Myth? I don't think so. I think it is the early stages, but definitely not a myth. This post by Richard Ziade, at the basement.org blog contends that utility computing is not the end of traditional software. He has a pretty funny statement -- "I don't need a multi-billion dollar data center in North Carolina to re-size an image". I don't think utility computing, cloud computing, grid computing -- what ever you want to call it is a myth. Far from it. The applications of these technologies will be seen in different places, for different reasons and at different paces over the coming years. The related space I'm watching is networking and wide-area networking (i.e.: wan accelerators / optimizers, metro ethernet, FTTP, and so forth). FYI - Worldwide Metro Ethernet sales hit $13 Billion in 2007, up 27%. Richards post and subsequent comments are an interesting read though.
Richard's joke about re-sizing an image did (for whatever reason) make me think about a really compute-intensive application (locally and in the cloud) that I simply love. Google Earth. I think I'll start my 12-step program tonight: Hello, my name is John Rath, and I am a Google Earth addict. I simply can't get enough of this program. If any Google Earth developers are reading and need someone to get them Mountain Dew or wash their car, I'm your man. :) I found a video tonight that will explain some of the amazing new features that they have added, if you haven't seen it lately. Check out the video (no, really) here.
One other post on basement.org piqued my interest on "visual browsing". As someone who recently purchased an Ipod Touch and is a BIG fan of visual browsing, the software Richard writes about, PicLens is ... (pardon my Paris Hilton) ....HOT!