I recently discovered a little util named kblticker. It is a tray-icon application for KDE. Basically what it does, is it contacts BlogLines every x minutes, and checks to see whether or not I have any unread posts on the blogs I am subscribed to.
This is all good and nice, however I would have liked a feature that would have enabled me to override the x minutes interval-check, and verify the status of my subscriptions immediately. I wrote the author, who told me it was a great idea, and he, himself, would like such a feature as well - but unfortunately he was leaving for vacation - but he promised me to add on return... Since the program is open-source, I had access to the complete source code, and after a few changed source files, I could recompile the program with "Poll Now" functionality. Yay ! Even trying to imagine such an operation on a Microsoft application (or other closed-source project) already gives me a headache..