Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

U.S. Government Developed the iPod 614

ezavada writes "Engadget reports that in a speech at Tuskegee University, President Bush claims that government research developed the iPod." From the article: "While we have to gratefully acknowledge the efforts of government agencies such as DARPA in some of the fields mentioned by the President, we also feel obligated to point out the accomplishments of private companies in the US and abroad, including IBM, Hitachi and Toshiba -- not to mention the Fraunhofer Institute, which developed the original MP3 codec ..."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

U.S. Government Developed the iPod

Comments Filter:
  • by guabah ( 968691 ) on Saturday April 22, 2006 @05:29AM (#15179685)
    Because i'm almost sure that the US Military needed a way to store audio in a portable device without carrying tapes and disks around long before the iPod
    • Yes, and so did everyone else, the iPod isn't just one of those devices, the major inovation of the iPod is that you can look cool while telling someone about your MP3 player, rather than blend in with the geeks.

      Now if your telling me the goverment invented a way to make geeky things non-geeky without having to pay $99 for a 'sock' which fits your iPod, now that's something I'd be interested in.
    • From tactical to practical

      Seriously, if I had any mod points left I'd send some your way on the basis of your subject line alone. That's the sort of thing that only comes to me after I hit 'Submit.'

  • Not another meme!
  • Absurd (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 22, 2006 @05:32AM (#15179692)
    He didn't say that at all. According to the article, he said that the "the government funded research in microdrive storage, electrochemistry and signal compression" and goes on to say that while the government intendeed that for one (unspecified) purpose, that "it turned out that those were the key ingredients for the development of the iPod".

    That's a long long way from claiming to have "invented the iPod".

    This whole story is a waste of space. It doesn't even mention Ponies.
    • Re:Absurd (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MoonFog ( 586818 ) on Saturday April 22, 2006 @06:00AM (#15179753)
      It will probably get passed around the net as if Bush said he developed the iPod. Al Gore never did say he "invented the internet" either.

      • Not only did Bush invent the iPod, he also shuffled the shuffle. []

    • In standard Bush style, that's what he meant to say but it isn't quite what he said.
    • Re:Absurd (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Talk about selective quoting.

      The full sentence yields:

      "the government funded research in microdrive storage, electrochemistry and signal compression. They did so for one reason: It turned out that those were the key ingredients for the development of the iPod."

      Mr B may not claim to have invented the iPod, he's pretty much clear on the fact the iPod exists only by his grace.
    • Re:Absurd (Score:4, Funny)

      by sacrilicious ( 316896 ) on Saturday April 22, 2006 @08:09AM (#15179978) Homepage
      According to the article, he said that the "the government funded research in microdrive storage, electrochemistry and signal compression"

      BUSH said that?? He can't even pronounce "nuclear". The above probably came out as "the gubmint did work in 'puter stuff, and in electoral... elecat... elcatrikomystery stuff, and in siggy ... what is this word to hell with it, in nukular stuff."

  • by linguae ( 763922 ) on Saturday April 22, 2006 @05:32AM (#15179693)

    The title of the article is incorrect; the US government didn't develop the iPod. It just helped fund the development of certain technologies at various research labs and universities that private corporations picked up and further developed on.

    In other news early this morning, the US government helped develop Linux. More details come later.

  • Haha (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tsa ( 15680 ) on Saturday April 22, 2006 @05:32AM (#15179695) Homepage
    You can say what you want about Bush, but not that he hasn't got a sense of humour.
  • by BaltikaTroika ( 809862 ) on Saturday April 22, 2006 @05:33AM (#15179697)
    From TFA: George W. Bush told his audience, "the government funded research in microdrive storage, electrochemistry and signal compression. They did so for one reason: It turned out that those were the key ingredients for the development of the iPod."

    The bold type is mine. I doubt that the single reason that things like signal compression were funded was because it was necessary to develop the iPod. It seems like these things could be more useful in military/computer/communications/etc. spheres than in personal entertainment.

    Does this sound like a (bad) joke taken out of context to anybody else? Don't we have editors for this sort of thing?

    -- []

    • It's Zonk on duty. What did you expect?
    • by MythMoth ( 73648 ) on Saturday April 22, 2006 @05:44AM (#15179719) Homepage
      It was a speech. So the colon was placed there by a third party.

      That could read two ways:
      i. They did so for one and only one reason which was...
      ii. They did so for one reason, but it turned out that...

      Reading (ii) seems far more likely to me. It sounds more like poor phrasing than a poor joke to me (though you may well be right). But the article "helpfully" omits the broader context of the speech.

      I'm no fan of the US president. But it irritates me to see the personality attacks instead of substantive policy attacks.
      • by TrappedByMyself ( 861094 ) on Saturday April 22, 2006 @08:44AM (#15180042)
        It was a joke. I dug up the speech []

        Here is more of the quote:
        " Here's another interesting example of where basic research can help change quality of life or provide practical applications for people. The government funded research in microdrive storage, electrochemistry and signal compression. They did so for one reason: It turned out that those were the key ingredients for the development of the Ipod. I tune into the Ipod occasionally, you know? (Laughter.) Basic research to meet one set of objectives can lead to interesting ideas for our society. It helps us remain competitive. So the government should double the commitment to the most basic -- critical research programs in the physical sciences over the next 10 years. I look forward to Congress to doubling that commitment."
      • Actually... if you ask me it is probably a typo and was supposed to be a semicolon. (Same meaning as your ii)
    • Does this sound like a (bad) joke taken out of context to anybody else?

      Not a problem. The "Al Gore invented the Internet" quote was also badly taken out of context.
    • "Does this sound like a (bad) joke taken out of context to anybody else?"

      It sounds like yet another attempt to discredit the president.

      There's a big big flaw in my suggestion, though: It takes a lot more work to spin-doctor a story to make GWB sound untruthful than it does to set the TiVo whenever he makes a speech.
    • I think that if you shove the word "but" in after your bolding, you'll get what he intended to say.

      "The government funded research in these areas. They did so for one reason (probably military uses), but it turned out that these technologies were vital in the creation of the iPod and similar players."

      How's that sound?
    • I worked an internship at a computer lab in the UK during the '90 where we had PhD students trying to get voice compression to the next stage. As I recall a lot of that was based on American military voice compression research.

      Now the key point was trying to achieve "real-time" compression -- seeing a P90 taking 3-4 times real-time was seen as pretty good already.

      Around the same time of course MP3 compression was also just getting off the ground, and the reference source code was more or less spread around
    • I thought we had editors too, but the submission of mine that made it on the front page seems to have been "edited" to make me look like a whiny bitch. Such is the way of Slashdot?

      1. Keep all sensationalist stuff in the front-page article
      2. "edit" out the relevant information in the actual submission
      3. Watch as hundreds of Slashdotters get mislead by editorial idiocy, fail to get a whole picture, and uselessly flame the article submitter
      4. laugh and profit at submitter's expense.

      Nice way to treat those that
  • Ah-HAH! (Score:5, Funny)

    by jettoki ( 894493 ) on Saturday April 22, 2006 @05:34AM (#15179700)
    This proves my conspiracy theory. You think you're listening to music, but in reality, your brain juice is being sucked out and put to nefarious use by the CIA.

    The truth is out there, my friends! Protect your precious bodily fluids!
  • Logical disconnect (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MadUndergrad ( 950779 ) on Saturday April 22, 2006 @05:34AM (#15179702)

    "the government funded research in microdrive storage, electrochemistry and signal compression."

    Yes, that seems reasonable enough. The government does lots of research, much of which benefits private companies.

    "They did so for one reason: It turned out that those were the key ingredients for the development of the iPod."

    The thing about this statement, is that they don't actually state a reason. They say there was a reason, then they go on to say that the research resulted in the ipod. The result is not a reason.

    The sheer vagueness and lack of point to this article makes me want to smack whoever wrote it.
  • I'm rich! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 22, 2006 @05:34AM (#15179703)
    Well to take it to the logical extremes, the people elected the government who decided to fund these projects with their tax dollars.

    Which means I indirectly contributed about a hundredth trillionth trillionth percent to the development of the iPod... which means based on iPod sales I'm owed about $400,000 in royalties, if my calculations are correct.
  • Taxe Money (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SurfSlade ( 967547 )
    1. Use your Taxe money to develop the Ipod.

    2. Ipod consumer pay taxes on purchases

    3. Apple pay taxes on all money they've made from Ipod

    4. Apple employees pay taxes on their income.

    5. .....

    6. Profits !
  • -1: Troll (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MythMoth ( 73648 ) on Saturday April 22, 2006 @05:38AM (#15179711) Homepage
    He didn't say "we invented the iPod". He didn't say "We invented MP3".

    What he did say, according to the article, was: "the government funded research in microdrive storage, electrochemistry and signal compression. They did so for one reason: It turned out that those were the key ingredients for the development of the iPod."

    I don't think there's anything outrageous or untrue in there. And it's so short an excerpt that it's impossible to say what the overall tone of the speech was. Quite possibly this was taken out of context.

    So an obviously partisan article and an inept Slashdot summary. Don't bother to read TFA.

    Since this will obviously raise the spectre of the "Al Gore invented the internet" meme, I'd like to take the opportunity to remind people that Robert Kahn and Vincent Cerf (who arguably did invent the internet) have defended Gore's actual statement, with the observation that: "No other elected official, to our knowledge, has made a greater contribution over a longer period of time."
  • From TFA:
    "The government funded research in microdrive storage, electrochemistry and signal compression. They did so for one reason: It turned out that those were the key ingredients for the development of the iPod."
    So he's only claiming the funding of research for ingredients that would eventually be used in the iPod. He's not claiming that they have developed the iPod. Sounds like press hype to me.
  • George W. Bush "invented" the iPod, and Al Gore "invented" the internet (and the Algorithm). Seems like I can't trust either side of politics at the moment!
  • by riptide_dot ( 759229 ) * on Saturday April 22, 2006 @05:52AM (#15179738)
    Bush had to have said this to get a laugh. If he pulled it off and got a laugh, I'm honestly surprised. Not because I don't think it is funny - it is. I'm just really surprised to hear something so witty from the man that gave us these gems:

    "Those who enter the country illegally violate the law." --George W. Bush, Tucson, Ariz., Nov. 28, 2005

    "Wow! Brazil is big." --George W. Bush, after being shown a map of Brazil by Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Brasilia, Brazil, Nov. 6, 2005

    "It's in our country's interests to find those who would do harm to us and get them out of harm's way." --George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., April 28, 2005

    "I can only speak to myself." --George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., April 28, 2005
    • As said above by several people, I think what he intended to say was that there was research done into these areas for one purpose (probably military uses), but later turned out that this research was vital in the design of the iPod.

      Funny how much difference leaving out one minor clause of a sentence makes.
    • He was re-elected. So say of George W. Bush what you like but if he is a moron what the hell does that make the majority of americans who elected him. (Well majority of voting americans anyway).

      Remember the old saying, in the land of the blind, one-eye is king. Now in what kind of land could a certified idiot be president.

      I think you know the answer.

      Not that the rest of the world is any better.

    • The man with the sig - "I was in the park the other day wondering why frisbees get bigger and bigger the closer they get - and then it hit me." - doesn't see the humor in "Wow! Brazil is big"... I question your neutrality.
  • by strider44 ( 650833 ) on Saturday April 22, 2006 @05:56AM (#15179749)
    Lets see if I get this right...

    - * <-- joke
    - o
    -\|/ <-- you
    -/ \
  • by saiha ( 665337 ) on Saturday April 22, 2006 @06:34AM (#15179808)
    Myth: Bush is an idiot.
    Fact: Bush optimized the original MP3 codec and worked with top engineers to create the ipod.
  • ...robotic lapdog party leaders; programmed to obey their owner...
  • Bush : Beach Boys, Beatles, let's see, Alan Jackson, Alan Jackson, Alejandro, Alison Krauss, the Angels, the Archies, Aretha Franklin, the Beatles, Dan McLean. Remember him? Hume: Don McLean. Bush: I mean, Don McLean. Hume: Does "American Pie," right? Bush: Great song. Hume: Yes, yes, great song. Unidentified male: . . . which ones do you play? Bush: All of these. I put it on shuffle. Dwight Yoakam. I've got the Shuffle, the, what is it called? The little. Hume: Shuffle. Bush: It looks like. Hume:
  • The government, or more specifically your tax dollars, have developed all kinds of stuff that gets comandeered by business. Good example: Celera. They took a whole shitload of taxpayer funded data in regards to cracking the human genome and built on top of it.

    Celera needs to give some credit where credit is due as does Apple. As far as Apple being "innovative" I have been enjoying watching and recording video on my 80 Gig Archos PVR for well over a year now. Apple is only successful because they discover
  • Actually (Score:4, Insightful)

    by stunt_penguin ( 906223 ) on Saturday April 22, 2006 @07:59AM (#15179952)
    he should have been bragging about helping develop the Creative Nomad and Jukebox players that were among the first HD based portable mp3 players- there are a few earlier players, as I'm sure I'll now be told, but the Nomad was one of the first really popular ones. Of course Pinnochio doesn't know the difference, and I suspect that history will see itself rewritten to show that the iPod was the first HD based mp3 player on the market, but Creative were there first.

    Now, Apple did an astoundingly good Job(s) in taking the existing clunky models and making a sleek, user friendly player out of more-or-less existing technologies, but by no means were they the inventors of the portable mp3 player.

  • by zerblat ( 785 )
    The US military could never have developed such advanced technology on its own. It's pretty obvious that the Ipod is alien technology planted by alien infiltrators. It's purpose? To damage our hearing so we won't hear when the full-scale invasion comes!

    At least, that's my theory.

  • Don't forget (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cvalente ( 955264 )
    The Swedish mathematician who proved a convergence theorem for Fourier series.

    without him there would be no IPOD. :p

    That is, according to the article in 7/0548252 []
  • Al Gore must be fuming over this statement. It think he thinks he invented the iPod when he was dreaming up the Internet.
  • Well, it' good for rightwingers like Bush to acknowledge the importance of government funding of research; in their free market fervor, right wing ideologues often forget that there is something called a "public good" (that's a technical term--look it up before you comment).

    As for the iPod, Apple "invented" it in the sense of design and marketing. Almost all of Apple's underlying technology comes from elsewhere; Apple is "innovative" only in the sense of defining new product categories, not in terms of tec
  • by Bob Cat - NYMPHS ( 313647 ) on Saturday April 22, 2006 @08:54AM (#15180055) Homepage 060419-5.html []

    I suppose it's too much to ask that slashdotters actually read it. But I can always hope.
  • by quickdot443 ( 970023 ) on Saturday April 22, 2006 @08:58AM (#15180067)
    I think this is what Bush was trying to put into words. ges/mp3-technologies.gif []

    This graphic explains what Bush is talking about. Many of the components in the iPod were made possible because of basic research funded by the federal government. Much of this basic research was done at government labs, universities, and within companies with funding from the Pentagon, Department of Energy's Office of Science, National Science Foundation, etc. Hosts of other individuals and companies developed that basic research into components, but the initial funding and reseach was supported by the U.S. government.

    Smaller hard drives, codecs, file compression, etc. are build on the foundation of basic reseach - much of it made possible by initial U.S. funding.
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Saturday April 22, 2006 @09:39AM (#15180183)
    Now, I'm not a fan of him. But this is a prime example of what happens when you rip a few words out of context and twist them long enough to make the speaker look silly. Same with Gore and his "invention of the internet". He never said that, his words were, if I remember right, that he had the foresight to fund what became the first "browser" and thus helped to give the "net to the masses".

    Imagine what could've happened about 50 years ago when JFK was standing in Berlin, giving his impressive and memorable speech that had its climax in the immortal words "Ich bin ein Berliner". The whole text around it was, IIRC, "Two thousand years ago the proudest boast was "Civis Romanus sum". Today the proudest boast is "Ich bin ein Berliner"."

    In context, a speech to boost morale and faith in a town surrounded by communist GDR. Out of context, he pretty much said "I'm a donut".
  • No (Score:3, Informative)

    by xihr ( 556141 ) on Saturday April 22, 2006 @07:46PM (#15182428) Homepage

    No, that's not what the article says. It says that the government researched key technologies which made the creation iPod (among other things) possible. That's not the same thing as claiming that they developed the iPod, except for fools with an agenda to push.

    P.S. Can no one on Slashdot spell the word cue properly?

Did you hear that two rabbits escaped from the zoo and so far they have only recaptured 116 of them?