As a Chicagoan (who drives, no less), I don't mind the new parking meters. Yes, the rates have gone up. Yes, the city government gave up a lot of revenue by leasing out the meters to a company who raised the rates, rather than having the balls to raise the rates themselves.
But, I can now use bills and credit cards to pay for the meter, which is infinitely more convenient than having to have quarters on hand. The meters themselves track the hours of operation and inform you *up front* about whether you have to pay or not -- if it's 7:30am and the meters don't go into effect until 9:00am, you'll be informed and if you pay anyway, the time you'll buy still starts at 9:00am instead of 7:30am.
However, the biggest thing I like is that I can actually find parking now. Back when parking was $0.25 an hour, you could park your car there all day for $2.50, which is what everyone did. Now that it's (shock) $1.00 an hour, most people just go for the lot. Even downtown, where it's $4.00 an hour, the upside is that I can find a place to park if I need to do some quick shopping.
And for people who complain that the left over time is wasted -- nothing stops you from taking your slip and putting it on/near the parking box for someone else to use if you've got a significant amount of time left on it.