If you're just looking to get your feet wet in the pool of connecting to the Internet through a public hotspot, it's worth noting that Starbucks provides a promotional one-day pass that gives you a free day of Wi-Fi access using a special promotional code, as explained in special brochures available in each store. Other Wi-Fi vendors often provide comparable introductory offers.
As I've noted, there is an increasing movement on the part of retailers to provide free wireless networking—in part to drive traffic and in part as a matter of philosophy. I'm all in favor of this movement, as I really like getting my connectivity free.
However, it is still the case that a great deal of the time, as the saying goes, there is no ...