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Field notes are notes I leave myself as I go through my day to day work. The hope is that other people will also find these notes useful. Note that these notes are unfiltered and unverified.

Cloud Data Science


TJ Palanca


August 7, 2022

Over the past few years I’ve embarked on a journey to establish a fully on-the-cloud solution for data science work.

As cloud computing power becomes more commoditized and data professionals are working with larger and larger datasets, it becomes more and more convenient to switch even your personal data science setup to the cloud, and therefore be able to use a Chrome OS laptop to both increase focus and productivity.

16.1 Origins: Macbook Keyboards

As with more things that I care to admit, the initial drive to find something on the cloud was driven by my displeasure at the state of Macbook Keyboards in 2017. The new “butterfly” keyboard had virtually zero travel and to me always felt like tapping on glass.

On the search for a Macbook alternative, I found the Pixelbook by Google, which was beautiful in terms of hardware, especially that soft touch keyboard. It had the happy coincidence of also being a Chromebook running Chrome OS, which is why I then started to figure out whether there was a way I could still do everything that I needed to do despite only accessing it in the browser.

Since then, even after Apple had finally come to its senses and ditched that keyboard, I’ve grown to and stuck with Chromebooks not just because of the excellent hardware, but also because of the excellent benefits that being fully on the cloud provides.

16.2 Why do data science on the cloud?

There’s plenty of reasons why one would prefer to be on the cloud even if they weren’t doing data science, such as: