Building Smart for Stronger Communities

The Keys to the Valley project hosts a (Zoom) event to talk about Building Smart for Stronger Communities today at noon. You can still register for the session at https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJAkc-2qrzktEtVY3rtgsh2fPeiI2pzUn05Y or sign up for their other events from their home page.

I plan to attend all the sessions. I hope to see you there!


Feel free to share this post on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or email by clicking one of the icons below. Any opinions expressed here are solely my own, and not those of any public bodies, such as the Lyme Planning Board or the Lyme Community Development Committee, where I am/have been a member. I would be very interested to hear your thoughts – you can reach me at richb.lyme@gmail.com.

Best Bufferbloat Analogy – Ever

My friends frequently ask, “Why is my network so slow?” And often, the answer is “latency” or the screwy term, “Bufferbloat” – the “undesirable latency caused when a router buffers too much data.” But what the heck does that mean?

A while back, I attempted a layman’s explanation of Bufferbloat. I compared it to a ski shop. It was pretty unsuccessful: it just didn’t have any intuitive appeal.

That’s why I was delighted that Waveform.com published what I believe is the Best Bufferbloat Analogy – Ever. (I am pleased to have contributed to the final version of their description.) That page also has a well-designed web-based Bufferbloat Tester (on a par with the DSLReports Speed Test).

They asked, Can you explain bufferbloat like I’m five? and noted that flows of liquids were sort of like flows of packets. The analogy was when a friend dumps a bucket of water into a sink with a narrow drain, it slows other flows (like a teaspoon of oil) from emptying out. Read the whole description…

This made me think about having a SmartSink™ to give a visual image for understanding how a well-designed router can decrease latency.

What’s a SmartSink™?

Instead of accepting a full bucket of water all at once, a SmartSink controls the bucket of water with a valve. It allows just enough water into the sink to keep the drain full. If the water gets too low, the SmartSink opens the valve: if it gets “too full”, it closes it a bit.

A SmartSink also works when lots of friends have their own buckets, pouring in colored water – pink, blue, etc. The valves on the SmartSink control each color. If the SmartSink notices too much pink water, it closes that valve a bit to bring back balance, so that each color gets its “fair share” of the drain’s capacity. And because there’s never too much water (of any color) in the sink, a small new flow always drains quickly.

Reality check: This is just an analogy. I realize that a SmartSink is a ridiculous idea. But it helps me visualize how small flows can drain quickly while big flows share the drain capacity fairly.

What does this have to do with routers?

The Smart Queue Management (SQM) algorithm in a router works like the SmartSink. When a device starts sending a lot of data (maybe a phone starts uploading photos to the cloud), SQM controls the amount of data queued for each flow (each separate upload, videoconference, voice call, gaming session, Youtube, Bittorrent, etc) to prevent any one flow from using more than its share. Instead of operating valves to control the flow of water, SQM controls the size of each flow’s queue by:

  1. Placing packets from each flow into a separate queue.
  2. Removing a small batch of packets from each queue, round-robin style, and sending that batch “out the drain” through the (slow) bottleneck link to the ISP. When each batch has been fully sent, it retrieves another batch from the next queue, and so on.
  3. Offering back pressure to flows that are sending “more than their share” of data.

This process provides these desirable effects:

  • Most importantly, SQM provides low latency. Small flows (with just one or a few small packets) get sent right away in their next “round robin” batch.
  • Equal sharing of the bottleneck: If there are multiple senders, each can send an equal amount of data with each round-robin opportunity.
  • No waste of the bottleneck: If there’s only one sender (one queue with data), that one gets the full capacity of the link.
  • Offering backpressure to bulk senders minimizes lost packets and re-transmissions, making the network globally more efficient.

Does SQM work?

YES! Can I get a router with SQM today? YES!

Got questions? Send them to me and I’ll include them in Part 2 (coming soon) of this blog. Thanks.

 

Planning Board Election Results-2021

First off, I want to thank everyone for their support of my run for a Planning Board seat. This morning, I sent a note of congratulations to John Stadler on the election.

As the Planning Board works through their promises for action on housing, may I call on you for help to provide public input for their process?

Best regards,

Rich Brown
795-2525
www.richb-lyme.com


Feel free to share this post on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or email by clicking one of the icons below. Any opinions expressed here are solely my own, and not those of any public bodies, such as the Lyme Planning Board or the Lyme Community Development Committee, where I am/have been a member. I would be very interested to hear your thoughts – you can reach me at richb.lyme@gmail.com.

Note for the Lyme Town Candidate’s Page

I have asked to have the following message to be posted on the Lyme Town Website page for candidate statements

Looking for my thoughts on the Senior Housing amendment? See my previous post

Position on Planning Board: Rich Brown

My name is Rich Brown, and I am running for Planning Board. I moved with my wife (Lin Brown, a rheumatologist at DHMC) to Lyme six years ago, having lived for over forty years in the Upper Valley. In my time in Lyme, I have been involved with Those Guys, as an alternate on the Planning Board, as a local business owner (Loch Lyme Lodge), as a manager for LymeFiber, and for fun, I’m a beekeeper and The Juggler Man!

The Planning Board is the body that writes the rules for where and how people can build housing in Lyme. As part of educating myself about the issues, I have attended national, state, and local housing conferences. I have learned:

  • Housing is expensive: modestly-priced homes are scarce
  • Restrictive zoning rules are a major cause of high cost and limited supply
  • To downsize, or simply to live more lightly on the land, people usually must look outside Lyme

I feel a sense of urgency about our housing problems in Lyme. In 2016, the informal “Aging in Place” group proved the need for senior housing. Regrettably, it has taken the Planning Board five years to bring forward a Senior Housing amendment. The Board envisions another year of study before considering whether to expand it to other parts of town. This is not solving problems for Lyme.

I feel the same urgency for other kinds of housing. I know of at least five Lyme families who are seeking smaller homes who probably will not be able to remain in town. This Board has consistently voted against at multiple proposals over the years that could have been helpful to these families.

If elected, I will advocate for a variety of housing types to enhance the community and to live up to the Master Plan’s recommendation to “… allow a diversity of housing types suitable for people in a broad range of economic circumstances.”

I would appreciate your vote for the Planning Board position. You can read more at www.richb-lyme.com or contact me at richb.lyme@gmail.com Thank you.


Feel free to share this post on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or email by clicking one of the icons below. Any opinions expressed here are solely my own, and not those of any public bodies, such as the Lyme Planning Board or the Lyme Community Development Committee, where I am/have been a member. I would be very interested to hear your thoughts – you can reach me at richb.lyme@gmail.com.

What about Senior Housing – Article 2?

Despite its flaws, I had initially considered supporting the Senior Housing amendment. But when I thought about what would be required to make amendment into a workable proposal, it was clear the current language is simply a bad starting point.

I have already detailed the problems with its age restrictions, location, and the poison pill. Those could be fixed.

But the Board’s focus on the Lyme Common District meant that any development was constrained to “fit into the neighborhood” and not be “too big”. Specifically:

  • The footprint and floor area restrictions mean that common areas, such as dining and living rooms, libraries, space for support staff, etc. all take floor space away from the (already small) homes.
  • Only 10 units are allowed, which translates to expensive units. The cost of land purchase, infrastructure (septic, water), utilities, common areas, and developer profit (yes – a developer will want to make money) must be spread across a small number of homes, increasing their price.
  • The language contains other provisions that deter a developer who might want to develop senior housing.
  • Despite the desire to limit the total footprint, the permitted structures (up to 12,000 sf) are a lawsuit waiting to happen. Would neighbors object to such a large building? Quite possibly. And developers avoid towns where lawsuits are likely.
That’s why I recommend we vote down Article 2, and ask the Planning Board to come up with a proposal that will actually give someone the incentive to build Senior Housing.


Feel free to share this post on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or email by clicking one of the icons below. Any opinions expressed here are solely my own, and not those of any public bodies, such as the Lyme Planning Board or the Lyme Community Development Committee, where I am/have been a member. I would be very interested to hear your thoughts – you can reach me at richb.lyme@gmail.com.

Running for Planning Board

Dear Lyme Neighbor,

I have filed to become a candidate for Planning Board. As you probably know, the Planning Board sets the rules (through the zoning ordinance) for where and what kind of housing can be built in town.

In my six years in Lyme, my 15 years of working for housing options, and from attending national, state, and local conferences, I have learned:

  • Housing remains expensive. Reasonably-priced units are scarce
  • Long-time residents end up looking outside Lyme if they want a smaller place – to downsize or simply to live lighter on the planet
  • Restrictive zoning rules are a major cause of high cost and limited supply

Regrettably, the issues today are the same as in my previous campaign. You can read what I wrote last year at https://randomneuronsfiring.com/why-im-running-for-planning-board/

The Planning Board has spent the past year arguing for the limitations of the senior housing amendment that they had produced – and pulled from consideration – before last year’s town meeting. None of the public comments were incorporated – to permit senior housing in other parts of town or to lower the age requirement. It remains a restrictive plan for expensive senior apartments in a limited district.

If elected, I will advocate for a variety of housing options that meet the needs of Lyme residents. If these issues are important to you, please vote for me on the paper ballot (absentee ballots are available now!) or in-person on Tuesday, March 9. Thank you!

Rich Brown

Where can you learn more? Visit my blog at www.richb-lyme.com, e-mail me at richb.lyme@gmail.com or call me: 795-2525. I’d love to chat!


Feel free to share this post on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or email by clicking one of the icons below. Any opinions expressed here are solely my own, and not those of any public bodies, such as the Lyme Planning Board or the Lyme Community Development Committee, where I am/have been a member. I would be very interested to hear your thoughts – you can reach me at richb.lyme@gmail.com.

Statement for Senior Housing Public Hearing-14Jan2021

I read the following statement at today’s Planning Board’s Public Hearing on the Senior Housing amendment.

I thank the Board for their two years of work on the article to permit increased density for Senior Housing. My biggest concern about the current proposal, as written, is that no Senior Housing will actually get built as a result of passing this article.

First: Senior Housing would only be allowed in the most expensive land in town. The increased density is not sufficient to encourage a developer to make the necessary investment in purchasing the land, getting approvals, and building the units. This area is also heavily built-up: new housing would likely come at the expense of existing homes. Solution: Permit Senior Housing in other parts of town.

Second: Limiting all residents to be 62 years or older unduly precludes many common living arrangements for seniors (for example, one spouse older than 62, the other younger, or an adult child moving in to help a parent). Solution: Adopt the federal HOPA (Housing for Older Persons Act) standard that requires at least one household member to be 55 years or older.

Third: This proposal contains language (a “poison pill”) that nullifies the Senior Housing article if the State of NH passes a law that requires the same increased density for non-seniors. I don’t understand why we should jettison Senior Housing if the state requires us to support increased density for people of all ages. Solution: Drop the poison pill.

This meeting is the last moment for public input before the language becomes final for the vote at Town Meeting. I encourage the Board to incorporate this feedback into the final wording of the article. Thank you.


Feel free to share this post on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or email by clicking one of the icons below. Any opinions expressed here are solely my own, and not those of any public bodies, such as the Lyme Planning Board or the Lyme Community Development Committee, where I am/have been a member. I would be very interested to hear your thoughts – you can reach me at richb.lyme@gmail.com.

Public Hearing for Senior Housing amendment

This Thursday (Jan 14), the Planning Board will hold a Public Hearing for a proposed Senior Housing amendment to be voted at Town Meeting in March.

Update – February 2021: I have changed my mind. The Planning Board’s refusal to consider any changes from the public, and the inherent flaws of the proposal lead me to say that it would be better to vote down Article 2 and ask the Board to start again. (I originally had said “Although I feel it is kind of weak tea (the language is very restrictive, which will result in expensive units), I believe this is a small step toward new kinds of housing, and that the town should approve it.” I no longer believe this proposal is a basis for moving forward.)

The amendment would be dramatically improved by permitting Senior Housing elsewhere in town so that a project isn’t burdened with the most expensive land (per acre) in town. For example, both these areas provide less expensive land yet with good access to services:

a) In the Commercial District, near 84 Dartmouth College Highway and Pond View Apartments.

b) On major roads elsewhere in town. Land is less expensive, and larger development can be built back from the road.

The purpose of the Public Hearing is for the Planning Board to present the proposal, explain their intent, and to receive feedback that they can incorporate into the amendment before it goes to Town Meeting in March.

If you have thoughts, please come (virtually) to the meeting this Thursday, January 14 at 7:00pm. The Zoom link is: https://zoom.us/j/6808321113 and the passcode, if needed, is LymePlan.

I hope to see you there. Thanks!

Rich Brown


Feel free to share this post on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or email by clicking one of the icons below. Any opinions expressed here are solely my own, and not those of any public bodies, such as the Lyme Planning Board or the Lyme Community Development Committee, where I am/have been a member. I would be very interested to hear your thoughts – you can reach me at richb.lyme@gmail.com.

Linkblog-8 Nov 2020

A few items from the news:

Workforce Housing Forum The NH Business & Industry Association will sponsor a forum on Workforce Housing this Thursday morning, 12 November at 10:00am. The focus will be on providing housing for workers, to help the economy grow, and to help employers recruit and retain talent. The registration is $25. I’m signed up to attend the video conference and will publish notes here next week. For more information: https://bianhassoc.wliinc23.com/events/2020-BIA-Forum-on-Workforce-Housing-405/details

Housing Forum: Needs, Trends & Opportunities Friday 10am brings another housing forum, this one sponsored by Space on Main in Bradford. Many local groups  plan to bring their voices. To register (no cost) and for more information, please visit: https://thespaceonmain.org/housing

Build Resiliency and Foster Civic Pride UNH Extension published an article about how, even with social distancing, towns can find ways for their residents to gather and build community. https://extension.unh.edu/blog/build-resiliency-foster-civic-pride


Feel free to share this post on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or email by clicking one of the icons below. Any opinions expressed here are solely my own, and not those of any public bodies, such as the Lyme Planning Board or the Lyme Community Development Committee, where I am/have been a member. I would be very interested to hear your thoughts – you can reach me at richb.lyme@gmail.com.

“Outskirts to Downtown” from NHHFA

New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority presents two sessions about land use, taxes, and good planning practices.

Today’s session (29 Oct 2020, 11am) will be looking in detail at three Upper Valley towns: Claremont, Hanover, and Lebanon. Register at https://www.nhhfa.org/event/from-the-outskirts-to-downtown-taxes-land-use-value-in-upper-valley-communities/ The session will be recorded, so you can go back to that page to view it in a day or two.

The previous session was held on 15 October 2020. The recording and presentation slides are now available at: https://www.nhhfa.org/taxes-land-use-value-analysis-by-joe-minicozzi-urban3/

I hope that you can find the time review one or both of these sessions – their presentations are always valuable.


Feel free to share this post on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or email by clicking one of the icons below. Any opinions expressed here are solely my own, and not those of any public bodies, such as the Lyme Planning Board or the Lyme Community Development Committee, where I am/have been a member. I would be very interested to hear your thoughts – you can reach me at richb.lyme@gmail.com.