Observations of a Red Bull Addict

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by: David Lundeen, CTO

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for entertainment purposes only.
No employees were harmed during the study.

 Most people have a basic understanding of the health benefits of a balanced diet.  What is not so well understood is how much Red Bull is required for a diet to be considered balanced.

Figure 1: A Typical Developer's Desk

In this article, we’ll discuss the health benefits of Red Bull and symptoms that indicate insufficient or excessive Red Bull in a diet.  This article summarizes the results of a double-blind test performed on unwilling participants[1].

A control group was given water with Red Bull flavoring.  Subjects in the experimental group were provided with various amounts of Red Bull at different times throughout the day.  During the study, the subjects were given assignments and monitored for desirable and undesirable behaviors.  All of the subjects were software developers, so the selected behaviors are of particular interest to that group.

 The experiment began with a test where each subject was given a coding assignment and asked to estimate how long it would take to complete.  The estimates and actual coding times were documented and used to quantify Red Bulls impact on coding time estimates.

The chart shows a summary of the results.  Members of the control group typically estimated about 66% of the actual time.  The time estimate decreased with the number of Red Bulls consumed.   Red Bull’s mood elevation effects appear to produce delusions of excessive ability.  There is an inverse relationship between Red Bull consumption and accuracy of coding time estimates.  It should be noted that subjects that consumed more than 4 Red Bulls continued to experience the mood elevation effects and did not care that the estimates were significantly inaccurate.

The test subjects were asked to self-report their level of satisfaction with the coding assignment.  The control subjects were generally satisfied with the quality of the work, but felt that improvements could have been made given more time.  Test subjects who had consumed a single Red Bull were happy with the quality of the work and saw no need for additional time.  Test subjects who consumed 2 Red Bulls were happy with the quality of the work and felt that there is no need for QA (What could possibly go wrong?).  Test subjects who drank 4 Red Bulls were unrealistically happy and felt that their work exceeded all expectations.

 The second day of testing focused on measuring productive work hours doing seam line editing relative to Red Bull Consumption.  The test subjects were given a mosaic comprised of over 3000 images.

After approximately 4 hours, the entire control group stopped working and started watching YouTube videos.  Test subjects that had consumed a single Red Bull worked about 1.5 hours longer.  Consumption of two Red Bulls increased work hours to about 7 (only 1 hour over the single Red Bull results).  Subjects that consumed 4 Red Bulls were able to work for about 12 hours before yelling at the computer.  This is particularly noteworthy because effective seam-line editing is impossible.  Fixing any seam line problem creates a new problem.  Managing frustration levels for such an extended period is a significant finding.

The third day of testing focused on the subject’s ability to deal with clients, particularly in a meeting environment.  This test measured three behaviors:

1.  Perception Management – The ability to put a positive spin on failure.

2.  Public Speaking – The ability to project confidence and authoritativeness while speaking on topics that the subject knows nothing about.  Additional points were awarded if the subject spoke vaguely enough so that no commitments were made regardless of what the client thinks was promised.

3.  Social awareness – The ability to pretend to follow a sports conversation.

Subjects in the control group scored noticeably lower than subjects in the experimental group.  Red Bull appears to affect the areas of the brain associated with social skills.  The effects lasted between two and four hours.  There is a direct relationship between Red Bull consumption and inter-personal skills.


The experiments indicate that while Red Bull has a negative effect on time estimates, its positive effects in a work environment are significant.  Red Bull consumption should be between two and four cans per day.  Additionally, Red Bull reduces the need for other types of self-medication.  A commitment to the free flow of Red Bull would be a worthwhile investment in any company’s future.

Future related topics:  Loaning Red Bulls – how long do you have to wait to get your Red Bull returned?

Read more from the ControlCam Newsletter

[1] ControlCam’s mission statement includes a commitment to protection and fair treatment of animals.  To avoid endangering animals during the tests, only Pictometry employees were used as test subjects.



The Use of Unmanned Aerial Drone Aircraft for Aerial Imagery

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Like radar, robots and GPS guidance systems, unmanned aerial drones were developed by the US military and now have made their way into the civilian world.

Drones have been in the news a lot recently, most notably during the mission to eliminate Osama Bin Laden. It’s clear to us that drones are going to be seen in the skies above with greater frequency.

What is a drone anyway? Simply put it’s an aircraft that is controlled without a human pilot onboard. That means the drone can be controlled by a computer, by a remote control navigator or even by a pilot in another plane.

What are some uses for drones? In our view, the sky is the limit.  Local and state governments can use drones for surveillance, law enforcement or fire control. And because drones do not have feelings or families they can be sent on missions that are really dangerous or incredibly boring.

At ControlCam we know that aerial drones will be a large part of our aerial imaging business in the very near future. We are building out our fleet our unmanned drones now and have learned a number of important lessons already. First, drones can fly much lower than conventional aircraft and therefore the images they capture are much more precise. Next, drones are way less expensive to operate than planes so we can capture these great images and deliver them to our customers for a much lower cost.  And finally, drones are much more reliable than people. No sick days. No vacation days. No need for minor things like food or sleep.

ControlCam believes that drones are the future of our business. Our investment in a drone fleet and our development of a unique image capture system that rides along with the drones is paramount to our strategy. Thanks to the US military and the US taxpayer. We could not have done it without you.