I also try to avoid single-purpose appliances, but I think something that gets used at least 3 or 4 times each week stops being single-purpose, at least in a looser definition of the word. I mean, I have an electric kettle, too, which only ever boils water. But I use it to boil water at least once a day, so at this point, not having it would be kind of like not having a sink or something. For my husband, I think the rice cooker falls into the same category.
Pod. Every Asian person I know either grew up with a rice cooker, has a rice cooker or both. I've had several since the first one I bought for myself back in 1995 (5.5-cup Hitachi from Fedco; I bought the mini version of the one that my parents had); in fact, I think it was the first kitchen appliance I bought for myself when I moved out. I couldn't imagine not having a rice cooker. I remember Alton Brown's stance on single-purpose appliances but, of all the kitchen appliances I have, the rice cooker gets the most use (so I never agreed with him on this particular stance but, I'm thinking, a rice cooker for him does not get nearly the use it does in a lot of Asian households). To me, cooking rice with a rice cooker is like using a crock pot -- I can turn it on and leave the house without having to worry about it being on without supervision. There's no way you could do that safely with something on the stovetop or in the oven (not as far as I know).
I almost never cook white rice these days; DH and I have been eating mostly brown rice for the past 3-4 years. I haven't had to adjust at all for cooking brown rice. The rice cooker has a brown rice button and a white rice button, among others, but it cooks to the consistency I want at white rice (which is good because if it had to cook longer for brown rice, then brown rice would get mushy).
I used to assume this, but I know not everyone knows that, just like with other crops, there are many different rice grains and types. I've read posters talking about making fluffy rice but, if you grew up like I did, you grew up on the glutinous short-grain rice ("fluffy" white rice is often long-grain or, even, some medium-grain, but not short-grain). I'll use different rice types depending on what I am cooking but will still use the rice cooker to cook the rice (if I'm making one type of fried rice, I will go with long grain because it has that drier consistency I need; if I make another type of fried rice, I go with short- or medium-grain because it conveys the flavor and mouth-feel I am seeking). I used to not like straight brown short- or medium-grain rice and would mix it with white short- or medium-grain rice to get the healthier benefit of brown with a bit of the taste and consistency of the white (actually, I used to mix four rice and grain types in equal ratios -- short-grain white, medium-grain white, short-grain brown, medium-grain brown). Nowadays, I go with a 2:5 ratio of Gen Ji Mai (one type of short-grain brown) to medium-grain brown and set the rice cooker on the regular white rice setting. The rice comes out perfectly fine.