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Show us your Desk! by Brett

You think your desk is bad? Show us what you got! At home, at work, doesn’t matter- we want pictures. Here is what you have to do:

  1. Dig out your camera (hint: it’s probably buried in your desk somewhere.)
  2. Put www.midnightmods.com on your screen so we know it’s actually your desk and not just something you found on Google images. (cheater!)
  3. Snap some good photos (you might need to use flash if you have the jitters.)
  4. Upload them somewhere online. twitpic, Flickr, 2PAD, ImageShack, and Google’s Picasa Web Albums are some of our favorites. (optionally you can just email them to comments[at@]midnightmods.com if you’d like)
  5. Post links to your pictures along with a brief description of what we are looking at (home, work / dungeon) in the comments section. We will go through and add them to the page if they are worthy.

That’s it!

If the pictures end up being good enough, we might even award prizes. I’m sure there is some MM giveaway stuff on my desk somewhere… I just have to find it :-)



This one is my home desk. It’s been neglected for about 6 months straight.


Here is one of my desks at work. Seems to be growing at a steady rate.


I’m sure Bill won’t mind if I take this… I played with your Rubik's Cube, hope you know how to put it back how it was :-)


“Does this count? It' isn’t that messy yet. I just moved.” 
- Carl, Michigan


I count about 14-1/2 XBOX’s in this anonymously submitted desk / workbench picture. Good to see SpinRite at work!


“….Arizona Sweet Tea cans! I'm saving them to use as siding for the space shuttle I'm building in my back yard.” - Ricardo

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Steering Wheel Swap/Mod by William

I like the steering wheel from my 95 F150 better then the one from my new 94. The 250’s and 350’s didn’t come with SRS steering wheels, only the F150’s did. I grew quite attached to the better buttons and sleeker design of the SRS steering wheel, and decided to pull it from the old clunker and put it into the new F250 Power Stroke Diesel.

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First we have to take the air bag unit off, which is just 4 10mm nuts on the back of the wheel. You can see it’s pretty bright in the cab, I made it convertible 15 mins before these photo’s.  Gotta love a convertible truck. (So, just a reminder to those out there who want to pull an SRS steering wheel out of a good truck with a battery. Take out the battery!) Anyways. Pull the 4 nuts off, and the unit comes out.

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Unhook the air bag, and unscrew the center bolt that holds it all together. Then throw on the steering wheel puller and pull that suka off!

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It didn’t know what was coming. The 95 has a newer style setup for the controls, which is what proved to soon be the problem. There is a ribbon cable inside which powers the controls, 3 wires, and the airbag, 2 wires. The older steering wheel on my new truck is a different setup. I did not know this till today however.  Lets get to work on that old crappy looking thing.

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Here is the ugly thing. It’s boring and the buttons don’t work very well. I do like the steering wheel cover. Which is going on the old one. I used a white stick, a special tool from my aunt for doing trim and other things. The uses are endless, oh back on track. So there is a clip on the bottom center, pop it open there and pull strait out.

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There is just a 3 prong connector in the old style, with a rotor/prong sorta deal. I’m not sure on the technical name for this, but it’s 3 spring driven pins that touch on the wheel on the left, and make the connection. Yes, I know I didn’t show you how to pull this one off, they are almost identical in removal. Anyways, we have more important fish to fry, cause nothing matches except the spline for the wheel!

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I pulled the ring from the back of the old wheel. It was held in by 3 T25 screws. You can see it fits in the back of the new wheel just fine, but there is a problem.

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The screws don’t line up. I know some Engineer at Ford was sitting there when he did this and said, “this Bill guy in the future is going to have a web sight and show everyone how to fix this issue.” Well, he is right. Cause, I is a Zip Tie Master! They should have certifications for this stuff.

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Open your drawer of Zip Ties, and throw on some Billy Idol. I have a whole drawer on the box devoted to these wonders. No, the Billy Idol isn’t mandatory, but it helps.

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It looked like I needed some leeway and a direction change, so I threw on some starters on the rotor, and then inserted it into the back of the wheel and proceeded to connect it to the most solid structures I could. Unfortunately one was plastic, but It will do. The extensions allowed me to put less stress in certain area’s on the ring. I’d love to explain it, but it seems to only work in my head. Which is true for a lot of things.

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Alright, It’s on there. Cut the flaps and put it in! 26-33 ft lbs says the label. I had to use an extension, so I set it to 33, then torque it in. I disengaged the wheel lock and it spun beautifully! Now for our next issue.

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We have 2 connectors, they are both 3 prongs, and they are both female. In the electronics connector world same sex marriage doesn’t work. We need to make this 2some a 4some with some male connectors. No, I didn’t make a bad joke. Plugging connectors together is Marrying them.  I only had one from the old wheel, and I dug around on the old column and found the same connector as well.

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I checked how the wires worked out and just had to match the colors, thankfully! Twist em up and solder away. I talked about good soldering before, and this is an opportunity to show some more on it.

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See how the solder holds on to the tip of my 5 dollar iron? You don’t need an expensive one, just need to take care of the one you have. The solder must be able to hold onto the tip to transfer heat, cause the solder is the medium. Wires are always a pain to solder, but these turned out good! There is not to much solder on the connection and they are firm and strong.

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I’m a bit to poor for Heat Shrink Tubing, so here is how to properly tape wires with tape. You cut the length you need, and you roll it on. It’s opposite of what you would normally think. To just start the tape and wrap it around. That works if your doing a long distance, or a really large wire. But for small wires, pull some out just longer then your bare area, like above, cut, and then use it sideways. There is no excess or bad taping this way. They look much better when done. Then I threw on a zip tie for a quick finish. To keep zip ties from being sharp, use a knife to cut the tail off, not a pair of side cutters. The knife will cut it flush with the connector if you do it right and it will be safe and not scratch you or other things.

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Plug the connector in, and wait for the rain. Yea, it started pouring right when I got in the truck to plug it in. I did not take it for a test drive, but the horn works. The way it is setup inside, if the horn works. I’m quite sure the rest of it will work. There is only 3 wires. and the horn connects to 2 of the 3 components in the wheel. Then reinstall the air bag system, which we didn’t plug in, cause there is no where too, and because we don’t need it anyways, and your done! Don’t let a simple problem get in your way if the systems are similar. Try and make them work with what you have instead of giving up.

I should re-warn anyone trying to use this article as a How-To is probably not a good idea. This is a listing of what I did to my things, not an article on how to swap your steering wheel. Notice it is listed as a Modification in the title. I took the SRS steering wheel from a junked truck. We will not be responsible for you deploying your air bag due to your own incompetence.

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Lenovo G530 (4446-35U) Review by Brett

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Another Lenovo has made it inside the Midnight Mods HQ, but it’s not a Netbook. No, today we have a G530-444635U laptop with a Dual Core Pentium T4200 (2.00 GHz) CPU, 2 Gigabytes of RAM, Glossy 15.4” Wide XGA display, 160 Gigabyte 5400rpm hard drive, Dual Layer DVD-RW Optical Drive, Webcam (think it’s a Bison 1.3MP), and Windows Vista Home Basic 32bit.

First thing we need to do is get it out of the box and crack it open (to see how pretty it is of course.)

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The packaging is very Lenovo- adequate and efficient. Under the hood, we have the CPU, heat sink, fan, and memory modules under one panel. Nice and easy to get to. The hard drive and MPCI slot each have their own panel. I have no arguments with this layout; it has served very well in the past.

This is the value model in the series, having slightly lower specs on just about everything, but for the price it’s an excellent personal or very small business on a budget computer. The system can handle up to 4 gigabytes of memory, has a sturdy feeling side mounted power jack, front loading Media Card reader (SD, MMC, MS, MS PRO), 4 ports of USB 2.0, long lasting 6 cell battery, and has a SATA interface hard drive.


Really, the only thing I was disappointed about was the responsiveness of the volume buttons after reinstalling the OS (think 20 seconds to go from high to low) and the viewing angle on the webcam, but it’s not really that bad. It’s perfect for a headshot and I’m guessing that’s at least partially because of the facial recognition software (did not test, clean installed Windows as soon as I got it :-) that was preloaded on it. A tip to increase picture quality somewhat: Remove the protective plastic that was put on it for shipping or else people like me are going to laugh at you as if your lens cap was still on.

Overall, I couldn’t find things to complain about. That’s a good thing right? Makes for a short post! Then again, that is why I look to Lenovo for laptops. They seem to be good a delivering solid design without going over budget. So, if your brain screams new laptop, but your wallet disagrees, I’d recommend giving the G530 a spin. It can usually be had for less than $350 when on sale at the big name stores or online.

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No Slip Adventures 1 by William

Time for a new upgrade in the truck. People put things on my dash all the time and they slide off in a turn. You would think they would learn, but they just keep doing it. So, lets fix them. I’m going to try and come up with a few more uses for this material I bought, so stay tuned for more No Slip Adventures.

DshQkStc_001Grip it, or whatever. I chose this at Harbor Freight, cause it was cheep, and it was really thick!!!!!! I’m not much for this type, cause of the holes, but I figured it would work better in the truck. It was 6.50, which is a bit high, but this product really impresses me.




Here is our culprit, the dash. Just a smoothish plastic surface. The turtle is the old system for turning the black truck. If it slides out of the center, then I’m turning to fast, or hard. Well, with the new truck, that system doesn’t work. Even as much as I like putting everyone’s junk that is on my dash on the floor I decided to be nice and fix the situation.

Wow, I must have got into this project, lets fast forward past the whole cutting process (which I forgot to take pictures of.)


You can see the tools I used for this project in the picture. Scissors, a knife, and some scotch tape, because I did not have any two sided tape.

Luckily the roll was as wide as the part on the right, so I just had to cut out a small section. I found out the pattern on the mesh was not square with the length, but I made it work. I set the piece in place, and used the knife to try and get a general shape, cutting it, but not to hard so I didn’t damage the dash. The scissors cleaned it up after that.


I took a strip of tape the width of the .. well, I guess you could say length, but whatever. and then rolled it to make some double sided sticky tape.

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I stuck it in place, and it is currently holding. I did this 3 times on the long piece, and only 2 times in the center. Double sided tape would work much better in this situation, and the dash is textured enough that the tape is easily removable and replaceable or what not. The material used is washable by hand, so if something was to spill on it, this is cleanable! Well, I hope this gives you some idea’s for your own vehicles. this material is holding up great for the last 4 days. The turtle is sort of stuck to it. So it is definitely some good material.

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