelvin, you beautiful man! I just can't wait for these :)

A minor reason for my return was when I read about these.

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Last edited by Retr0 on Thu Apr 08, 2010 5:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: Moving forwards...
PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 5:03 am 
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It looks great, I can't wait to get these, along with hopefully 4x4 and 5x5 ones in the future!

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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: Moving forwards...
PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 5:35 am 
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This puzzle look great! Will you make a transparent version too? My 3x3 really wants a little sibling :D

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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: Moving forwards...
PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 5:41 am 
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That 2x2x2 Qubami looks great. :D I can't wait to get one.

Alex

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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: Moving forwards...
PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:38 am 
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that 2x2 version looks nice how does it turn?

i love the turning on my 3x3 qubami they really are potential speedcubes


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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: Moving forwards...
PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 5:35 pm 
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Thanks for the comments. Remember this is only a prototype, so it's too early to make any judgement on turning yet. However I suspect it should be as good as the 3x3 Qubami, and certainly no worse than any regular 2x2 cube. Indeed my goal is to make it turn better than all other cubes. :D

Also I'm not sure about colours yet, but once the mould is made (if and when I can raise investment) it will be easy to make the parts in any colour I want, in which case I will probably make a limited run in several different colours as I did for the 3x3 version.

But first let's see how I go with this business plan competition: apparently there were 142 entries, so the chances of winning are technically less than 1%... :?

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Last edited by KelvinS on Thu Apr 08, 2010 5:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: Moving forwards...
PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 5:49 pm 
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Kelvin Stott wrote:
Thanks for the comments. This is only a prototype, so too early to make any judgement on turning. However I suspect it should be as good as the 3x3 Qubami, and certainly no worse than any regular 2x2 cube. Indeed my goal is to make sure it moves better than all other cubes. :D

Not sure about colours yet, but once the mould is made (if and when I can raise investment) then it would be easy to make the parts in any colour I want, in which case I will probably make a limited run in several different colours as I did for the 3x3 version.

But first let's see how I get on with this business plan competition: apparently there were 142 entries, so the chances of winning are technically less than 1%... :?

That's better than your chance of winning the lottery jackpot, and that happened. :wink:

It didn't really.

Alex

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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: Moving forwards...
PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 6:02 am 
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I am happy to see that you are taking this to the next level by producing the 2x2x2 Qubami. I will surely order one when they are ready.

On a side note, how will the 4x4x4 and 5x5x5 theoretically work in their default (unscrambled) state? There is no way to evenly divide 4 or 5 colors across 6 faces so that they are all solid, although there are several novel ways to divide an even-numbered cube into four identical regions. But I can't wrap my brain around any trivial way to do 5 colors on a 5x5x5.

6 colors / 6 symbols would be a beast to solve on a 6x6x6, but you would have to either negotiate a deal with Verdes or use a different mechanism.

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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: Moving forwards...
PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 7:08 am 
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stardust4ever wrote:
I am happy to see that you are taking this to the next level by producing the 2x2x2 Qubami. I will surely order one when they are ready.

On a side note, how will the 4x4x4 and 5x5x5 theoretically work in their default (unscrambled) state? There is no way to evenly divide 4 or 5 colors across 6 faces so that they are all solid, although there are several novel ways to divide an even-numbered cube into four identical regions. But I can't wrap my brain around any trivial way to do 5 colors on a 5x5x5.

Many thanks, you raise some excellent points which I've considered for a while:

I have actually made a prototype of the 4x4x4 version, but I think this is just far too difficult for the mass market. And, as you say, the number of sides and colours don't match, so the colour-solved state is more scrambled, less intuitive and less attractive than the 2x2x2 and 3x3x3 versions, with different colours on at least one side.

For those reasons, I doubt it would make sense to extend the Qubami concept beyond the 3x3x3 version: I just don't think it would be commercially viable.

But hey, I'm not the customer, so I'm listening in case anyone disagrees... :wink:


stardust4ever wrote:
6 colors / 6 symbols would be a beast to solve on a 6x6x6, but you would have to either negotiate a deal with Verdes or use a different mechanism.

Yes, that's right, and in fact you can already use a normal 6-coloured 6x6x6 and try to find a sudoku-type solution. Has anyone ever managed to do this?

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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: Moving forwards...
PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 7:29 am 
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Each Octant on the 4x4x4 is a separate color. Although this would possibly simplify the puzzle a little bit because none of the corners would have orientation parity. Also, the centers are free to be positioned into any arrangement, quite possibly leading to multiple solutions. But at this level of complexity, I don't see that as being a problem :wink:
Attachment:
File comment: Octant Coloring Method
Qubami 4x4x4.PNG
Qubami 4x4x4.PNG [ 11.96 KiB | Viewed 4594 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: Moving forwards...
PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 7:37 am 
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Yes, technically this would work. It's actually covered by my patents, similar to my prototype and would indeed provide a huge challenge. I'm just not convinced it would be commercially viable with sufficient appeal to the mass market...

In my view, a good puzzle should:

1. Have a simple clear intuitive goal that can be easily defined in just a few words
2. Appear simple/trivial to solve (at first sight)
3. Be incredibly difficult and challenging in reality

While the 4x4 certainly meets point 3, I think it misses points 1 and 2, and this would put a lot of people off. That's why sales of higher order cubes are tiny compared with those of a regular 3x3: they just *appear* too complicated, even though they require more or less the same algorithms.

Therefore my thinking was to go for the 2x2 because it looks trivial, but is much more difficult than it seems... :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: Moving forwards...
PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 3:16 pm 
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So um, what are you going to call the 2x2 version?

Twobami?

Qubamini?

Qubami Jr.?


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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: packaging design
PostPosted: Mon Jul 19, 2010 8:07 pm 
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OK, time for another update...

As some of you know, I've been designing some packaging for my Qubami puzzle and, rather than designing a typical cheap, tacky-looking box (or even worse, a nasty blister pack) that will be torn open and thrown away, I wanted to design something really special, original, attractive and interactive, that will be kept and will actually add to the overall puzzling experience. So, I decided to design a package in the form of a puzzle, that you have to solve in order to open! :D

The idea is a tin cannister (with a top display window, to show off the puzzle inside), that you open by twisting, turning and pulling out the base through a hidden maze stuck to the inner surface of the cap, as shown in the pictures below.

Attachment:
Qubami packaging design 1.PNG
Qubami packaging design 1.PNG [ 45.25 KiB | Viewed 4414 times ]

Attachment:
Qubami packaging design 2.PNG
Qubami packaging design 2.PNG [ 53.99 KiB | Viewed 4414 times ]

Attachment:
Qubami packaging design 3.PNG
Qubami packaging design 3.PNG [ 127.52 KiB | Viewed 4414 times ]

Now, this concept is not new: similar ideas were first patented in the 1970's (now expired), and the popular Revomaze puzzle is also based on this concept, however I believe this is the first time the idea has been applied to packaging of another product. One possible reason for this is you don't want to spend half an hour to put on each cap, so part of the problem I had to solve was how to design a "one-way" maze, that is extremely simple to go in one direction (put the cap on), but more difficult to go in the other direction (take the cap off) and thus make it an interesting challenge. I can't show the actual maze designs for obvious reasons, but you get the idea. :wink:

Meanwhile, I've also designed some artwork that will go round the outside of the cap. The first thing you will notice is that I've tried to give it a sleek black clean quality appearance, including bright colours and metallic highlights on a satin black background, inspired by the iPhone box.

The second thing you'll notice is that I've tried to tie the brand together with logo and graphics that are consistent with the puzzle's unique appearance, including rounded violet blocks, and cyan, yellow and magenta circles (which may also be metallic effect) to represent the special Qubami stickers. I have also included the silhouette of a maze (glossy black on satin black background) behind the Qubami puzzle, to represent the "hidden" maze inside the packaging, which forms part of the puzzle experience. And I have also added the silhouette of a man associated with the QUBAMI logo, to signify that "Beyond Genius" refers to the "mystery" person who can solve the puzzle, rather than the puzzle itself.

Finally, the third thing you will notice (by reading the text) is that I intend to offer far more than just a physical puzzle. I intend to offer each customer a complete puzzle experience, as well as real respect and recognition by awarding a DLog (Doctor of Logic) "degree" diploma as a status symbol for those clever enough to solve it. The idea is that each puzzle will be supplied with a unique cryptic serial number, that can be used to verify its unique solution when submitted online (once the website is ready).

Attachment:
Qubami packaging artwork.png
Qubami packaging artwork.png [ 113.54 KiB | Viewed 4414 times ]

I know this "degree" is not officially recognized by any university, but I believe the value of a status symbol reflects the difficulty to obtain it. Time will tell how widely it becomes recognized, but my hope is that the difficulty of Qubami will increase the value of this status symbol, which will in turn help to drive up demand for the puzzle, in a kind of virtuous circle...

Anyway, let me know what you think, or if you have any suggestions, meanwhile I will hopefully start chasing suppliers to get some prototypes of this packaging made - then I'll post some pictures and maybe even a video when they're ready. :D

PS. I'm still working on the design for the base label, which will include foreign language translations, as well as barcode, CE Mark, address, and other blurb.

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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: packaging design
PostPosted: Mon Jul 19, 2010 9:39 pm 
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WHEN THIS IS DONE I AM BUYING ONE.

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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: packaging design
PostPosted: Mon Jul 19, 2010 9:56 pm 
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I LOVE the idea for the case! This gives you 2 puzzles in one, and can act somewhat like Oskar's Gift Cube. Out of interest, with the cases, are Qubami's still $35? (I think that was the price before...) I also like the idea of the 'degree' thing, kind of like the Isis puzzles almost, but how would you get a serial number from solving the puzzle? the order of the tiles on the faces?

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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: packaging design
PostPosted: Mon Jul 19, 2010 10:27 pm 
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The Qubami is awesome ! I hope I can get one soon


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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: packaging design
PostPosted: Mon Jul 19, 2010 10:39 pm 
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Monopoly wrote:
I LOVE the idea for the case! This gives you 2 puzzles in one, and can act somewhat like Oskar's Gift Cube. Out of interest, with the cases, are Qubami's still $35? (I think that was the price before...) I also like the idea of the 'degree' thing, kind of like the Isis puzzles almost, but how would you get a serial number from solving the puzzle? the order of the tiles on the faces?

You check the solution online, if it's "scrambled" you win!

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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: packaging design
PostPosted: Mon Jul 19, 2010 10:42 pm 
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How cool!

I am currently working to design/build an adaptation of http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1481 to add a transparent window. It's not identical to your concept, but there are some obvious parallels!

The Thingiverse version has an uninteresting maze. I've spent the last two days trying to revise it, but my software keeps crashing.


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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: packaging design
PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 3:23 am 
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That box looks cool. :D

Alex

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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: packaging design
PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:56 am 
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Thanks for all the encouraging comments and feedback. By the way, if people have any negative (critical) feedback, I would like to hear that also. In fact, I would appreciate that even more, as it may raise potential issues that I haven't even thought of. :D

Monopoly wrote:
Out of interest, with the cases, are Qubami's still $35? (I think that was the price before...)
Most likely the price will increase to around $40-50 once the full product offering goes to market via my website (when this is ready). The $35 price was set at a discount (with free shipping) as part of my specific introductory offer for TP members only, and this initial offer is still open, but not for long...

theVDude wrote:
Monopoly wrote:
I also like the idea of the 'degree' thing, kind of like the Isis puzzles almost, but how would you get a serial number from solving the puzzle? the order of the tiles on the faces?
You check the solution online, if it's "scrambled" you win!
Not quite. Each individual puzzle will be supplied with a unique serial code (number) printed on the instructions inside the packaging. Once the puzzle is solved, BOTH the solution AND the serial code must be submitted together online. You win only if the solution is valid (i.e., properly "scrambled") AND it matches the serial code that is stored on our database. This way you can't submit the solution to somebody else's puzzle, it has to match the code that comes with your own specific puzzle.

VeryWetPaint wrote:
How cool!

I am currently working to design/build an adaptation of http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1481 to add a transparent window. It's not identical to your concept, but there are some obvious parallels!

The Thingiverse version has an uninteresting maze. I've spent the last two days trying to revise it, but my software keeps crashing.
Hey, nice. Maybe I send you a PM to help me get the first prototype made. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: packaging design
PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 1:35 pm 
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Kelvin Stott wrote:
Not quite. Each individual puzzle will be supplied with a unique serial code (number) printed on the instructions inside the packaging. Once the puzzle is solved, BOTH the solution AND the serial code must be submitted together online. You win only if the solution is valid (i.e., properly "scrambled") AND it matches the serial code that is stored on our database. This way you can't submit the solution to somebody else's puzzle, it has to match the code that comes with your own specific puzzle.
I have to say, I really, really like the idea of this! Very well thought out, and the basic concept of the Qubami cube is just great. Since I'm rather new at the forum, I haven't heard of this before now, but it's great! :D I have to admit that I was rather skeptical at first, seeing as I don't like Sudoku that much. But I think this will be a real challenge, even to experienced cubers.


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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: packaging design
PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 2:09 pm 
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Just curious, but how many mazes were you planning on making?

I think it's a cool idea to make it another mini puzzle of just getting to the real puzzle.

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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: packaging design
PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 2:28 pm 
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Katten wrote:
I have to admit that I was rather skeptical at first, seeing as I don't like Sudoku that much. But I think this will be a real challenge, even to experienced cubers.

It is! :lol: Be prepared to set aside an entire day to try and figure out the Qubami! :D

Alex

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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: packaging design
PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 3:01 pm 
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I can already see some people throwing the puzzle case at a wall or trying to open it with a hammer, just in frustration :lol: :lol:

Very clever idea, Kelvin. Although I already expected something like this, coming from your mind :wink: .

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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: packaging design
PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 6:54 pm 
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GuiltyBystander wrote:
Just curious, but how many mazes were you planning on making?
Just one maze, as it's hidden and has multiple indistinguishable entry points, so it's difficult to remember and communicate/share the solution with others. Only the Qubami itself needs to have a different solution for each puzzle, because the solution is visible and would be easy to share by taking photos.

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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: packaging design
PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 6:57 pm 
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This literally will be two puzzles in one :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: packaging design
PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 8:14 pm 
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You should put the can inside another puzzle box to make it a 3-in-one. :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: packaging design
PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 8:30 pm 
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Jared wrote:
You should put the can inside another puzzle box to make it a 3-in-one. :lol:
Well technically the Qubami puzzle itself is already 3-in-1 (solve by colour, or by symbol, or scramble), so I guess it's 4-in-1 :P

Joking aside, there are all sorts of additional puzzles or challenges I could add, for example a worldwide treasure hunt where you get a new clue for each Qubami you manage to solve, or whatever. I'm always trying to think about the overall experience, beyond the physical puzzle.

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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: packaging design
PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2010 5:08 am 
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I can hardly wait to get mine now :D
Kelvin Stott wrote:
I intend to offer each customer a complete puzzle experience, as well as real respect and recognition by awarding a DLog (Doctor of Logic) "degree" diploma as a status symbol for those clever enough to solve it. The idea is that each puzzle will be supplied with a unique cryptic serial number, that can be used to verify its unique solution when submitted online (once the website is ready).
Also, I think this is a great idea! Would be just awesome to become a Doctor of Logic and have a diploma saying you solved it. Would also be a motivation factor which I think will make solving it more fun and rewarding. My point being, I hope this intention of yours gets put in to reality :D


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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: packaging design
PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2010 6:55 pm 
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I think that maybe you shouldn't use the word "doctor" (since it's not really a doctorate, you'd be a Qubami Quack! I'd rather be a Qubami Quencher or a Qubami Questor), but I do like the idea about getting a certificate if you can solve yours.


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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: packaging design
PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2010 8:58 pm 
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I love this idea of the puzzle just to get to the puzzle. I think the Qubami itself is probably too difficult for the average person to try figure out, but the puzzle to get to it is reasonable for the average person. Therefore, I think this would be better for when the 2x2 Qubami comes out which is much less intimidating.

Speaking of, when can I get a 2x2 Qubami?

-d


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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: packaging design
PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2010 9:13 pm 
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I for one would most certainly not like my new $50 puzzle to be trapped inside a maze just so I can challenge myself to a variation of a 3x3x3. But seeing how other members like it, would it be possible to leave it up to the buyer to whether they want the maze?

Also with the maze, do you plan on it having rotational symmetry? It may be pretty challenging if you had a double maze in order to open it, where there are 2 bumps. This would only work if you made the outside transparent so you can see the maze.

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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: packaging design
PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 8:06 am 
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Wow, some great points and questions, thanks. I'm not even sure I have all the answers, but I'll try to explain my own thoughts on these issues as best I can...

Rentlix wrote:
I for one would most certainly not like my new $50 puzzle to be trapped inside a maze just so I can challenge myself to a variation of a 3x3x3. But seeing how other members like it, would it be possible to leave it up to the buyer to whether they want the maze?

In summary: no, once the packaging is made I would only sell the puzzle and packaging together as one product. I know this doesn't sound very customer-oriented, but let me explain my reasoning:

There are plenty of puzzles around on the market today, and very few of these offer much more than the physical puzzle itself: you tear open and throw away some cheap packaging, play with the puzzle, maybe solve it, and that's it. So right from the start my strategy has been to create a strong and consistent brand that represents an overall puzzling experience, beyond the physical puzzle, to distinguish it from all the other stuff ("noise") crowding the market. I designed the packaging as an integral part of that experience, the brand, and the product itself.

Now I need to make a tough decision: do I allow people to buy the puzzle without the packaging and try to please everyone, or do I limit the options to create a more consistent brand and message that resonates more strongly with a smaller subset of the population? Personally, I believe it's better to take a risk with a strong, consistent brand that might potentially alienate a few people, but inspire more passion, interest, buzz and word of mouth among others, than take a bigger risk with a mixed, diluted message that nobody really understands and wants to talk about. This is especially important for a new product being launched in a competitive market, by a one-man venture (i.e., me) with no marketing budget: there is no way I could get enough exposure and compete in the market unless the brand message is clear, consistent and distinctive enough to stimulate public conversation. Sending a mixed message is a risk I can't afford to take.

In any case, some kind of packaging is required to keep the cryptic code tied to the puzzle itself, and ideally the codes should be concealed within the packaging, otherwise people could walk around the shop, write down lots of codes and submit random solutions online, which would screw up the system for those who actually buy the puzzle.

Rentlix wrote:
Also with the maze, do you plan on it having rotational symmetry? It may be pretty challenging if you had a double maze in order to open it, where there are 2 bumps. This would only work if you made the outside transparent so you can see the maze.

Actually there will be at least 2, possibly 3 identical copies of the same maze wrapped around the inside circumference of the cap. This is because you need at least 2 or 3 pegs around the base to keep it stable. Otherwise with 1 peg/maze you could easily escape the challenge altogether, just by tilting the base. And the mazes must be identical as the pegs follow the same path.

darryl wrote:
I love this idea of the puzzle just to get to the puzzle. I think the Qubami itself is probably too difficult for the average person to try figure out, but the puzzle to get to it is reasonable for the average person. Therefore, I think this would be better for when the 2x2 Qubami comes out which is much less intimidating.

Speaking of, when can I get a 2x2 Qubami?

-d

Indeed, the original 3x3x3 version of Qubami is VERY tough, and I expect that no more than 0.1% of the population will ever be able to figure it out (given that only 5% of the population could ever solve a Rubik's Cube). But my hope is that won't limit the number of people who will want to try anyway, given the potential status, recognition and respect they could earn by solving it. It's kind of like the lottery: only one or two people will ultimately win the jackpot, but everyone has a chance. The trick is to reduce the psychological barrier by making it *look* easy (with the 3 simple-looking colours and symbols, and the simplified challenge to "open the can and scramble the puzzle"), while making the potential reward ("get a degree") appealing enough to make an attempt. Of course an experienced cuber will instantly realize how difficult it is, but I don't think this will be so obvious to the general public. Therefore, I would like to make people *believe* they can solve it, try to solve it, and then challenge others to solve it when they can't, thus stimulating word of mouth.

This might sound dishonest, but actually it's about managing and exceeding customer expectations: I believe people would much rather buy what they think is a simple puzzle that ultimately proves to be a real entertaining and engaging challenge, than buy what they think is a challenging puzzle only to solve it within seconds (we've all experienced that kind of disappointment). That's the funny thing with puzzles: people might *say* they don't like difficult puzzles, but invariably they're disappointed when the challenge is easier than they expected, and stimulated (sometimes to obsession) when it's more difficult. When people tell others that a puzzle is more difficult than they expected, they are not complaining, but talking about a challenge that exceeded their expectations.

Now, regarding the 2x2x2, I do want to launch this as soon as possible, but I have to be honest and say it is very unlikely to happen for at least another couple of years, perhaps even 4 or 5 years. This is because I *must* focus on the original product and make this a success, before I can afford to launch a second product. It's just too risky to try to launch 2 products at the same time: it's better to focus on launching one and making sure it's a success before trying to launch a second. Otherwise there's a greater risk that both will fail. Initially, I was thinking about raising some investment to launch both products at once, but I realized that if this strategy doesn't make sense for the business (too risky), then it doesn't make sense for any investors either. So I decided to take it slow, and take one step at a time. I know this may come as a disappointment to many puzzle enthusiasts who can't wait to get their hands on the next puzzle, but I need to manage my risk and get some return on the first product before I can afford to invest more time and money on new puzzles.

Jared wrote:
I think that maybe you shouldn't use the word "doctor" (since it's not really a doctorate, you'd be a Qubami Quack! I'd rather be a Qubami Quencher or a Qubami Questor), but I do like the idea about getting a certificate if you can solve yours.

This is a great question, in fact one I struggled with myself for a good while. At the end of the day, I want to reward those who can solve the puzzle with real status, recognition and respect, and these are serious matters, so I decided against any kind of "gimmicky" award that sounds made up and would never be taken seriously. So I came up with the idea of awarding a "real" doctorate degree. At first I wasn't sure about this either, so I asked myself why not, and looked into it. The first step was to check if there are any legal issues or international standards that would prevent or restrict this. Interestingly, there aren't: the standards of academic qualifications are self-regulated within an informal network, i.e., each university sets its own standards, which become recognized over time. That's why academic qualifications from certain universities are more highly regarded than others.

This also answered my next question about ethics. The perceived value of the DLog degree will ultimately be set by the public, not by me, based on the difficulty of the puzzle: the more people who can solve the puzzle, the less value people will perceive in the DLog degree, and vice versa. In addition, I believe this provides an opportunity to formally recognize those who may be super-intelligent, but who may not have the academic interests or means to pursue a university education, and that can't be a bad thing.

I realize that some people may feel uncomfortable with this idea, and it may even alienate a few people. But I would rather be interesting and potentially controversial (provided of course it doesn't harm anyone) than ultra-conservative and boring. The market is already crowded with ultra-conservative, boring products that nobody gets excited about.

K. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: packaging design
PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 8:33 am 
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This may be a big off topic, but I just woke up froma dream where instead of recieving a 3x3x3, I got a 2x3x3 Qubami. It makes me wonder...

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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: packaging design
PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 2:56 pm 
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Kelvin Stott wrote:
This is especially important for a new product being launched in a competitive market, by a one-man venture (i.e., me) with no marketing budget: there is no way I could get enough exposure and compete in the market unless the brand message is clear, consistent and distinctive enough to stimulate public conversation. Sending a mixed message is a risk I can't afford to take.
I do agree with your logic and I also believe sending out a strong and clear message is the best way to go when introducing a new puzzle to the marked. I also agree with the fact that you won't market the 2x2x2 Qubami for at least a few years. I am no business expert, but I believe that marketing two puzzles at the same time could both be a financial trap, and make you not be able to put enough effort into the whole puzzle experience, that you're talking about, seeing as you have yet to find out whether there will be enough requests for the 2x2x2 Qubami to make it worth it, financial, for you to market it. Also there's the issue with paying back the initial costs of marketing the 3x3x3 in the first place, which wouldn't exactly go faster it you were to add another product, that may or may not be requested by enough people for you to actually gain anything from it.

That being said, though I follow your logic on this, I would have hoped for you to be able to market the 2x2x2 Qubami a little sooner, as it is definitely on my "to-get list" :lol:
Rentlix wrote:
This may be a big off topic, but I just woke up froma dream where instead of recieving a 3x3x3, I got a 2x3x3 Qubami. It makes me wonder...
As a matter of fact, I also dreamed about the Qubami last night, though not a 2x2x3 Qubami :lol: Still, that would be a pretty cool puzzle!

Oh, btw: you estimate that only 0,1 % of the population would ever be able to solve the regular Qubami? :shock: That just blows my mind away, though it would make me feel less bad if I wasn't able to solve it.


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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: packaging design
PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 3:49 pm 
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Kelvin Stott wrote:
I'm still working on the design for the base label, which will include foreign language translations, as well as barcode, CE Mark, address, and other blurb.


Considering that the "Maze Case" is intended to double as a display box, I would prefer any labeling adhered to the case to be purely decorative. The commercial markings seem like something that should be regulated to a wrapper or easily removed tag.

Also, since each Qubami is going to be unique, perhaps a feature should be implemented to allow those who purchase multiple Qubami to register all that they solve to a single Doctorate of Logic.

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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: packaging design
PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 7:24 pm 
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Each Qubami Face is 2 Latin squares- shape and color. A 3x3 Latin square can be formed in 6 different ways. Square that, because each face is 2 different Latin Squares. 36 possible Latin Squares can be formed on 1 face. Then there are 6 faces on the cube, so you have 216 possible solutions if each face is unique to each other.

So do you plan on selling a batch of 216 Qubamis? You would have to do them in batches of 216 or less, because otherwise they wouldn't be unique.

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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: packaging design
PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2010 5:49 am 
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Rentlix wrote:
Each Qubami Face is 2 Latin squares- shape and color. A 3x3 Latin square can be formed in 6 different ways. Square that, because each face is 2 different Latin Squares. 36 possible Latin Squares can be formed on 1 face. Then there are 6 faces on the cube, so you have 216 possible solutions if each face is unique to each other.

So do you plan on selling a batch of 216 Qubamis? You would have to do them in batches of 216 or less, because otherwise they wouldn't be unique.
You're right that the number of possible Qubami solutions is limited: there are only so many permutations of colours and symbols that fit the Latin Square requirements. However, your calculation is not quite correct: A 3x3 Latin Square can actually be formed in 12 different ways (see here), not just 6. Square that, because each face is 2 independent Latin Squares (colours and symbols), gives 144 possible solutions on each face. Then you can have any combination of these 144 "double" Latin Squares on all 6 faces (they don't need to be different), giving 144^6 = 8.9*10^12 possible solutions. However, many of these solutions are equivalent by rotating the overall cube, so you have to divide this by 24 because a cube has 24 possible orientations. This gives 3.7*10^11 possible Qubami solutions, i.e., a lot more than 216!

However, the point is not that there is only one copy of each Qubami puzzle in the entire world, but that the chances of getting 2 with the same solution are negligible. :wink:

Jeffery Mewtamer wrote:
Kelvin Stott wrote:
I'm still working on the design for the base label, which will include foreign language translations, as well as barcode, CE Mark, address, and other blurb.
Considering that the "Maze Case" is intended to double as a display box, I would prefer any labeling adhered to the case to be purely decorative. The commercial markings seem like something that should be regulated to a wrapper or easily removed tag.
It's a legal requirement to put some of this information on the packaging, but it will go on the bottom where it can't be easily seen unless you lift up the can turn it upside down. The side label will look much nicer, as shown in the picture above. In any case, you could always peel off the base label from the bottom of the can once you have it.

Jeffery Mewtamer wrote:
Also, since each Qubami is going to be unique, perhaps a feature should be implemented to allow those who purchase multiple Qubami to register all that they solve to a single Doctorate of Logic.
Yes, that's what I'm planning. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: packaging design
PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2010 6:19 am 
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Rentlix wrote:
Each Qubami Face is 2 Latin squares- shape and color. A 3x3 Latin square can be formed in 6 different ways. Square that, because each face is 2 different Latin Squares. 36 possible Latin Squares can be formed on 1 face. Then there are 6 faces on the cube, so you have 216 possible solutions if each face is unique to each other.

So do you plan on selling a batch of 216 Qubamis? You would have to do them in batches of 216 or less, because otherwise they wouldn't be unique.
The aspects of the term "uniqueness of Qubami" have been discussed here a while back (I had missunderstood the uniqueness aspect in the first place):
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=14486&p=186420&hilit=+qubami+unique#p186420
When the Qubami arrives, it comes in a colour solved state. The meaning of "each Qubami is unique" means that you can expect two different starting configurations (solved by colour) when you order two Qubami. As you know, each puzzle has two more target configurations: solved by symbol (many different possible patterns for an individual physical puzzle) and the "real" Qubami solution. Alltogether there exist far less different target patterns for all Qubami ( a few hundred in total) than starting configurations. For a specific order Kelvin has to register two things in his database: the start configuration and a unique identification. As Kelvin guarantees that each puzzle will be solvable in all three forms (colour (many patterns), symbol (many patterns) and Qubami pattern (one)) the identification is logically connected with the Qubami solution.
When Kelvin sells more than a few hundred the Qubami target patterns will necessarily repeat.
This doesn't help at all solving the puzzle, as you have no help in finding the target pattern by knowing that it will repeat every few hundred puzzles at least once.
Be sure that this is a very tough puzzle - and very nice, too. :D
If Kelvin is very successful (and I wish good luck to him :D ) and sells more than a few hundred thousands even the start configurations will repeat.
I have no idea, if Kelvin can guarantee that a specific buyer buying more than one puzzle will get different Qubami solutions.
I have bought three so far, three different colourings and three different solutions.

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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: packaging design
PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2010 6:27 am 
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Many thanks, Konrad, this is indeed correct: while the number of theoretical solutions is much higher (as I calculated above), the number of solutions that will actually be available will be lower (in the order of a few hundred), due to the fact that the puzzle has two alternative solutions (solve by colour or by symbol), which adds further restrictions to the number of sudoku-like solutions. Ultimately I can't *guarantee* that somebody won't buy two puzzles with the same solution, especially if they are bought in a random fashion from retail stores, but I'm considering an alternative guarantee: to replace any puzzle that has the same solution as one you already own. This would be easy to check by comparing the cryptic codes on my database... though I doubt it will happen very often. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Qubami update: packaging design
PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2010 8:55 am 
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Kelvin Stott wrote:
It will go on the bottom where it can't be easily seen unless you lift up the can turn it upside down. The side label will look much nicer, as shown in the picture above.


Thanks for this clarification.

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