New Microsoft Surface Leak Reveals 'Secret' Codenames

More evidence of Microsoft’s move into lower-cost tablets has come to light, as codenames for both the tablet and the attachable keyboard have been reported. The USB-C equipped tablet is ‘Lex’, while the keyboard cover attachments will be ‘Gibs’.

Ewan Spence

Microsoft’s previous lower-range tablet, the Surface 3 (Image: Ewan Spence)

Microsoft’s Surface range has always allowed the Redmond-based company to not only experiment with form and factor, but to also use the brand as a visual signpost to manufacturers on what it would like to see in the market. It also shows off the Windows 10 environment in a ‘pure’ format. In that sense the Surface range’s closes association is that of the Nexus and Pixel smartphones from Google.

As I noted the last month in Forbes, the move towards a lower-cost Surface tablet challenges Apple’s iPad in the educational market, but with the benefits of a much more open operating system.

While Windows 10 in its many variants also maintains a connection to Microsoft’s cloud based services, these potential new Surface machines will have a significant advantage – they will be open to third-party programs outside of a walled garden, huge amounts of legacy support, and the machines will be easily transferable between users.

As Apple moves towards narrowing the options on the tablet front, Microsoft is using its Surface line-up to promote a similarly priced product that takes a more open look at the ecosystem.

All of this requires a low-priced Surface tablet – similar to the Surface 3 – to exist. The initial reports of such a unit came from Bloomberg, and have now been followed up with details on the internal builds and codenames. Mayank Parmar reports:

We already know that Microsoft’s affordable Surface tablet will target Apple iPads in the tablet market, and now a new report provides us with a closer look at the device.Today, Microsoft enthusiast Walking Cat discovered that the affordable Surface device is internally codenamed Lex, and Microsoft is also working on a type-cover codenamed, Gibs.

As well as Apple’s iPad, the other educational comparison that an affordable Surface/Keyboard combination will draw is with the various Google-powered Chromebooks from a number of manufacturers. Just like Microsoft ties Windows 10 to its cloud, so does Google with ChromeOS. The hardware is the on-ramp to services, and Microsoft’s focus on education is a late arrival… but one that could have significant impact if played correctly.

Now read more about another lightweight portable Windows 10 design from Microsoft… the Surface Laptop…

iPhone Exclusive: Apple's Radical Design 'Confirmed'

In May my exclusive story confirmed Apple’s new iPhone line-up and one cancellation. Now, I can reveal the designs of the most exciting models and the radical move Apple will make… 

Working in collaboration with popular accessories maker Ghostek, a partnership which previously saw me leak Samsung’s final Galaxy S9 design in December, I have obtained schematics for both the so-called ‘budget iPhone X’ and the super-sized iPhone X Plus. And while I expect the former to be the bestseller, it is the latter which will shake-up the smartphone world.

Let’s break them down.

Ghostek, Gordon Kelly

iPhone X Plus schematics show a triple rear camera

iPhone X Plus – A Triple Threat

The headline news is the schematics show iPhone X Plus will introduce triple rear camera. Huawei beat Apple to market with this technology in the excellent P20 Pro, the iPhone X Plus will be the handset to bring it to the masses.

Apple’s triple lens setup is currently unknown, but it would make sense to copy Huawei’s approach of a monochrome camera aiding the primary and telephoto modules. This produced class-leading low light photography. Low light is also an area where Apple has struggled against rivals (one in particular) over recent years.

Interestingly, I understand the second generation iPhone X will stick to two cameras so – once again – Apple will save its flagship photography for the largest (and most expensive) model.

In addition to this, the schematics show Apple has managed to cram a massive 6.5-inch display into the iPhone X Plus yet kept its footprint smaller than the 5.5-inch iPhone 8 Plus: 157.2 x 77.1 mm (6.18 x 3.03-inches) compared to 158.4 x 78.1 mm (6.24 x 3.07-inches). That said, its steel chassis means it should weigh more than the 202g aluminium iPhone 8 Plus.

‘Budget’ iPhone X – Goodbye Mini iPhone X

In my May exclusive, I revealed there would be no ‘mini-iPhone X’ and again these schematics show Apple is thinking big.

Ghostek, Gordon Kelly

‘Budget’ iPhone X schematics confirm size and a single rear camera

The budget iPhone X (which I believe will simply be called ‘iPhone’), will measure 147.12 x 71.52 mm (5.79 x 2.81-inches) which is longer and wider than the current 5.8-inch iPhone: 143.6 x 70.9 mm (5.65 x 2.79-inch).

Yes, as widely rumoured, this will be a 6.1-inch phone.

Its budget roots can be seen in the single rear camera (it will also lose 3D Touch), while you’ll note the notch looks more pronounced.

To this end, I have been told the budget iPhone X will have first generation Face ID technology while the new iPhone X and iPhone X Plus have gen two. But take that with a pinch of salt as it comes from an unproven source.

Of course, the real appeal of the budget iPhone X will be the cost with Apple expected to slash prices across the range by as much as $300 compared to last year.

Needless to say, this far out it is possible for designs to change but with mass production taking several months to ramp up there would be no time for anything other than the most minor of tweaks.

So, ladies and gentlemen, you are indeed looking at two of Apple’s most exciting iPhones in years…

___

Follow Gordon on Twitter, Facebook and Google+

More On Forbes

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Apple iOS 11.4: Should You Upgrade?

iPhone Exclusive: Apple's Radical Design 'Confirmed'

In May my exclusive story confirmed Apple’s new iPhone line-up and one cancellation. Now, I can reveal the designs of the most exciting models and the radical move Apple will make… 

Working in collaboration with popular accessories maker Ghostek, a partnership which previously saw me leak Samsung’s final Galaxy S9 design in December, I have obtained schematics for both the so-called ‘budget iPhone X’ and the super-sized iPhone X Plus. And while I expect the former to be the bestseller, it is the latter which will shake-up the smartphone world.

Let’s break them down.

Ghostek, Gordon Kelly

iPhone X Plus schematics show a triple rear camera

iPhone X Plus – A Triple Threat

The headline news is the schematics show iPhone X Plus will introduce triple rear camera. Huawei beat Apple to market with this technology in the excellent P20 Pro, the iPhone X Plus will be the handset to bring it to the masses.

Apple’s triple lens setup is currently unknown, but it would make sense to copy Huawei’s approach of a monochrome camera aiding the primary and telephoto modules. This produced class-leading low light photography. Low light is also an area where Apple has struggled against rivals (one in particular) over recent years.

Interestingly, I understand the second generation iPhone X will stick to two cameras so – once again – Apple will save its flagship photography for the largest (and most expensive) model.

In addition to this, the schematics show Apple has managed to cram a massive 6.5-inch display into the iPhone X Plus yet kept its footprint smaller than the 5.5-inch iPhone 8 Plus: 157.2 x 77.1 mm (6.18 x 3.03-inches) compared to 158.4 x 78.1 mm (6.24 x 3.07-inches). That said, its steel chassis means it should weigh more than the 202g aluminium iPhone 8 Plus.

‘Budget’ iPhone X – Goodbye Mini iPhone X

In my May exclusive, I revealed there would be no ‘mini-iPhone X’ and again these schematics show Apple is thinking big.

Ghostek, Gordon Kelly

‘Budget’ iPhone X schematics confirm size and a single rear camera

The budget iPhone X (which I believe will simply be called ‘iPhone’), will measure 147.12 x 71.52 mm (5.79 x 2.81-inches) which is longer and wider than the current 5.8-inch iPhone: 143.6 x 70.9 mm (5.65 x 2.79-inch).

Yes, as widely rumoured, this will be a 6.1-inch phone.

Its budget roots can be seen in the single rear camera (it will also lose 3D Touch), while you’ll note the notch looks more pronounced.

To this end, I have been told the budget iPhone X will have first generation Face ID technology while the new iPhone X and iPhone X Plus have gen two. But take that with a pinch of salt as it comes from an unproven source.

Of course, the real appeal of the budget iPhone X will be the cost with Apple expected to slash prices across the range by as much as $300 compared to last year.

Needless to say, this far out it is possible for designs to change but with mass production taking several months to ramp up there would be no time for anything other than the most minor of tweaks.

So, ladies and gentlemen, you are indeed looking at two of Apple’s most exciting iPhones in years…

___

Follow Gordon on Twitter, Facebook and Google+

More On Forbes

Exclusive: Apple’s Massive New iPhones Revealed

Apple Leak Exposes Larger iPhone Designs

Apple Leak Explains Surprisingly Large OLED Budget iPhone

Apple Warns iPhones Have A Serious Problem

Apple iOS 11.4: Should You Upgrade?

The U.S. Just Reclaimed the World’s Fastest Supercomputer Mantle From China

The United States has retaken first place in a major metric of technological heft – the world’s fastest supercomputer is once again American.

The Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a branch of the U.S. Department of Energy, unveiled the new computer, called Summit, on Friday. The system, according to the department’s announcement, is rated to perform 200,000 trillion calculations per second, or 200 petaflops. That makes it eight times more powerful than America’s former fastest supercomputer, the Titan, and gives it a substantial edge over China’s 93-petaflop TaihuLight, which had been the world’s fastest supercomputer since 2016.

Summit will be used for research in fields including energy, advanced materials, and artificial intelligence. According to supercomputing news site Top500, it was built by IBM using IBM’s Power9 CPUs and Nvidia Tesla V100 GPUs.

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Advances in computing power have been described as a 21st century equivalent of the Space Race between America and the U.S.S.R., though the primary contenders this time around are the U.S. and China. The debut of Summit is a step towardswhat might be called that competition’s moon landing – an exascale computer, capable of a billion billion calculations per second. The U.S. has set a goal of developing an exascale computer by 2021, but according to DoE, Summit can already reach exascale speeds for “certain scientific applications.” The Chinese Academy of Sciences has said they’ll deploy an exascale supercomputer by 2020.

Like the space race, the development of such incredibly powerful computers will spread innovation across many sectors, and could confer long-term competitive advantages to the nation in the lead. The most dramatic competition may be in the development of artificial intelligence, but much attention is also focused on Summit’s application in health sciences. The ability to search and collate vast amounts of data is expected to speed the discovery of new medicines and advanced treatments, such as by correlating diseases to genetic markers, or developing individually customized treatments for each patient.

Tempted to Drop a Project That Isn't Working? Here's a Quick Way to Know Whether You Should Give Up or Push Through

Have you ever hit a wall in a project and wonder if you should push harder or give up? How do you know if you are facing inner resistance or seeing a sign that you should shift gears and change direction? There may be times when you give up too soon and change strategies before you had given a project a chance to work. The easy guide to the right decision is to gauge your passion about the project.

In established companies, giving up on a project could mean costs burned with printing of unusable marketing materials, loss of time and money in training staff in a new program, advertising dollars and more. Some CEO’s find it almost easier to justify moving forward than abandoning the plan just for the chance to get the investment back. If it fails, the loss can be made up from other divisions and not make or break a company.

Smaller companies face bigger risks when testing new strategies. We do most of our marketing online which makes it is easy to shift gears and test new strategies without much loss of investment. The problem is that it can be too easy to jump ship at the first sign of failure. Many entrepreneurs get caught up in the shiny object syndrome and move from strategy to strategy too quickly without measuring or understanding the results.

In a new start-up, it can be difficult to predict the future and avoid bad mistakes. A fool-proof measurement is looking at the amount of passion you have for the project. When you really believe in a project you will do whatever it takes to make it work. You will use your mind to focus, you won’t give up on a small setback and keep pushing through. The passion will motivate you to overcome the obstacles.

If you don’t have the drive and feel ready to give up at the first sign of resistance, you are not emotionally invested enough to see the project succeed. If you are driven by money alone, you may not feel connected to your personal passion and lack enough energy to break through challenges.

One time we had a project that hit some roadblocks and the program was not selling. We were at a crossroads on whether we should drop it or keep trying to make it work. We checked in and realized that were not too enthusiastic about it to take the extra steps toward getting the sales. When we shifted to something that we were excited about creating, success seemed to follow us effortlessly. Even when small hiccups occurred, they did not stop us and the new project exceeded our expectations.

Most projects worth pursuing have a passionate motivator. Ask yourself if the project is going to help move the company forward in a big way or something that would be challenging and meaningful to test out.

The key question to ask yourself is “If I put myself all in this and it still did not work, would I still be glad I tried?”

Just having a passion toward something does not guarantee a good result. Sometimes the best projects are the ones that you know may fail but there is something driving you to move toward it even if it seems impossible. These passion projects always lead to something more and many times take you to new, unexpected opportunities.

Entrepreneurs, especially in start-ups do a lot more testing than more established companies. You have to face a lot of unknowns and have little data or history to back up decisions. When you don’t have the numbers to measure the risk, you have to rely on measuring your passion. Even if your passionate project does not bear immediate fruit, you will gain more information and data by going all the way that will help you with your next big idea.

The Essential Life Lesson We Can Learn From Anthony Bourdain and 'Parts Unknown'

Anthony Bourdain is dead at 61, of an apparent suicide, while in France filming the next episode of Parts Unknown. Bourdain was already a TV star and bestselling author when he launched his latest series, but it won accolades, and award after award for the fascinating way it brought unknown and possibly scary places, from the Congo River in Africa to Antarctica to the broken-down neighborhoods of Detroit. 

Bourdain once described the show as asking different people around the world some very simple questions: “What makes you happy? What do you eat? What do you like to cook?” Finding the answers to those questions resulted in an equally simple message: Don’t be afraid. Just because a place is remote and completely unlike anyplace you know, just because the people there look different and have different beliefs and everyday lives from you, just because someplace or someone is completely unfamiliar–don’t be afraid. Instead, be curious. Learn more. Take a bite.

To my husband, for whom Bourdain was a beloved figure, who usually leaves Parts Unknown streaming on Netflix from one episode to the next as he prepares meals for us, this fearlessness was Bourdain’s biggest gift to us all. “If I was going to go to Ecuador or someplace I wouldn’t be as afraid because of him,” he says. 

And indeed, from the book that launched him into stardom right through Parts Unknown, fearlessness was the one thing you could always count on from Bourdain. When he flipped over an ATV and had it roll over him during an episode of No Reservations, or when he went to Lebanon but brought along the wound-stopping product Quick Clot at the insistence of the U.S. military, he was perhaps annoyed or embarrassed, but–at least outwardly–he was never afraid.

Look at any image of Bourdain you can find. He’s nearly always standing or sitting square to the camera, looking it (and you) right in the eye, chin up, his expression a combination of an ironic smile and a challenge. The shot that you always see, again and again, in every one of his shows is Tony walking, through some burned-out war zone or lavishly wealthy neighborhood, ambling confidently along, unhurried but unhesitating, shoulders back. The man had incredibly good posture. If anything ever intimidated him, most of us will never know what it was.

That’s the other lesson from the life and untimely death of Anthony Bourdain. However much we may think we know a public figure, however authentic and truly himself he may seem in front of the camera or on the page, and however much we may love him, we can’t ever truly know what’s going on in someone else’s mind, let alone someone we have never actually met. His friends mostly report that he seemed happier than he had in a long time.

But his fellow globe-trotting TV chef and close friend Andrew Zimmern also shared a truth that many successful people know: Having your ambitions fulfilled does not necessarily lead to happiness and relaxation. It usually leads to even longer hours and greater exhaustion as you work at the thing you love, running in place to stay fresh, stay relevant, and keep getting better–and Bourdain did all those things.

Zimmern says that when he and Bourdain met up, they would talk about “wanting to get off this crazy roller coaster, but at the same time knowing that this was our work,” he told The New York Times. “The world has lost a brilliant human being and I’ve lost one of the few people I could talk to about some of this stuff.” Apparently there was a darker side to Bourdain and to the life he lived. It’s an odd coincidence that Bourdain was found dead three days after designer Kate Spade took her own life, also by hanging, and two days after the Centers for Disease Control released a report showing that suicide rates in American have increased throughout this century

Please don’t be part of this growing epidemic! If you feel you need help or just want to talk about the topic, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, at 1-800-273-8255. 

CNN is collecting memories about Bourdain from anyone who cares to share them (you can do so here) and posting many of the responses on its site. Scroll through and read how many people say he inspired them to take a chance–quit a job they hated to travel the world, or write a book, or both. That’s the man’s best legacy and the best way to remember and honor him: by doing something you’ve been afraid to do or going somewhere you’ve been afraid to go, going somewhere you’ve been afraid to go–even if it’s just an ethnic neighborhood in your own home town.

The network is airing a tribute to Anthony Bourdain at 10 pm Eastern tonight and a series of his favorite Parts Unknown episodes through the weekend. Here’s the schedule:

China's TCL launches high-end BlackBerry smartphone in U.S.

(Reuters) – Chinese electronics maker TCL Corp on Thursday launched a high-end smartphone in the United States that it developed with Canada’s BlackBerry Ltd, touting security and privacy features to distinguish it from other devices.

The new BlackBerry Key2 smartphone is displayed at a product launch event for the device in Manhattan in New York, U.S., June 7, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Segar

TCL unveiled the BlackBerry KEY2, which runs on Alphabet Inc’s widely used Android operating system, amid tensions between Washington and Beijing over the sale of Chinese telecommunications equipment in the United States.

The U.S. government and lawmakers have sought to limit sales of phones by larger Chinese phonemakers ZTE Corp and Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, citing national security concerns. ZTE ceased major operations in April after Washington banned U.S. companies from selling it parts, though U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Thursday the government had reached a deal to reverse that ban.

The new BlackBerry Key2 smartphone is displayed at a product launch event for the device in Manhattan in New York, U.S., June 7, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Segar

The KEY2 is the third smartphone that TCL has launched through a partnership with BlackBerry, which decided in 2016 to stop making smartphones and license its software to other manufacturers.

Slideshow (6 Images)

BlackBerry digitally audits phones built through the partnership to make sure no unapproved software is installed on them, and also signs off on all software updates to the phones, which are remotely installed by wireless carriers, the company said.

The KEY2, which retails for $649, features a BlackBerry app called DTEK that helps users see and manage how data is used by other apps. A second application, Locker, creates private folders for documents that enable users to prevent them from being uploaded to the cloud.

Such features help make KEY2 “the most secure Android product in the market today,” Alain Lejeune, president of TCL’s BlackBerry Mobile unit, told Reuters ahead of Thursday’s product launch in New York.

Such assurances may not protect TCL from scrutiny by U.S. lawmakers, given growing concerns about the activities of Chinese firms operating in the United States, said Samm Sacks, a cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank.

“They’re going to meet more scrutiny than they would have even a year ago,” Sacks said.

TCL also sells low-end phones in the United States under the brand of France’s Alcatel, which are mainly used with pre-paid carriers. Unlike the BlackBerry deal, TCL controls the software on Alcatel devices, TCL said.

Reporting by Sheila Dang; Editing by Jim Finkle and Frances Kerry

IT failures at British bank TSB cost $94 million so far, owner Sabadell says

MADRID (Reuters) – Information technology failures at British bank TSB have cost around 70 million pounds ($93.95 million) so far, its Spanish parent Sabadell said on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: Signs are seen outside of a branch of TSB bank in London May 27, 2014. REUTERS/Neil Hall/File Photo

A botched migration of TSB computer systems last month saw thousands of users locked out of their accounts and a surge in attacks by fraudsters, prompting a regulatory investigation and criticism of its chief executive.

Sabadell, which bought TSB in 2015, said in a filing to Spain’s market regulator that the declared cost did not take into account the ongoing investigation.

The amount includes costs related to a temporary waiver of overdraft fees and compensation for cases of alleged fraud linked to the migration, Sabadell said in the filing.

It also takes into account the cost of paying employees overtime and bringing in additional staff and expert consultants to tackle the situation.

There have been 2,200 fraud attempts linked to the snarl and around 1,300 customers have lost money, TSB Chief Executive Paul Pester told British lawmakers on Wednesday.

TSB called in International Business Machines Corp to help resolve the crisis, which left some customers waiting for hours in vain on helplines.

Reporting by Isla Binnie and Gdynia Newsroom; Editing by Alexandra Hudson

North Korea Uses Microsoft and Apple Technology for Cyberattacks, Researchers Say

North Korea has been cited by several governments and organizations for its hacking activities. Now, a new study of network data shows much of the technology North Korea employs for hacking comes from the U.S.

Despite trade sanctions, North Korea’s government has found a way to obtain products from Apple, Microsoft, and Korea-based Samsung to carry out cyberattacks around the world, researchers at cybersecurity intelligence company Recorded Future revealed on Wednesday. The company found that North Korea is using Windows 10, Apple’s iPhone X, and Samsung’s Galaxy S8 Plus, among other technologies, to conduct operations. However, most of the technology North Korea is using is older. For instance, Recorded Future found an iPhone 4S and Windows 7, among other products, still in use.

North Korea has been isolated from the rest of the world for decades. During that time, the country’s economy has suffered and the U.S., among others, has imposed sanctions that limit a company’s ability to export to and sell in North Korea.

To circumvent those sanctions, according to Recorded Future, North Korea has engaged in a variety of activities to obtain access to U.S. and Korean technologies.

In its report, Recorded Future said that North Korea has created fake addresses and names to sidestep sanctions — and also used shell companies and aliases outside of its borders to obtain equipment and bring it back. North Koreans living in countries where equipment from Apple, Microsoft, and Samsung can be obtained legally also play a role in the effort, according to the report.

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“Technology resellers, North Koreans abroad, and the Kim regime’s extensive criminal networks all facilitate the transfer of American technology for daily use by one of the world’s most repressive governments,” Recorded Future wrote in its report.

In other cases, however, North Korea has obtained equipment legally. Since 2002, in fact, the U.S. has exported nearly $484,000 in computers and electronics to North Korea.

But, since that’s hardly enough for all of the ruling party, hacking efforts, and “elites” in the country who need the technology, North Korea has employed the other schemes, Recorded Future said.

The data sheds some light on the secretive country and could explain to some degree how it’s been able to pull off some major cyberattacks. North Korea’s hackers have previously been linked to the 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack that affected computers around the world. North Korea was also accused of hacking Sony in 2014.

“Unless there’s a globally unified effort to impose comprehensive sanctions on the DPRK, and multilateral cooperation to ensure that these sanctions cannot be thwarted by a web of shell companies,” Recorded Future wrote, “North Korea will be able to continue its cyberwarfare operations unabated with the aid of Western technology.”

Retirement Strategies: Post-Job Perspectives And Is GE A Stock To Consider?

GE, debt, cash, retirement, dividend

Source: GE

As mentioned in other articles, I found myself retiring a few years ahead of plan. I always knew that I wanted to ‘retire’ as soon as I could be comfortable. There is no reason to work until you die. Like me, you probably have had friends die that were going to retire after ‘just one more year’ or die soon after retirement.

While retirement is not a bad thing, one has to get the right perspective on money, health, relationships, and time. What follows is a discussion on various stocks that one might consider in a retirement portfolio with a detailed review of General Electric (GE). In addition, I share with you the softer side of ideas to consider in retirement from my experience.

Which Stocks Might Be Part Of A Retirement Portfolio?

There is a lot to be said for building a portfolio of stocks for the long haul. As you get older, your time horizon is reduced and one would tend to allocate more to lower beta stocks and ‘safer’ investments that pay dividends. Stocks like the following should be reviewed as part of a portfolio: Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Medtronic (MDT), Coca-Cola (KO), Colgate-Palmolive (CL), Procter & Gamble (PG), 3M (MMM), Lowe’s (LOW), as well as stocks in the Internet of Things (IoT) space such as Amazon (AMZN) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL).

https://static.seekingalpha.com/uploads/2017/5/4/48350476-14938905785039449.jpg

Source: News

What About General Electric?

Many retirees are holding shares of General Electric. What was not to love about the company – until the last two years. Ouch! Concerns over cash flow, a struggling power unit, and a dividend cut in the last quarter of the 2017 has many long-term investors way under water on GE.

GE reported better than expected earnings for the 1Q2018 and it appeared that investor sentiment was finally improving. However, GE’s shares crashed again as the Power restructuring drags on.

Check out this ugly chart:

Source: Fidelity

GE shareholders have been in for a very rough ride these past 12 months – the stock is down 49% – yes, 49%, over the last 52 weeks! CEO John Flannery has laid out a slow and steady turnaround of GE. He’s replaced almost half of the management team and cut GE’s dividend in half.

Many readers will say that it is all about dividend and that the stock price is secondary. However, I would prefer to have both. If you are a buy-and-hold investor, dividends often provide investors with the power of compounding. Dividend stocks can have a place in your portfolio, but be careful of the trap – paying a high dividend, but having a stock with lousy fundamentals. One is looking for a high dividend-paying stock with strong operations to ensure that dividend payouts are well covered by earnings. The total package matters, not just the dividend yield. GE’s dividend is a tempting 3.4%.

Recovery

Things were looking better for GE in 1Q18 with an earnings beat. According to GE, they reported adjusted earnings of $0.16 per share, beating estimates. The company continues to see strength in its GE Aviation and GE Healthcare units with operating profit margin up 26 percent and 11 percent, respectively. The company said it remains on track to deliver $1-1.07 earnings per share for the year. Per GE:

“The first quarter is a step forward in executing on our 2018 plan, and we are seeing signs of progress in our performance,” said GE Chairman and CEO John Flannery. “Industrial earnings, free cash flow and margins all improved year over year. We reduced industrial structural costs by $805 million and are on track to exceed our cost-reduction goal of $2 billion in 2018.”

Cash Flow

However, the bottom fell out again on May 23 when the CEO said that he expects GE’s power division to continue to struggle through 2020 and sees no profit growth for that division – nothing really new there except that it would take into 2020 to finish the restructuring surprised some. In addition, the CEO whispered that the dividend might have to be cut again. Just on June 4, a JP Morgan analyst noted that GE will need to de-risk, raise cash and cut the dividend – again.

The number tossed around that GE needs? $40 billion. Asset sales will help, but will they be sold fast enough? General Electric recently sold some of its transportation unit to rail equipment maker Wabtec in an $11.1 billion deal. GE will receive a $2.9 billion up-front payment in cash and its shareholders will own 50.1% of the combined company, while Wabtec shareholders will own the rest.

Flannery told GE shareholders late last year he plans to pare GE down to three core businesses: power, aviation and healthcare. Even with the sale of Baker Hughes (BHGE) which might fetch $20 billion, where will GE get the other $20 billion? Unless GE can generate enough cash, the dividend will have to be cut again.

Technicals

Currently, GE’s relative strength index (RSI) is below 50 which is bearish. The MACD is below its signal line and positive. The MACD must penetrate its zero line to expect further downside. The stock is trading under its 20-day moving average of 14.56 and below its 50-day moving average of 14.01. A price point of 14.8 appears to be the next resistance level while 12.4 appears to be the support. Overall, there appears to be continued short to mid-term weakness. Time will tell if there is a bottom here in the next 9-12 months.

Source: Trading Central

Insider Trading

While not a perfect indicator, it is interesting to view (legal) insider trading activity over time. Some investors believe there is a direct correlation to insider trading activity and the future stock performance. However, I generally do not believe that insiders are that much better than the public in determining the direction of a stock. Many times, insiders exercise shares for a number of reasons, some of which have nothing to do with where they think the stock is headed.

Shown below are insider transactions for the last two years by transaction type. Also shown is the corresponding stock prices. In addition, the top key insiders are shown detailing shares held, percentage change in ownership and market value. There does not appear to be any direct correlation between insider activity and stock price during this time.

Source: Morningstar

Summary On GE

While GE appears to be doing the best they can for the shareholders – restructuring its power division, cutting costs, selling assets, changing management, etc. However, like most big companies, real change takes time – does GE have the time it will take to execute a turnaround with the cash it has and at the current dividend level?

I have been watching GE closely and keep thinking that the pain is over and that a buying opportunity has materialized only to be wrong time and time again. How much longer do we have to wait and should retirees continue to hold out for a rebound in prices when there are so many other companies that are stronger and creating shareholder value such as Lowe’s (NYSE (NYSE:LOW). See my recent LOW article here.

On the other hand, if GE can speed up its asset sales and continue to slash costs while improving margins in their core businesses, GE might be considered for a longer-term, speculative investor.

How Much Money Do You Need?

Circling back to the original question of how much money do you need to retire – it really depends on two main things: how long will you live and how much you will spend, net of earnings. Fidelity suggests this broad rule of thumb:

  • By 30: Have the equivalent of your salary saved
  • By 40: Have three times your salary saved
  • By 50: Have six times your salary saved
  • By 60: Have eight times your salary saved
  • By 67: Have 10 times your salary saved

For money saving tips, see my previous article here.

Post-job/Retirement Perspectives

What follows below is a brief discussion on the softer issues of retirement.

Image result for retirement

Retirement – in all its variations – can be a challenging part of life. There is newfound freedom of time but one might feel financially constrained as a regular paycheck is not being received. Many find it difficult to change their life patterns moving from 30+ years of working in an office in a structured environment to one of more freedom and with less personal interaction.

While you need to manage your finances, estimate your spending and your income, there are softer concepts that people sometimes don’t consider.

Behavioral and emotional aspects of retirement should be considered. This includes areas such as: personal development, activities, mental health, and interpersonal relationships.

Personal Development

You most likely learned and had personal development courses during your professional career. Why stop when the job does? In a post-job environment, it is even more important to find meaning in what you do (or in many cases, to start to find meaning). Now that you have more time to learn, it is a great time to acquire new skills. You can learn about completely new areas and experience new things.

For instance, I just volunteered on a goat farm for a period of time. We learned so much about farm life and gleaned new skills including: animal feeding; proper stall cleaning methodologies; medication and other special care needs; field raking; hay moving; tractor work; goat milking; egg gathering and candling; making animal dairy products, and how to make soap.

Would we have had time to do that during our ‘real’ job? No way. However, I can tell you though that it was in the top 20 experiences of my life.

There are so many things that you can learn outside of your profession – master a new language, start a business based on a hobby, take courses at the local university, travel. Consider what you are passionate about and execute a plan to what spending more time in that activity would be like.

Activities

Travel

As many of you know, we have traveled extensively throughout the world – over 90 countries and counting. In our post-job world, we are finding that we are super busy building our new website business, blogging, vlogging, and traveling. We routinely will work until 2-3am as we are so excited about what we are doing. Our traveling now consists of much longer trips helping people around the world with our skills and foundational insight. We are meeting tons of new people and experiencing life outside of the office – awesome.

Traveling takes planning. Traveling on a budget takes a lot of planning. Fortunately, we have had 15+ years of traveling worldwide on a budget. Having the internet is the key – it’s probably more important to me than running water – in order to keep up with the markets and Seeking Alpha readership.

Working in Retirement

No one says that your post-job life can’t also include a different career. Do you want to stay in your same field or try something new? For me, it’s a mix – stay with the investment side of my brain with Seeking Alpha and my other investment activities; however, I’m also venturing out into writing non-finance articles and books, participating in work programs, disaster relief, etc. Consider what type of work you would want to try. Define why you want to continue to work – money, authority, feelings of worth, status, etc. Determine if you want to work on a consultant basis, full time, or part time. Another great area to consider is volunteering.

Volunteering

Volunteering is a great thing. Many people don’t like the overused term of ‘giving back’. However, that is exactly how I feel about volunteering – you are giving back – with your skills, strengths, and talents for, in many cases, people that have fallen on hard times due to poor choices or due to other social-economic issues. Maybe your skills can be leveraged to help an organization. I find it very rewarding and very humbling. Things that I take for granted – food, shelter, safety, etc. – are not givens for many people, even in the USA.

Mental Health

Attitude is everything. You know this. You have probably said it. After you retire, there is a lot more time to think – sometimes that is not a good thing. We spend a lot of life before retirement being busy, staying busy, telling people how busy we are – it’s almost a badge of honor these days. Post-job life gives one time to evaluate the past – the good and the bad that you have done or left undone. While it is healthy to be introspective some of the time, there is a place for keeping a positive attitude to contribute to your happiness. Letting go of negative feelings and grudges are important, just as important as it is to lose weight, get proper sleep, exercise, eliminate tobacco use, and reduce your alcohol intake.

Relationships

Retirement could mean less interactive time with a wider audience. You might find that you need to get to know your spouse again as now you spend a lot more time together. All types of relationships play a larger role in your satisfaction. Are you an extrovert, an introvert? Where will you meet new people? What do you want to obtain from your relationships? How do you balance time between other activities mentioned herein and developing new relationships and kindling older relationships?

Determining what you will do in your post-job life is an important aspect your happiness and search for meaning. Of course, health and finances will play a major part of your outlook.

Additional Disclosure

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