I’ve been testing to see which feed readers support authentication sufficiently to enable you to log in to LJ somehow and hence see LiveJournal protected posts in your web feed reader.
Do work, by prior login: Sage. Akregator. Opera*. Safari*.
Do work, by modifying URL: Mozilla Thunderbird.
Do not work: Google Reader. Bloglines.
Other people report that they work: FeedDemon. NetNewsWire.
*Not tested, but I’m pretty sure they do because the feed reader code is part of the web browser.
In all cases, the basic feed URL is http://users.livejournal.com/sucker/data/atom where sucker is the LJ user ID.
To modify the URL for applications like Thunderbird, place ?auth=digest at the end of the URL; for example http://users.livejournal.com/sucker/data/atom?auth=digest The feed reader software should then ask you for a login name and password of your LJ account, in order to access the feed.
For feed readers that work with prior login, you go to www.livejournal.com in the appropriate browser and log in. The feed reader then picks up protected entries next time it refreshes.
Trying out feed readers
There are tools to export your LJ friends list to OPML. You can then import the OPML into a feed reader, and try out the equivalent of your friends page to see how it looks.
If you’re technically inclined, you can use the LiveJournal authentication proxy. Or if you trust some random guy with your LJ password, because after all you’re only using it to gain access to read stuff, then you can use the hosted version he provides.
This is the approach I’m going to take, as I’m too addicted to reading web feeds on my BlackBerry. So if you’re in the habit of posting friends-locked stuff on LiveJournal, and plan to continue to use LiveJournal, please add _ljsucks as a friend.