When I was living in China, I used Tor daily to circumvent the great firewall. Back when the Tor bundle was using Firefox < 15, it has some bad memory leaks, but Mozilla has done a great job of fixing those. Chrome has turned into the memory hog. Chrome 2x memory usage has gotten so bad, I’m actually thinking about finding an old full install of a 0x or 1x for my laptop.
As far as it being slow to load sites, there will always be a high latency when using Tor. It’s the nature of onion routing. If Tor becomes more popular, I’m hoping there will be a way to donate to high bandwidth exit nodes to keep the network performance up.
My experience is probably not typical (I move around a lot and rarely go to the same Starbucks more than a few times) but I'm only about 70% sure that any given Starbucks will have a connection at all. So I only go in if it's really convenient or I have no other options. That's to say nothing of the speed or reliability - both of which are typically mediocre to terrible.
If I knew with certainty that every Starbucks had a fast and reliable connection, I'd probably patronize them 50-100% more than I currently do. Hell, I'd be on my way out of this hotel in search of a Starbucks right now if I knew that!
>>Ryan's resume intimidates small children and household pets. After co-founding Google App Engine with Kevin, Jon, and Bret, Ryan boarded his hot air balloon and ascended to low earth orbit. He then won a Nobel peace prize, seven Olympic medals (all bronze), three Oscars, and the jackpot at Caesar's Palace. Since landing, he's cured cancer, penned the sequel to Ulysses, and achieved nirvana. That was on Tuesday.
They've evidently already raised $15 million as well. This should be really interesting.