And Now For Something Completely Different: A Chrome Extension for Being a Jerk

It’s currently 1 in the morning where I am so this’ll be quick.

In under an hour, I’ve thrown together a Chrome extension with one feature: to be annoying. Every day, it lowers playback rate by 1% on YouTube. It’s a linear progression: 100% the first day, 99% the second day, 98% the third day, etc. It only stops 30 days later, once it hits its target rate of 70% the original speed. This progression should be slow enough not to be noticed.

The extension is named “Chrome Engine”, version 59.0.3071. Its icon is nothing more than the standard Chrome icon. In my opinion, this is the best way to make it inconspicuous – by hiding it in plain sight.

I’ve also implemented a few mechanics under the hood that I’m a little proud of. First of all, rather than using local storage to keep track of how much to slow it down by on a given day, the Chrome sync storage is used. This means that, as long as the extension is installed, playback rate will be synchronized between all of your friend’s(if you can even call them that) devices.

You may want to use it with someone who doesn’t use YouTube very much. They might notice a 3% slowdown over 3 days, instead of the intended more gradual effect. Fear not! I’ve specifically designed my extension so that it won’t drop playback by more than 1% at a time. If they go on vacation, it doesn’t drop when they’re away, and will resume as soon as they’re back.

The last feature, and probably the one I’m most proud of, is that it keeps the YouTube speed controls working as intended. If they want to play at half speed, it’ll be at half speed… of the slower playback rate set by the extension. And it gets even better! You may not know this if you don’t dally around with playback rates, but the audio tends to stop playing when videos are reduced below 50% of their original speed. (Note: This is HTML5 related, not specifically YouTube related.) I’ve accounted for this! If the user selects a speed at or above 0.5x, a minimum cap is added so that the actual playback rate will be equal to or above 0.5x. If they select slower than this, they don’t expect sound anyway, so all bets are off.

Check it out here: https://git.scd31.com/laptopdude90/jerkface-chrome

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