As more and more friends are setting up their own blog sites, I found it a bit overwhelming to check for updates everyday.
MSN messenger has a good feature for its MSN Spaces, which put a star right in front of the name in the contact list, indicating that person has an updated blog entry. However, it only works for MSN Spaces users.
An alternate way I found is to use the RSS feed for the blog sites. If you are using Firefox(if not, try it and you’ll love it), you can install an extension called Sage: RSS Reader. Basically Sage can maintain a list of RSS feeds from your friends’ blogs, and check for updates with a single click. In order to find RSS feed on any site, you can simply use the “Discover Feed” button to search the current page.
The dafault CSS style sheet for Sage is not that great, but you can always design your own. I modified a copy of geckozone css stylesheet. You can download it here and change the option in Sage in order to use it.
Update on 9/13/2005:
Oh, forgot to say, Opera 8 has Newsfeed feature built-in, which works pretty much like the Safari browser in Mac OS X Tiger. When you visit a site with RSS feed links, a small RSS icon will show up in the address bar. By clicking that icon, you can subscribe to that feed. Or you can manually enter the feed link by managing the newsfeed. The update is by default set to be every 3 hours (but i like the DIY click and update feature in Sage for Firefox, though). The only problem with Opera newsfeed is that you cannot specify your own CSS stylesheet like Sage does.