It's even funnier in Tullys where all you have to do is agree to the terms and conditions, but have to do it before you can proceed (but it's worth it for the Yerba Mate!)
But my frustration is now ended thanks to Devicescape.
All you have to do is set up your profile on their site and download their app to your PC or device (works for me fine on both Vista and my K-Jam) and then when you encounter a defined hotspot as if by magic it does all the login nonsense for you and you're up and running without having to think about it.
I've only been using it for a couple of weeks, but I was in the UK last week and used a hotspot that I'd not defined (annoyingly it was the UK branded T-mobile who don't seem to roam well with their US compatriots) and I found it quite frustrating to reconnect my phone there.
Places that charge by the hour and give you a code you have to enter to enable access (and keep a "ping" window open to confirm connection) are still a nuisance but as the roaming across hotspots improves I'm hoping one day to be able to go anywhere in the world and not have to think about connecting but just enjoy ubiquitous connectivity with services like Devicescape performing magic in the background.