Microspeak: Newplacement

When talking about why people buy computers, there are two broad categories, "replacement computers" (those which replace an older machine being retired) and "new placement computers" (those which do not).

Now, sure, you have to call them something, but "new placements" sounds kind of markety. Then again, I felt the same way about using "seats" to mean "users" and see what that got me.

Pre-emptive clever comment: Verbing weirds language.

Comments (27)
  1. John says:

    You need to think outside the box.

  2. Mark says:


    Don’t you mean he needs to unconstrain his nonphysical processes?

  3. John Elliott says:

    Reading the first two comments together, I misread the first one as "think outside the body" and imagined some sort of astral projection.

  4. Thom says:

    Markety?  I don’t think so.  Stupidy maybe.  A markety word would at least sound catchy.  I’ve got a novel idea, how about additions?

    Some computers are replacements for existing computers and others are addtions to the existing computing base.

  5. Jim says:

    Hey, we have been asked all the time to be creative. How? This is one way of doing it. We can play the word to sound like a ceative approach for anything. Then they sound like that we are using our brains.

  6. Aaron says:

    I suppose plain old “new computer” just doesn’t have the same -edge- to it.

    [What do you call “new computers that do not displace an old computer” then? -Raymond]
  7. George Jansen says:

    And then there’s GNU placement when one takes a machine that’s not up to XP, let alone Vista, and throws on Fedora.

  8. JM says:

    I propose the term "OSS-hattery" for gratuitous mention of Fedora.

  9. Rick C says:

    Not to mention C++’s placement new.

  10. BryanK says:

    Yeah; come on.  We all know it should have been Ubuntu.  :-P

    <runs from the incoming flames…>

  11. Ron says:

    No, no, this is all so obvious.

    Replacing a computer is like getting divorced and remarried to a hot young secretary (male or female, whatever). In other words, a mid-life crisis.

    New computers with no previous computers are virgin weddings (technical virgins).

    New computers with previous computers are polygamy, or adding concubines to the harem.

    Mail-order brides, meeting someone on Match.com, getting stuck with the dud, making babies… it all fits.

  12. Coppertop says:

    So whats the term for the replaced computer?  Unplacement?

  13. stosb says:

    Installing the box on the wrong desk: misplacement

    Forgetting the monitor: semiplacement

    Installing patches: postplacement

    Punching it really hard: displacement

    Throwing it out the window: outplacement

    Calling the BSA over: antiplacement

    Bringing it back to the store: unplacement

    Getting a mac: transplacement

    Installing a lightweight OS on an old PC: retroplacement

  14. John says:

    This is garbage.  You don’t go around telling people you got a "new placement car" when you trade in your old one for a new one.  Likewise, you don’t say you got a "replacement car" when you don’t trade in your old one.  It’s always a "new car".

    For some reason, it seems that logic and reason break down when computers / technology are involved.  On the other hand, I’ve made the cardinal mistake of making a car analogy…

  15. Michael G says:

    John, isn’t your example backwards?

    The group of people who are needs these terms aren’t the receiver of the new product, but the placer.  Somebody like GM who cares about market growth does have a need to talk about how many of their cars are replacing old rundown cars v. how many are "new placements".

  16. Marc says:

    If it’s a replacement then it implies you’re doing the same thing with it, so unless it’s broken why replace?

    Most people replace a PC to do new things, whether that be running Vista, Video Editing or just doing things more quickly.

    It’s called an upgrade. I can see myself replacing an old machine, upgrading, or buying an additional machine. No fancy terms needed :)

  17. Cooney says:

    > [What do you call “new computers that do not displace an old computer” then? -Raymond]

    ‘New computer’.

    [In other words, you use the same term for both types of new computers. This makes talking about them rather difficult, don’t you think? -Raymond]
  18. Anon says:

    Careful people. Car analogies and mentions of F*dora or Ub*ntu may attract what someone memorably referred to as the ‘undead rotting evil’ of the Internet.


  19. I still cringe when someone says ‘sockets’. Reminds me of the B0rg and people getting plugged in :)

  20. mikel says:

    In real estate, the term ‘first home buyer’ is used to refer to someone who is purchasing a house for the first time.

    So perhaps ‘First computer’ could be used to mean ‘new computer that does not displace an old computer’.

  21. Rick C says:

    …until someone comes along and buys a second computer (for a spouse, for example.)

  22. mikel says:

    … and if that computer for the spouse was ‘a new computer that did not displace an old computer’, it would still be a ‘first computer’.

    ‘First computer’ refers to the computer, not the buyer. A company starting a new office might buy a hundred ‘first computers’.

  23. Miral says:

    If I had to pick separate terms, I’d use "new computer" for ones that don’t replace old computers, and "replacement computer" for those that do.  Simple :)

  24. Cooney says:

    [In other words, you use the same term for both types of new computers. This makes talking about them rather difficult, don’t you think? -Raymond]

    Not really. When it matters, context can tell you what I’m talking about. No reason to be absolutely precise – english isn’t really good at that, anyway.

    [Um, this terminology is used when it matters. If you have a market strategy document that talks about the two types of computers, you may get tired of establishing context each time you start talking about the other type. Especially if you have to talk about both types in the same sentence. But then again, you’re probably better at establishing context than me, since it appears that most of my readers can’t read my writing in context. -Raymond]
  25. Cooney says:

    If I have a market strategy document, it will be intended for human readers: I will explicitly identify my campaign for new installs vs. upgrades. Newplacement is the sort of mangled english that inflate weak ideas, obscure pure reasoning, and inhibit clarity. With a little practice, writing can be an intimidating and impenetrable fog, to quote a certain 6 year old.

    [There, and by claiming that you wouldn’t use separate terms for the concepts, you showed that you do! You would call them “new installs” and “upgrades.” -Raymond]
  26. required says:

    If I have a market strategy document, it will be intended for human readers

    I beg to differ. It will be intended for people in marketing.

  27. Cooney says:

    I beg to differ. It will be intended for people in marketing.

    Okay, point taken. I still refuse to invent jargon or use existing jargon (if I can help it) except when talking to the primary users of that jargon – newplacement is fine among MS geeks, but not outside (in the ‘real world’ :))

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