One of the benefits people selling fax machines long ago touted was that, in a pinch, you could also use it to make a copy of a piece of paper. Yes I did make one or two copies of something I was going to mail away, but fuzzy text on glossy rolled-up fax paper wasn't the same as what a copy machine produced for 5 or 10 cents.
One "added feature" I use more than I expected is the timer function on a microwave oven. It's great to get an audio reminder of something I don't want to forget needs doing in the near future, and it's easy to set.
I use Dragon NaturallySpeaking for composing informal e-mails (and these blog posts). An added benefit I use occasionally is the text-to-speech functionality. If I see an article online, and it's not too filled with technical jargon, I sometimes paste it into Dragon's scratchpad, Select All, and choose Read That.
I delete any code and hyperlinks (I don't want the URL of where something is in the MSDN Library read to me). It's not very good figuring out compound words. I once listened to an article about BizTalk, though it read that as bees talk
. For .NET it says point net
. To avoid the annoyance, I searched and replaced BizTalk with "BizzTalk" and .NET with " dot net" before having it read aloud.
It sounds like a lot of trouble, but I'm used to listening to audio books, and I'm amused and impressed by how-close-to-human sounding digitized text is getting. It uses punctuation to guide its vocal inflection and does a respectable job on words it's never encountered before (my last name being a good test).
It just needs a way to let someone correct its pronounciation (other than my brute force approach) and then remember that correction. It has to have built-in corrected audio-symbols associated with ordinary dictionary words, otherwise it would pronounce the 's' in 'island' if it interpreted every word merely by the letters.