Actually, I think the 285 is a better unit than the 283 Jayson. The guts of the two are pretty much the same though, the 285 just has a zoom head. The only other real difference is that the thyristor that comes with the 285 has manual output settings where the 283's thyristor does not.
I've had a 285 for around 13 years now and it still works like a champ. I've had to take it apart a couple times to solder the wires back onto the flash tube from overheating it a few times. But it still works, even though I had to poor water out of it after shooting the aftermath of a tornado about 10 years ago.
Anyway, check this blog out. http://www.strobist.blogspot.com/
I think it should be required reading for all photographers.