Well, GMail has been down for hours now, and large parts of the global brain are feeling lobotomized, including me. When I first started using GMail, I set up my mail so the stream went to both GMail and a POP server, so I could still get my mail onto a nice standard local thick client reader. I stopped that after awhile, it was too much work to maintain separate copies. I sure hope nobody's dropped a bomb on Google. Going down is one thing, going down for >4 hours is something else. Oh well, they don't call it a beta for nothing.
There's something to be said for the old-fashioned model, including the ability to read mail in the subway. I use a thick-client RSS reader (the excellent SharpReader) and enjoy its ability to store the stuff I want to read locally.
[update: still down at the normal place, it works if you use the https: version of the service. Wonder how long it's going to take people to figure that out? Took me the better part of a workday.]