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Firefox and youtube playback
#1
I spent some time playing with different browsers and exploring youtube playback options, and in this post I list my findings. Although Chromium is quicker than Firefox on the Pinebook - especially if you put in time to do some modifications - to my knowledge, it lacks a good plugin for easy playback of youtube (and other) videos using external player. I looked all over, read countless threads, but found just one plugin utility for chromium that kinda-sorta works.  However, it requires a lot of setup and is not a simple click-and-play solution because it requires you to have VLC launched in the background as well as a VLC server running at localhost:8080. I generally found it quite unreliable. 

So I moved onto Firefox. For starters, I did some tweaking to improve Firefox performance from terrible - to usable. Some things can be tweaked from the settings panel while others have to be enabled from a hidden options list. The very basics can be found in Preferences -> Advanced and:
In general: disable Smooth Scrolling
In Data Choices: disable Firefox Health Report

For the more advanced tweaks one needs to enter about:config in the URL bar. There is a search bar at the top so you can look for the settings I list below.

For starters you may want to make sure to prevent pinch-to-zoom behaviour by setting:
zoom.maxPercent to 100
zoom.minPercent to 100

Then find and set the following:
network.http.pipelining true
Network.http.proxy.pipelining true
network.http.pipelining.maxrequests 8

Its also worth adding the following integers by right clicking anywhere on the about:config page, selecting New -> integer:

content.notify.interval 500000
browser.cache.memory.capacity 65536

Lastly, similarly to Chromium, it’s a good idea to move cache to ram by setting the following:
Browser.cache.disk.enable false
Browser.cache.memory.enable true
Browser.cache.memory.capacity  -1

The last variable can be tweaked; value of 100000 = 100mb RAM. The -1 value, as I understand it, refers to dynamic allocation of RAM usage. I don't know what the optimal setting for this ought to be.  Also, you can find out more about how much ram is used and other options by entering about:cache in the browser bar. 

Now that faster Firefox performance is improved (subjectively, when running off of eMMC, it’s on par with Chromium in Mate DE) we can move onto enabling playback via VLC player.

The plugin needed to achieve this is called VLC Youtube Shortcut. Extensive instructions are not needed for getting this to work - after installing the plugin, you will be able to just right click the youtube (or other) video in Firefox and select Play Video from link from the drop-down menu

To get good playback in VLC some tinkering is needed … but that is a topic for a different post.

Enjoy.
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#2
Thanks for writing this up, going to try now...
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#3
Great :Smile I also suggest trying these out: 

layout.frame_rate.precise false
privacy.trackingprotection.enabled true
image.mem.max_decoded_image_kb 51200
javascript.options.mem.high_water_mark 30

They help the performance even further but one or more contribute to more frequent crashes.
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