As long as I had been using RSS feeds, I had been doing the default where after you click the little orange sound wave looking icon up in the address bar you get a preview of the feed and you click Subscribe Now (at that point, you get a dialog asking where in your bookmarks you want to put the bookmark for the feed). For over a year I had seen the “Always use Live Bookmarks to subscribe to feeds” check box; but even though I always use Live bookmarks to subscribe to feeds, I didn’t check the box, because I wasn’t sure how to undo the action.
One day, though, I decided to check the box. This made it so I no longer see the preview screen but go straight to the little where-do-you-want-to-store-this-bookmark dialog. I didn’t like that, but I couldn’t figure out how to change it back (I looked through all the tabs in Tools -> Options, but didn’t see anything that looked related, even in Advanced), so I’ve been without the feed preview for a matter of months now.
It occurs to me as I write that everyone else would have just Googled it right away. I am slow to do that sometimes — it seems like a kind of user interface failure if I can’t find the answer simply by looking around in likely places in the application. I wonder how many people leave info dialogs popping up for years despite the little checkbox they could have unchecke d that says “show this alert next time”? I think I read something a while back that suggested the answer was somewhere around “a lot”. They don’t know how they would ever get the alert back, and they’d rather click OK several times a day then have it disappear forever. Seems like there’s room for improvement here in our UI designs, huh?
I didn’t find the answer to these larger questions, but I did find the answer to the smaller one. A helpful post to the Firefox support forum pointed me to Tools -> Options -> Applications -> Web Feed to set the option back to the default of Preview in Firefox.
Ah, back to normal!