What One Tech Innovation Would You Miss in Prison? [You Told Us]

Dave Parrack 24-01-2013

What One Tech Innovation Would You Miss in Prison? [You Told Us] You Told UsNo one actively wants to go to prison, and those of us who are law-abiding citizens do our utmost to stay away from them. However, it’s an interesting exercise to imagine yourself locked up away from the rest of society, and imagine what you’d miss the most. Friends and family would top the list for most people, but after that it comes down to what you derive pleasure from.


For many people technology is a source of entertainment. Whether it be video games, the Web, television, movies, or widespread communication with others. It all relies on technological innovation on some level. In light of the experiences of Michael Santos, an ex-prisoner who took to Quora to detail his story, we wanted to know how you’d cope in a jail cell.

The Results

We asked you, What One Tech Innovation Would You Miss In Prison? The response was fantastic, with dozens of people thinking long and hard about the question and giving well-reasoned responses detailing the piece of tech they’d personally miss the most.

What One Tech Innovation Would You Miss in Prison? [You Told Us] alcatraz prison cell

The responses included such diverse technological innovations as batteries (and/or electricity), a PMP, a laptop, GPS, a kettle, and a Kindle. However, two particular things were mentioned more than those…

Smartphone: Mobile phones have evolved from being massive bricks to humble communication devices to mini computers in a short space of time. They can now do the same things as numerous single-uses devices, to the point that their use as actual phones isn’t even dominant at this stage.


Internet: It’s only a couple of decades old but the Internet The Internet & The World Wide Web Are Not the Same Thing [MakeUseOf Explains] The two terms "Internet" and "World Wide Web" have been used interchangeably ever since the Internet itself became a household "utility" as common as electricity or cable TV. People talk about "surfing the web" and... Read More has had a huge impact on the lives of anyone who is connected to it. The Web plays a big part in the lives of many of us, to the point that if the ability to access it was taken away we’d feel somewhat lost.

The strange thing here is that neither is really any good without the other. A smartphone is useless without an Internet connection, and the Internet is only a concept without a device to access it on. Should we conclude that an “Internet-connected smartphone” is the majority choice?

Comment Of The Week

We had great input from the likes of druv vb, Alan Wade, and Caroline West, to name just a few. Comment Of The Week goes to Humza Aamir, who receives the respect of myself and hopefully everybody reading this:

Wow, a book could be written on what Micheal felt when he was released. It really is mind boggling when progress in technology is to be observed over the past two decades or so. The only thing that differs most of us from Micheal is his unawareness to all this change.

To him, we may just be tapping our touch screens and sharing cat videos, but our jaws drop too as soon as a new gadget arrives and renders the previous one completely pointless.

And if by any unfortunate event, I happened to be in prison, I’d feel a bit mad and crazy without my WiFi enabled 3G smartphone for the first few weeks, then things would probably smooth out as I wont be gazing at screens anymore. I might even accept the nasty food and routine which criminals have to endure for the all the poker games and fun I’d be having (*This just comes from Hollywood movies*)

Finally, if I came to find out my time in jail was supposed to be for a couple of years; After the first one, I would have concluded that the tech obsessed world out there is where the people are prisoners and captives and that this prison has more freedom and enjoyment that gradually eroded my addiction for techy stuff.

This comment was chosen because it initially answers the question but then turns that question on its head. Humza would miss his smartphone, but after a while that would fade to the point that his reliance on technology, and need to own the latest and greatest gadgets, would come to an end. Whether we’re all too obsessed with innovation is a debate for another day, but it’s certainly a distinct possibility.


We will be asking a new question tomorrow, so please join us then. We Ask You is a weekly column dedicated to finding out the opinions of MakeUseOf readers. We ask you a question and you tell us what you think. The question is open-ended and is usually open to debate. Some questions will be purely opinion-based, while others will see you sharing tips and advice, or advocating tools and apps for your fellow MakeUseOf readers. This column is nothing without your input, all of which is valued.

Image Credit: miss_millions

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  1. Humza Aamir
    January 25, 2013 at 7:34 am

    Thankyou Dave and the MakeUseOf Team, I'm humbled by your words.

    • Dave Parrack
      January 25, 2013 at 1:05 pm

      You're welcome. Enjoy spending the points :)

  2. Rubis Song
    January 24, 2013 at 7:44 am

    I like the best comment you choose. it really deserve it!