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Programming is hard; Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich: Exact Instructions Challenge – THIS is why my kids hate me. | Josh Darnit – YouTube

Posted by jpluimers on 2023/03/01

[] Exact Instructions Challenge – THIS is why my kids hate me. | Josh Darnit – YouTube

We asked the kids to write instructions for a simple task but left out that we were going to be following their instructions EXACTLY as written. Great lesson for communication and a fun practice in patience!

Via [Archive] Maarten van Smeden on Twitter: “This is why programming is an acquired skill ” / Twitter


It spurred all kinds of reactions about software development, like that programming should read like poetry, software development is about slowing down your thoughts, and that some high schools and some universities do this experiment at the start of their software development curriculum.

This is a cool experiment to do, even outside the USA, as many countries or regions have their own sandwich style, some of which are way harder to make than PB&J (:

See for instance some from List of sandwiches – Wikipedia that I really like:

The Tweet I mentioned had a copy of the Daily Mail video, so I posted a link to the original Daily Mail video at Facebook [Archive] Jeroen Wiert Pluimers on Twitter: “@MaartenvSmeden Original @DailyMail video: ” / Twitter.

That also appeared to be a copy of the above YouTube video (thanks zzzz!) and pointed to a whole channel of the family doing all sorts of these experiments:

Oh, the above Twitter thread sparked two classics as well:

[Archive] paperless test on Twitter: “@MaartenvSmeden Great exercise for the classic assumption/interpretation/communication problem: …” / Twitter
[Archive] Mark König on Twitter: “@paperlesstest33 @MaartenvSmeden And this is the 40-50 years old paper version of it – from my Dad”s architecture office (German language). #development #Engineering #ux …” / Twitter



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