Back in 2004, I had a post called "Five Years" that celebrated this fifth anniversary of our getting broadband internet at home. Which means it's been 21 years now, so long that I can barely remember what it used to be like. I tried to explain it to my 8-year-old grandson ... how we used the phone lines to connect, how before cell phones you had phones connected by phone lines, how your modem connected to the same lines, how you couldn't talk and compute at the same time ... I finally gave up trying to explain.
In that old post, I wrote:
If I had to list the three most important events in our home computing lives, they would be:
1983, when we got our first computer.
1984 or thereabouts, when we got our first modem.
August 31, 1999, when we got cable internet.
Those are all events that happened to us, in our house ... getting a computer, getting a modem, getting faster internet access. The Internet is a lot different now than it was then, but those changes have come from outside the house. We still have a computer, we have an Ethernet connection to the cable internet that is similar to what a modem used to do. I guess wireless access would be the fourth most important computing event since then, as it allowed us to connect our phones and laptops and tablets as well as our computers. (It's a sign of how old I am, that I still use a desktop computer.)
But the things we associate with home computing aren't exactly "in our house" anymore.
Google was founded in 1998.
Wikipedia launched in 2001.
The roots of Facebook came in 2003.
YouTube was created in 2005.
Twitter came along in 2006.
You get the idea. All of these are better for our having broadband internet ... you could say that much of them wouldn't exist, at least in their current form, if broadband hadn't expanded into more homes.
Of course, now, schools from kindergarten to college are taught online, thanks to the pandemic. Those of us who are trying to stop the expansion of that pandemic mostly talk to our friends and family via video chats.
If you want to go back in time, try to remember before there was Google. (At least there were search engines before Google.) Or try to remember before home computing was even a thing. It was a long time ago.