Got an account yet? If not, see Kevin. But don't feel bad if you're still trying to get invited... it won't change your life or make you a better person, regardless of what the "haves" tell you. Believe me, if the perfect pair of red shoes can't do it, nothing will. :) And with the public release (which isn't too far since everyone and their cat has like 12 invites these days), this silliness will all be web history.
That said, Gmail is nifty and there are a lot of ways to make it work better for you. Here are a few free options:
1. Pop Goes the Gmail - Route Gmail through your favorite POP3 client
2. G-Tray - Getting tired of logging in over and over? Add a systray notification app and log in automatically when you've got new msgs
3. GML- Import days, months, or years of email archives into Gmail- multiple clients and OS's supported
4. G-Mailto- Make mailto: links auto-open in Gmail.
More to come as I find 'em.....