News Archive

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Selected links from old news posts:
Charlie's subs
mirror of drazz 9/11 images


March 20, 2011: Since the
OPPO Digital BDP-95 Blu-ray player is now available and has been shipping from inventory for at least a few days, it seems like a good time to get my BDP-95 review posted. The review isn't as long as my BDP-93 review, but that's because a lot of the BDP-93 comments apply to the BDP-95 as well. It's a beast of a player, by the way.

January 6, 2011: Two updates to the site in one week! It's been years since that has happened. This time, the update is on the Star Wars DVD News page, with news about the September 2011 release of all six Star Wars movies on Blu-ray Disc.

January 2, 2011: The OPPO Digital BDP-93 Blu-ray player has been shipping for the last couple weeks, but I finally pulled together my BDP-93 review this past week. It's a very nice player, something that builds handily on the BDP-83's achievements. I also have some setup guides for pairing the BDP-93 with various Outlaw Audio processors and receivers.


August 14, 2010: There's an update to the
Star Wars DVD News page regarding the release of a Blu-ray box set.

January 25, 2010: The news leaked out over the weekend, but today OPPO Digital has released their second Blu-ray player. It is the BDP-80 and I've got a review that I prepared while helping beta test it over the last few months.


June 24, 2009: I've posted a series of
setup guides for Outlaw Audio processors and the OPPO Digital BDP-83. There are separate entries for the Model 990 processor, Model 970 processor (which also works for the Model 1070 receiver), Model 950 processor, and Model 1050 receiver.

May 6, 2009: My BDP-83 review has gotten an update to reflect the formal end to the Early Adopter Program (EAP) and the start of sales to everyone who signed up to the "interest list." Once those sales are complete in the next couple weeks, the player should appear on OPPO's site (although there's a chance they'll need a few weeks to replenish their inventory by that point).

February 26, 2009: I've been off my crutches now for four or five months, and tonight I've got a new review to post. It is for OPPO Digital's BDP-83, a Blu-ray player that I've been beta testing since before I hung up the crutches. The player itself is still in development, so the review will be updated over the next few weeks, but they have launched an Early Adopter Program that greatly alters the scope of my beta testing NDA and allows me to speak fairly freely about the player. Click on the picture below to read more...


August 4, 2008: It's been a long summer, dominated by limited mobility due to a broken leg, but I've finally finished another equipment review: the
URC Complete Control MX-900 universal remote.

May 8, 2008: In a change of pace from the series of disc player reviews that I've been posting lately, I've just posted a speaker review: the Outlaw Bookshelf and LCR Loudspeakers. These handsome little speakers have replaced my Paradigm Reference Studio 60's and Studio CC.

March 13, 2008: My follow-up to the OPPO Digital DV-983H review is now available. This is a comparison of OPPO's three current DVD player offerings (the DV-983H, DV-9801HD, and DV-980H) along with some comments on how they relate to the alternatives offered by the Blu-ray format.

March 10, 2008: I've got a new DVD player review to post today, and I plan to post one more article later this week. Today's review is for the OPPO Digital DV-983H player, a flagship player for OPPO Digital that includes video scaling and deinterlacing based on a pair of Anchor Bay chips. I'll be updating the pictures of the 983H's internals with pictures of a production unit once I receive one (which may be a while, as pre-orders have been intense for this player). The upcoming article will be a comparison of the three "98x-series" playesr from OPPO Digital: the new 983H, the DV-981HD, and the DV-980H.


November 28, 2007: Happy holidays! I've added a couple new home theater equipment reviews this month. The first was the
Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD player, which I picked up back in early June but didn't get around to pulling together a review on until earlier this month. The second was the Panasonic DMP-BD30 Blu-ray player, which we got a couple weeks ago. I just uploaded that review this morning. Between those two players, I am now "format neutral" in the HD format war.

October 18, 2007: I'm back again briefly to report on a new gadget: a three-input HDMI switch from OPPO Digital, the HM-31.

August 1, 2007: It's been a very busy spring and summer, which is why the page has been a bit quiet. I do have a bit of news today, though: I have posted a new home theater equipment review, for the OPPO Digital DV-980H DVD player.

April 2, 2007: It's been a while since my last updates (for my 981HD review, the Child's Play charity, and dad's art show), but we've begun a new project that I figured deserved a mention here. Kate turned two back in February, and we've started work on a swingset/fort for her in the back yard. As with our deck project a few years ago, we're keeping a little photo journal of the progress. Click here for the playground construction progress.


December 11, 2006: My DV-981HD review has gotten a lot of attention already, largely from AVS members. Another site that deserves the attention even more than that nifty little player is the Penny Arcade charity
Child's Play. This charity is entering its fourth year. It began back in 2003 as a nearly spontaneous response to a news article portraying video game fans in a very negative light, and that year it raised over $200,000 for the Seattle Children's Hospital. For the last several years, the charity has worked in conjunction with children's hospitals across the country and around the globe (affiliate hospitals this year include seven outside the US). They're already reached nearly $500,000 this year. If you are planning to do any shopping over at, you might take a moment to check out the wish list for a hospital near you. I've got a banner ad for the charity's main site below if you want a handy link to follow.

December 1, 2006: Dad's show has come down and the art has moved home (except for a couple of pieces that were sold and found new homes). The show page that I put together back in September has been expanded a bit. I've got one other bit of news for today, though: a new home theater equipment review. Click here or on the picture below to read a bit about OPPO Digital's new DVD player, the DV-981HD.

September 4, 2006: Tomorrow, dad's show at the Metal Museum opens to the public. It will be open through November 14. You can click on the image below for a sneak peak at the show.

August 1, 2006: Late yesterday, I posted a review for the Outlaw Audio Model 7500 multichannel amp (my old Model 750 will soon be appearing on Audiogon, since its original recipient fell through). I'm also working on a review of the Roku Labs SoundBridge M500 media player.

June 14, 2006: I just wanted to make a brief post here to say that I've made a number of updates to the site. The Star Wars DVD News page has been updated (thinned out the latest news, added a small entry with pre-orders and a Penny Arcade reference), the Model 990 firmware update page has new notes about yesterday's firmware release, the HDMI FAQ has some notes about the impending arrival of HDMI v1.3, I've put together a page of equipment pictures that I'm hosting for folks at the Outlaw Saloon, and the surround sound processor chart has been updated as part of an ongoing debate about the partial implementation of Pro Logic II and IIx on Emotiva's LMC-1.

June 9, 2006: After numerous debates and questions on the topic from people on the Outlaw Saloon forum, I've written a FAQ about HDMI and its place in home theater. There are now links to it at several relevant points in my Basics of Home Theater guide.

May 25, 2006: If you've been following my Star Wars DVD News page or the many other DVD and Star Wars news outlets this month, you know how weird the situation has gotten. Rather than dwell on that, I'd like to point out that I've updated my Model 990 review and added a separate page to my review to address the new firmware update.

May 3, 2006: There's been a surprising update to the Star Wars DVD News page. It seems that George Lucas has had a change of heart and decided to release the original theatrical cuts of the first three Star Wars movies on DVD this September. It'll be a limited time deal (they will only be available from September 12 to December 31), but it does do what fans have been clamoring for since 1997 – preserve the original form of all three movies on DVD. I never thought I'd see Lucas actually do this, but I'm glad to be proven wrong on this one.

April 5, 2006: The Home Theater section of the site is undergoing some significant updating. There will be updates to the surround processor and DVD player charts in the coming weeks and the groundwork is in place for an HD disc player chart, but aside from those upcoming changes most of the work is done. The Basics of Home Theater section has been largely re-written (including big changes to the wiring diagrams section) and I've added a page for my new Devious Tiny Disc.

March 13, 2006: We did a bit of projecting around the house this weekend. One of those projects was putting up a small shelf in the breakfast room bay window, which gives Becca a good spot for her violets to live. There are a couple pictures of the shelf up on the house pictures page.

February 19, 2006: It's been a couple of months since the front page saw an update. Yesterday was Kate's first birthday, however, so we've got a couple good pictures to offer from that event. The weather tried to throw a wrench in the works with an ice storm, but we went ahead with the festivities in spite of the ice.



December 27, 2005: I hope everyone had an enjoyable holiday weekend. We had lots of food, family, and fun around the Prillaman house. To follow up last week's news post, I've also got a new review – the
Velodyne SMS-1.

December 20, 2005: My christmas has gotten off to an early start this week. Not only did my in-laws give me an iPod Nano as an early Christmas gift Sunday (which I've prepared a rather basic review of), but my wife ordered a Velodyne SMS-1 for me (which showed up on the front porch today while I was getting ready for work after taking the baby to the doctor). The SMS-1 is going to take some time for me to get a good handle on, but I'll be sure to report back with my findings.

December 1, 2005: The holiday season is upon us in earnest now – Thanksgiving turkey has been eaten (even the leftovers) and calendars turned over to December. In light of that, I thought I'd put up a banner to a good holiday cause: Child's Play. Child's Play was started in 2003 by Gabe and Tycho at Penny Arcade as a reaction to one of the many media reports describing video gamers as bloodthirsty fiends, and it invites readers of their comic to donate games, toys, and money to children's hospital around the country. It is a really neat cause that has grown into a huge charity. If you're shopping for Christmas gifts at you might want to pick a nearby hospital from the list and grab something off their wish list.

November 3, 2005: Well, 2005 is just flying by... I've made a couple updates to the Star Wars DVD section of the site recently (most recently my review of the Revenge of the Sith DVD, but also a comparison chart of the different Star Wars DVD's reviewed here). The Star Wars DVD News still gets regular updates, although now that Episode III has arrived and the second Clone Wars cartoon disc is due in about a month there will probably be less activity there for a while. I will be keeping my eyes out for news on Lucasfilm's plans for a six-movie DVD box set (which is almost inevitable at this point), future Star Wars franchise material (such as 3D theatrical or DVD re-issues of the movies or new animated or live-action TV material), and Star Wars on HD.

The latter item is likely to be particularly interesting when Blu-ray and HD-DVD both launch next year. With both formats due in the first half of 2006, consumers are facing a painful format war very reminscent of the VHS/Beta format war. Both formats will arrive within a few months of each other (HD-DVD was due in Q4 2005 but Toshiba was forced to let it slip into early 2006, and Sony's PS3 will offer Blu-ray support when it arrives in the spring of 2006), and up until just last month both formats had near equality in studio support. As of late October, however, many industry observers have started suggesting that the format war may already be decided: seven of the eight major studios have now announced plans to support Blu-ray, while only four have plans to support HD-DVD. Details of how aggressive studio support will be for either format are still hard to come by, but with so many studios behind Blu-ray it seems likely that HD-DVD will have a difficult time building up a good catalog of available titles. Combine that with Blu-ray's larger support among electronics manufacturers and the fact that Sony's PS3 will serve as an entry-level Blu-ray player that should cost half as much (or less) as a dedicated HD-DVD player, and I'm beginning to suspect that Blu-ray has the best chance of success (there's an update to the HD section of my DVD player primer that summarizes the two formats). From the perspective of Star Wars fans, this is good news, as Fox is a Blu-ray supporter and Lucasfilm made some comments back in October about planning to release the movies on that format (although no mention was made about when that might happen).

September 5, 2005: Happy Labor Day, everybody. I've spent much of the day digging through a set of discs sent to my be TR47, which has yielded yet another Star Wars DVD review – the Cowclops/TR47 Definitive Edition anamorphic bootlegs.

August 4, 2005: I've made a brief update to the home theater guide today. In addition to that, there have been several posts on the Star Wars DVD News page and a few new equipment reviews this summer (Outlaw Audio Model 990, Home Theater Master MX-700 remote, and OPPO Digital OPDV971H DVD player). There may be a vew more new items on the site this fall – possibly another equipment review (although nothing is definite yet) and maybe even an update to the Star Wars DVD bootlegs.

May 16, 2005: I posted my Model 990 review yesterday, in case anyone is interested.

May 11, 2005: Expect a new home theater equipment review in the next few days – I've got a new Outlaw Audio Model 990 processor in the equipment rack now.

March 14, 2005: I've updated one picture in the den and added some final notes on last year's kitchen renovation.

March 8, 2005: Things have been quiet here on the site since late January, but there's been a lot going on behind the scenes – particularly the arrival of our daughter, Kate McLain, on February 18.

January 24, 2005: There's been an update to the house pictures – new pictures of the nursery.

January 21, 2005: In our new tradition of lengthy projects, we've nearly finished the nursery. I'll update the house pictures in a week or so once the door and knobs are on the dresser and we've hung at least one or two things on the walls, but here are a couple progress pictures at least. I also added a picture of Cyrus to his page this morning.


January 18, 2005: It may seem quiet around here, but that's partially because things have been pretty busy behind the scenes. The dresser for the nursery is stubbornly nearing completion after several slow-drying coats of paint, curtains are finally up, the crib is all trimmed out, and there's an abundance of distractions at work keeping us occupied as well. I did take a moment to update the Star Wars DVD News page, however.

January 1, 2005: Happy new year, everybody!


December 31, 2004: The year 2004 draws to a close tonight. It's been a pretty significant year around the site, so much so that I took a moment to make some notes about the year

December 27, 2004: I hope everyone had a merry Christmas. We had a white Christmas here for the first time in several decades. Unfortunately, it was all ice rather than snow... In other news, I've recently added a review for an inexpensive JVC camcorder (the GR-D33) that we got ourselves for Christmas.

December 14, 2004: We have a Christmas tree up, although we're still putting decorations on it. I've also added a new Cyrus picture to the cat gallery.

November 30, 2004: There's been a long-overdue update to the house pictures.

November 16, 2004: I've got a couple items to report today. There's a new equipment review in the works, as I am adding a pair of Outlaw Audio Model 200 monoblock amps to the system. Even more exciting, we have some new pictures from around the house, specifically of the nursery. We're still painting some furniture (bookcase and dresser/ changing table) and need to make some curtains, but the room itself is ready. Fabric for the curtains and crib bumper pads can be seen leaning in a corner (third pic).

November 5, 2004: I've got a couple changes to the Star Wars pages here on the site. Not only is there some information on the new teaser trailer for Revenge of the Sith in the Star Wars DVD News page, but there's even a change to the Star Wars DVD covers (thanks to a hosting service change by my host that allows me more bandwidth). Also, if you haven't checked out Penny Arcade's second annual Child's Play gift drive, take a look – it'll start to get you in the holiday spirit.

October 19, 2004: It's not even Halloween yet, but already the Christmas season is warming up. On the one hand, that means more catalogs in the mailbox each day. On the other hand, a few good things can be found, such as Penny Arcade's second annual Child's Play.

It's a pretty cool cause – video game fans from around the world donate gifts or money to one of five children's hospitals. The Penny Arcade guys (two gamers who make a web comic about video games and whatever else occurs to them) came up with the idea last year in reaction to an article claiming that video games were training the nation's youth to be killers, and in less than a month they collected around $250,000 in gifts and money for Seattle Children's Hospital. This time around, they've teamed with five hospitals and are going to do it all over again.

September 24, 2004: It's been a big week for the home theater system. The new DVD player has settled in nicely, and the Star Wars DVD's showed up (which may help bring about a significant reduction in activity on the Star Wars DVD News page, although with Episode III around the corner and a few more DVD's due there will likely still be more news cropping up).

September 17, 2004: There's a new equipment review up: the Yamaha DVD-S1500 universal DVD player. There are a couple of user interface weaknesses, but overall it's a very enjoyable piece of equipment.

September 14, 2004: More reviews and articles keep cropping up about the upcoming Star Wars DVD release. A&E ran an abbreviated version of the new documentary "Empire of Dreams" on Sunday night (it will be re-run at noon Eastern Time on Sunday, September 19, for anybody who wants to see it), and Fox is running an ad for the DVD's this week.

Looks like good flying weather today...

September 9, 2004: There's been an update today to the Star Wars DVD New page, as the first online review of the trilogy DVD set (due in less than two weeks) has appeared.

August 30, 2004: We finally reached a point this weekend where the kitchen feels finished – the remaining tidbits are minor, and none require contractor involvement. The countertpos are still somewhat damaged, but a combination of touch-up work and a rebate have settled that issue without further replacement.

August 13, 2004: Ah, Friday the 13th. There has been an update to the kitchen journal reflecting the completion of all contractor work associated with the renovation.

August 9, 2004: I didn't get the Friday update to the kitchen journal until this morning, and then I added an entry for today right after that. It's been almost exactly five months since the demolition started, but we're finally beginning to get down to the last loose ends.

August 6, 2004: Expect an update to the kitchen renovation page later today or over the weekend: the contractors returned this morning with replacement countertops in order to finish the installation. Carrying on our long-standing tradition of nonsense, the countertop cutters mis-read the dimensions and cut the big piece too long and then chipped a corner while trying to correct the mistake. It's been patched back together in a manner that is satisfactory enough for the corner behind the TV, and they have received permission to continue the installation. I suspect the install work will overflow into Monday, but I have a somewhat delusional hope of having the kitchen finished when Becca gets back from the gulf coast Monday evening.

After Becca left last night, I tossed yet another set of Star Wars bootleg DVD's that I received recently in the DVD player and looked over them a bit. The result is a new disc review on my Star Wars DVD page, this time looking at some anamorphically encoded bootlegs of the 1993 Definitive Edition and comparing them to the two other Definitive Edition bootlegs I've seen. I plan to make only two or three more changes to the lengthy series of pages of Star Wars DVD reviews that have developed here: a comparison of the official trilogy discs to some of the bootlegs, a brief note about Revenge of the Sith when it arrives in late 2005, and some changes to my conclusions to offer one fan's perspective on the bootleg market (mine, to be exact). There will always be new bootlegs making the rounds, but we appear to have reached a point where the most quality-conscious bootleggers have gone as fas as they can with quality and content.

July 22, 2004: Today is the one year anniversary of "hurricane Elvis" (the local news media's new name for our brief but devastating wind storm), leaving us without power for ten and a half days. Thankfully, we've got a mostly clear day today with no threat of rain.

It's been a month and a half since I last posted a link to the kitchen renovation here. That's because it's been that long since we had any progress. Tomorrow they come out to start replacing our damaged floor. The countertop work will have to wait a bit longer, since the largest replacement piece was damaged in the warehouse and has to be re-ordered. We're nineteen weeks into a project that was expected to take ten or eleven weeks, and it will be at least two more weeks before we are finished.

July 1, 2004: No new activity on the kitchen since about three weeks ago, although we are pushing to have the floor replaced by the end of next week and it sounds like the final cabinet and countertop work will take place during the week of July 12. In other news, I've added a new disc review to my Star Wars DVD page.

June 10, 2004: We've been saying over and over again that we're nearly done with the kitchen. In a more realistic turn, we are revising that to say that we will be done with the kitchen eventually. A series of installation snafus that include significant damage to the brand new floor and a pair of mistakes in cutting the countertop have led to a change in contractors and an additional three week delay. I had expected to be moved in by around Memorial Day, but now I doubt that we'll have the space really finished until after the Fourth of July. We will be getting the appliances and plumbing installed tomorrow, however, which will let us use the kitchen while we wait.

May 28, 2004: It's been just over a week since the last cabinet was delivered. After a day and a half of work, all of the cabinets are installed and the kitchen renovation page updated accordingly. We may still have our entire kitchen in boxes and on card tables in the dining room, but at least we're starting to see some significant progress again.

May 21, 2004: After almost two weeks of inactivity, we're back on track – I updated the kitchen renovation page last night after the final piece of cabinetry successfully arrived.

May 7, 2004: It's been a busy couple of months, and we're not through yet. I updated the kitchen renovation page with our latest bit of news, which is unfortunately bad: a second delay in starting the cabinet installation because the pot and pan drawers that were damaged the first time were nearly destroyed in shipping the second time and must be replaced again. I've also added an equipment review in the home theater section: a Zenith C32V37 32" HDTV.

April 27, 2004: It's been almost a month since the last update here. Since then, we've made significant progress on the kitchen renovation. By this time next month, we should be basically finished with the kitchen.

April 1, 2004: There have been several updates to the Star Wars DVD News page in recent days, and of course the kitchen renovation is in full swing (demo done except for pulling down the last of the ceiling, electrical work in progress, sheet rock and HVAC work scheduled for next week). We'll be ready to paint in just over a week. The cabinet delivery is scheduled for April 26, so by Memorial Day weekend we should be moved back in.

March 16, 2004: Last weekend we started the demolition work for our kitchen renovation. It's going to be a long process, though.

March 12, 2004: Planning for the kitchen renovation continues (including perhaps a bit more manual labor on our part to help keep costs down). There is also a new equipment review in the home theater section: an Outlaw Audio LFM-1 subwoofer.

March 1, 2004: There's a lot going on around here -- work's been crazy, plus we're still getting settled into the house. There's a kitchen renovation in our future, and over the weekend Becca got the tiles she'll use to make her tile backsplash behind the stove. Here are a couple samples:

February 10, 2004: Star Wars fans may want to take a peek at the update to my Star Wars DVD News page...

February 9, 2004: OK, so it took a little over a month, but we've updated with a few pictures from around the house. The books will probably stay in their boxes for a few more weeks, but we're working on some roman shades for the french doors and surround speakers have all been wired up through the attic. The Axiom M3ti's ended up as surrounds with the pair of Paradigm dipoles moved to surround back due to installation constraints.

January 8, 2004: After several busy days, we are into the new house and getting settled in. It's a great house, and while we're still getting unpacked and some repairs finished, we are very pleased with it. Pictures will follow soon so our out-of-town friends can get a look.

The relocated home theater will be getting at least one upgrade in the process of the move. In the next week or so, I'll be replacing the single surround back speaker (a Paradigm Reference Studio/ADP v2) with a pair of Axiom Audio M3ti surround back speakers.

January 2, 2004: We took possession of the new house yesterday, and will be moving out of the old house tomorrow.


December 24, 2003: Merry Christmas!

December 12, 2003: Just got back from closing on a new house. We're still working on selling the old house and we won't take possession of the new one for a few more weeks, but we are looking forward to the new home.

November 20, 2003: There's been another update to the Star Wars DVD news page today, as well as a pair of covers for the Star Wars Holiday Special.

November 6, 2003: Star Wars fans may want to check out the latest update on my Star Wars DVD news page.

October 26, 2003: Halloween approaches, and so Becca carved a pumpkin this evening. We now have a jack-o'-lantern keeping watch at the front door.

October 20, 2003: We're back from vacation, trying to get back to work and a normal routine. We spent a week or so in Texas, visiting several friends and driving a lot. We took a few pictures along the way, and I've added them to the family photo album as separate sets of pictures from Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio. I also got to take a look at some of the video I've archived with the DMR-E80 on a 50" HDTV, and the S-VHS material transferred remarkably well. The VHS looks good, too, but the extra resolution of S-VHS really paid off.

October 8, 2003: Just a quick note: the DVD Player Chart has been updated, with a whole new batch of players. The Denon DVD-2200 sounds a lot like what I was looking for in early 2002 when I settled on my RA60.

October 6, 2003: Happy birthday, dad. And say hello to a new equipment review: the Panasonic DVD-S35 entry-level DVD player.

There's been a fair bit of activity on the site lately (reviews of the MX-500, DMR-E80, and some Star Wars DVD's, plus the big July storm and the DVD-S35 review I've just posted today), and as a result there were a bunch of very brief news items floating around here. I've cleared off the latest news this morning, as you can see, and moved all the old stuff to the Archived News page.

September 24, 2003: Another Star Wars tidbit -- some improvements to the DVD Review Page and a new review.

September 17, 2003: There is an update in the Star Wars DVD News page this morning.

September 13, 2003: It is hard to believe that it's been five years since Uncle Jim left.

August 19, 2003: The price for the MX-500 universal remote has been dropping steadily all summer and has now fallen below $100 at Bluedo. If you are looking for a universal remote, I strongly recommend it.

August 13, 2003: Another update to the DMR-E80 review today, as I figured out a somewhat-documented trick for chapter stop setup on DVD-R's and revised part of the Recording section accordingly.

August 11, 2003: We spent yesterday in the yard, getting the debris cleaned up and mowing. The yard no longer looks like a disaster area, and we have a relatively respectable brush pile at the curb. With that done, we are basically recovered from the storm. I've refined and wrapped up my review of the DMR-E80 DVD recorder -- it's a pretty cool product, although there are some quirks and weaknesses that I think could be easily fixed to make it even more useful. I also added a few pictures to dad's gallery.

August 5, 2003: We are starting to get back to our normal lives, two weeks after the storm hit. As part of that, I've (mostly) finished a review of the Panasonic DMR-E80 DVD recorder.

August 2, 2003: Ten and a half days. Almost 253 hours. That's how long the power was out at our house. We got our power back around 7:45 last night. It's a wonderful thing. The work crews are doing a great job (even if some people have questioned how the utility company has used them).

July 25, 2003: Just want to say that we're all still here, although we still don't have power (I'm updating the site from work). A nasty storm came through town around 6:30 or 7:00 Tuesday morning (7/22), and the straight-line winds (sustained winds clocked between 60MPH and 100MPH) pretty much crippled the city. I've got a few pictures of the carnage that I will post soon, but I keep forgetting to bring the USB cable for the digital camera up to work and for some reason the computer at home isn't cooperating -- may have something to do with the complete and utter absence of electricity...

UPDATE: Here are a few pictures from around town.


Oh, and expect a new home theater equipment review next month (to join the recent MX-500 review), assuming I get power back.

June 22, 2003: It's been a while since there's been a new update here, but today I've got an equipment review for the Home Theater Master MX-500 universal remote.

May 19, 2003: I've added a Star Wars DVD cover to the site (for the COPS-style spoof Troops). I also submitted a cover for season seven of The X-Files to

April 24, 2003: The landscaping around the deck is starting to enjoy the spring weather -- we've got a few new pictures of it along with three new cat pictures. I've also re-arranged the deck pictures into two pages: deck building and the deck itself.

April 8, 2003: We've got several updates today. First, there's the new kitchen floor.

There's also an update to the Model 950 review and I've updated some of the Star Wars on DVD information to reflect a recent policy change by DVD Cover Art.

March 23, 2003: Our week-long project to get rid of the antique stove is complete.

March 19, 2003: After a very productive Tuesday evening, we have tile up behind the oven. Grout and a hood will follow later this week.

February 25, 2003: As happens every once in a while, we got a little snow early this morning. Not a lot, mind you, but a bit. I grabbed a few pictures of it this morning, and uploaded them along with a couple new cat pictures.


February 7, 2003: There's a brief Star Wars DVD update this afternoon.

February 3, 2003: Well, my first new car (a 1997 Ford Probe) just drove off, no longer mine. It's very strange not seeing it in the driveway, as I've had the car since several years before I bought this house. While I was waiting for the buyer to arrive, I grabbed a few final pictures of it.


January 28, 2003: There's been a slight update to the Home Theater and DVD page -- just a format "upgrade."

January 23, 2003: The pre/pro chart broke 10,000 page views some time early this morning, less than a year after I first posted it.

There's been a little housekeeping in the Home Theater Primer, including the revision of one wiring diagram and a few other tweaks. I also added a few good Star Wars DVD covers here last night. The News Archive link has a new home over to the lower left, under the Links. I need to clean-up some abandoned files around the site (near the quota on my file space) and I may putter around with DVD cover art some more, but otherwise this round of site updates is done.

January 22, 2003: It's not done, but I've made a first pass through the Saloon Links (a little ahead of schedule).

January 21, 2003: New versions of the pre/pro and DVD player charts are up. Probably won't do a lot else for a while; expect the Saloon Links page to be next, but that will be in a couple of weeks.

January 20, 2003: I've updated the Links and DVD Information Links pages today, and will be working on the pre/pro and DVD player charts and Saloon Links pages in the coming weeks. A review of the Home Theater Primer will probably come after that. The RA60 review has also been updated to reflect the addition of a subwoofer last fall.

January 17, 2003: Wow. 2003. Where does the time go? This site has been up now in some form for almost three years, and it's changed quite a bit along the way. I don't have any major changes in store in the foreseeable future, but I'll likely be updating some content (the pre/pro and DVD player charts will hopefully be revised in the next couple months, the Saloon Links will be getting an update, and I'll be looking over the Home Theater Primer for any errors, omissions, or outdated material) and perhaps adding a little (DVD cover art, possibly) along with a little site and file housekeeping. I made one subtle change back around New Year's, replacing the old front page background with a new image -- the old was a rendering of some ductwork in a mechanical room I designed about four years ago, and the new is two views of a project I'm working on right now.

I've updated the Outlaw Audio Model 950 review this morning, complete with a few pictures and some thoughts about the "blue dot" revision. Several of my DVD covers have worked their way through onto, but a few are still only available here. I may tinker around some more with DVD covers this winter, depending of course on how much time I actually have to spare for such endeavors...


December 25, 2002: Merry Christmas! Hopefully your holidays have been as happy as ours have been.

I've made a late-night update to the Star Wars DVD covers, adding inserts for the Five Star discs (one set that matches the standard gold Five Star cover art and another set that matches the black cover art) that include a chapter list for each disc. The chapter lists are now included in my reviews of the Five Star discs. The inserts will probably be added to the database at eventually, as well.

Merry ChristmasDecember 10, 2002: The holidays are upon us, and things have been hopping around here. I thought I'd try to find a minute to post a picture of our tree and wish everyone a merry Christmas and a safe, happy holiday season.

October 28, 2002: I got a slightly belated birthday present Saturday -- a dedication plaque for our deck that dad made for us.

October 14, 2002: There are several updates to the page this morning. First, there is the picnic table that we built for the deck over the weekend. With the table done, we are finished building. Tools have been returned, leftover lumber sorted (so we can return some), and we now have to figure out what to do with our weekends...

Next weekend is taken care of, though. Anyone around Memphis, TN, should be aware that the National Ornamental Metal Museum is holding their annual Repair Days Weekend starting this Friday. Craftsmen from around the country will be on-hand to repair most anything made of metal. Prices are good, proceeds go to the museum, and it's great fun to wander the grounds of the museum and watch folks working. (Oh, and the museum also has what some people -- including a fellow named Mark Twain -- claim is the best view of the Mississippi for hundreds of miles).

Anyone interested in audio might find this little challenge interesting.

I have added a bit to the Star Wars DVD Reviews page -- a brief look at the "Five Star" bootlegs.

October 9, 2002: The Star Wars DVD News page has links to some early Episode II DVD reviews that appeared online this morning. Oh, and Outlaw Audio has made it through all of the pre-orders on the Model 950 pre/pro and are now shipping orders from the warehouse as the orders are placed.

October 6, 2002: Happy birthday, dad!

There has been a big update to the deck page today, with pictures from this weekend's work. It took us five weekends (counting the weekend that we bought lumber and staked out where to dig), but we are finished.

October 2, 2002: I made a small addition to the Wiring Diagrams section of the Home Theater Guide this morning and fixed a typo on one of the diagrams.

September 30, 2002: The floor of the deck is done. We only worked on Sunday (had several things going on Saturday). We've got the arbor started -- there are a few of the 2x2 pieces on top, but they're just there to figure out what spacing looks best.

I also updated the Star Wars DVD News page late last week with an official list of the deleted scenes from Attack of the Clones. There is also an interesting comparison of widscreen vs. pan-and-scan up at

September 24, 2002: Yep, we did some more work on the deck over the weekend. I haven't posted any pictures from Sunday yet, but I added some pictures from Saturday's work and by the time we quit Sunday we were able to get the flooring down everywhere except at the back door (over the concrete step and on the small area next to it).

September 16, 2002: A little more Star Wars DVD News, this time a preliminary list of the deleted scenes on the Attack of the Clones DVD. Also, I've still got a local mirror of the preview trailer.

September 15, 2002: Another weekend, another deck update. We made some good progress over the weekend -- got holes dug and concrete poured on Saturday and posts and some framing up on Sunday.

September 14, 2002: Here's wishing for good flying weather, Uncle Jim.

September 12, 2002: With the recent additions to the Star Wars DVD News page, I decided that it needed at least a little reorganization. I tidied it up a bit late yesterday so it isn't quite so random. I've also got a mirror of the Episode II DVD preview trailer.

September 11, 2002: The pictures taken by drazz (a user at Shacknews) this time last year are still mirrored here. The Shack was one of the only sources of information that I had at work that day.

Afternoon update: LucasFilm is getting the stage set for the DVD release of Episode II -- I've got some info on a four-minute disc preview trailer up on the Star Wars DVD News page. Enjoy.

September 9, 2002: Star Wars fans might want to drop by the Star Wars DVD News page. Came across something interesting via Digital Bits this afternoon...

September 8, 2002: Yesterday we started staking out our new deck. We'll be spending the next several weekends working on it.

September 6, 2002: That was quick. Outlaw has resumed shipping 950's to people on the reservation list. When they quit back in late May or early June, they'd hoped to clear out the list in four to six weeks, I believe.

September 5, 2002: Some good Outlaw Audio-related news today. Reports have started appearing on the Outlaw Saloon forum of people receiving replacement Model 950's. Once the people who have requested replacements are taken care of, Outlaw will start filling the remainder of the orders on the reservation list.

September 3, 2002: Late last week, I updated my Outlaw Audio Model 950 review to include some comments on the Outlaw's changes to lower the noise floor and address concerns some owners had with a hiss. It's definitely quieter. Also, we hope to start working on the deck some time this month, depending on weather and schedules. Here is a little rendering of what we intend to do. It's not perfect (missing a board here and there), but it gets the idea across. The sections that look like yellow glass will be lattice panels, and there will be vines growing across the top of the deck eventually).

August 27, 2002: There have been a few recent site additions this month. I've posted reviews of my SVS 25-31PCi subwoofer and MrSandman's "SandCables" speaker cables.

August 5, 2002: As promised, I've added a few new cat pictures to the photo galleries. I also added a gallery for the guest bedroom, since we ripped up the carpet in there this weekend (and painted the ceiling and baseboards). We've re-arranged the room a bit, in part to make it easier to park our bikes until we get the deck built this fall. It actually makes the room feel bigger.

August 1, 2002: What is it about the first of the month and site updates? OK, I've got a few tid-bits for the site this morning. First, there's some news about Episode II's impending arrival on DVD. Second, I'll probably be adding a couple of pictures to the photo gallery (one or two cat pictures). Also, I will be adding a couple of items to the home theater section near the end of this month. I've been using a set of speaker cables made by MrSandman of the Outlaw Saloon forum (I'm calling them "SandCables" at the moment), and plan to do some swapping out between them and the TMC cables that I had been using. Look for a report on my findings. So far, I've been impressed with the MrSandman's cables. I also hope to add a subwoofer to the system in the next couple weeks.

July 1, 2002: Another month, another site update. We picked up an inexpensive digital camera last month, and so I've added some pictures to the Photo Album. There's a new picture of the exterior of the house (to replace the one from three years ago, taken the day I closed on the house) and a bunch of new cat pictures (including a separate gallery for pictures of both cats). I may also have a few additions to the home theater section in the next month or two: a do-it-yourself speaker cable experiment and perhaps one other surprise.

June 5, 2002: Things have been busy around here lately, but I've grabbed a couple minutes to do a little tweaking to the site. I've got a draft of my DVD-RA60 review posted now (and an Equipment Review page under Home Theater and DVD). I added some notes to the Model 950 Review a week or two ago, as well.

May 20, 2002: Another little addition to the Star Wars on DVD news page. Still just a rumor, but it seemed worth passing along.

May 17, 2002: I've made an update to the Star Wars on DVD news page this morning. We saw Attack of the Clones last night and thoroughly enjoyed it. I'll probably also be posting some of my thoughts on the Panasonic DVD-RA60 DVD/DVD-Audio player in a month or so, and one of these days I'll add some final notes to my Model 950 Review.

May 3, 2002: My updated Model 950 arrived Tuesday morning (4/30), and the original unit is UPS'ing its way back to California. I'll be adding to my Model 950 Review some time next week. Oh, and it's now just under two weeks until Attack of the Clones opens -- I've updated my Star Wars on DVD news page with a couple of online reviews that have appeared in the last twelve hours or so, and the latest word from The Digital Bits about the eventual release of AotC on DVD -- expect it around October or November of this year!

April 16, 2002: I've added a bunch of pictures to the gallery: the tile backsplash in the kitchen, the new chair in the study, the new couch and rug in the living room, a new picture of Cyrus, and the Model 950.

April 9, 2002: The first few 950's have arrived in people's homes, but large-scale shipping appears to be on hold while Outlaw chases a particularly difficult-to-reproduce bug. While everyone's waiting, I felt that it would be worthwhile to go ahead and get at least some feedback together for the people who are waiting -- so check out my Model 950 Review. It's a work in progress, as I'll be updating it from time to time for the next couple weeks as I put more time on it.

April 6, 2002: After a long wait, my Outlaw Audio Model 950 pre/pro arrived this morning. I've updated the system page, and will be making additions to the pre/pro chart (and the DVD player chart) as well as posting some of my thoughts about the 950 in the next week.

March 17, 2002: We've been working on a tile backsplash behind the kitchen sink this weekend, so I hadn't had a chance to put anything up until now, but I got an e-mail late Friday night regarding my reservation for an Outlaw Audio Model 950 pre/pro -- I'll be able to officially confirm my reservation in just over a week, and I hope to get it shortly afterward. Also, I hope to add a few more pictures to the photo album later this month (got the scanner working with XP last weekend).

February 20, 2002: Want to see something cool? How about some in-wall speakers and subwoofers?

February 5, 2002: I've added some honeymoon pictures (see the photo album) -- San Francisco, Muir Woods, and Alcatraz. We've gotten some more wedding pictures back, so I may add to the wedding gallery later this month. I also updated the pre/pro chart last week. Hopefully I'll be able to add some first-hand feedback on the Outlaw Model 950's performance soon, as it sounds like they're getting close to being ready to ship. The site re-design has worked out well; I even found and got rid of a bug in some of the image galleries that was upsetting Netscape. Now that I've got a computer at the house running Linux as a workstation, I'll be checking to make sure that the site displays correctly with Netscape, Mozilla, and Konqueror.

January 25, 2002: I've adjusted the front page layout some again, to allow it to print legibly. Also started a wedding gallery. That should complete the site re-design. I'll add pictures to the wedding gallery and start a honeymoon gallery as I get pictures, and I may review some of the home theater content to see how much has become outdated.

January 24, 2002: Busy, busy. Spent my lunch hour making some adjustments to the site, mainly some format changes to picture galleries and adding our wedding rings to dad's Art Gallery. I've pretty much settled on this format for the front page (although I may still change my mind to leave more room for the news section), and have the site pretty well tweaked to suit me. I'll be adding wedding and honeymoon pictures before long (got to get some film developed, but I've already got a few wedding pictures from my parents' digital camera). Also, I added a permanent link to the Pre/Pro Chart on the Home Theater and DVD page.

January 23, 2002: I'm planning to implement the first piece of a slight re-design of the front page in the next week or so. I've got three ideas (1, 2, 3) that I'm considering -- leaning toward 2 but I may go with 3.

January 22, 2002: The wedding went great, and we enjoyed our week in San Francisco. Now it's back to work... I plan to revise the "Becca and Jim's Stuff" section in the next couple weeks, and I'll probably be adding wedding and honeymoon pictures at that time. In the meanwhile, I've made some additions to the pre/pro and receiver chart that should pretty well complete it (aside from updating a few numbers when the Outlaw 950 is officially released) -- I'll be merging it in to the home theater section eventually.

January 10, 2002: The wedding day approaches -- this will be the last news post until after we return from our honeymoon. In the meanwhile, the long-delayed web page for the office has been approved and is now available to the world. I'll eventually add this to the home theater section of the site, but for now I'll put a link to this pre/pro and receiver comparison chart here. It is the result of a discussion on the forum at Outlaw Audio's site.

January 2, 2002: The new year has arrived. Still waiting for word on a shipping date for the Model 950, but it sounds like it's getting close. I don't plan to do too much in the way of big changes to the site this year, but I may try to jazz up the front page a bit (simplify it some, cut out some of the wordy stuff, ...). Hopefully I'll even be able to add some pieces to dad's gallery, since he's got a slide adapter for his digital camera now. Any changes beyond the occasional news post are at least a month off, however, although a new office web site may appear in the next week or so. The folks in charge just have to decide what they want on the front page...


December 25, 2001: Merry Christmas!

Model 950 - alpha unitDecember 14, 2001: Well, as of around 9:05 last night, I'm on the reservation list for an Outlaw Audio Model 950 pre/pro. Some time in the next few weeks (hopefully before the end of the month, if all goes well), Outlaw will start shipping the first units.

December 5, 2001: I haven't made any major changes to the site in a while, but I have added a couple of pictures of Hagrid and made some additions and changes to the Cables section of the Home Theater Guide (including my personal experience now that I've completed my cable upgrades and a comparison of several cables I've been using lately). I'll be making a few more updates later this month: a couple of pictures of Cyrus, some info on the Outlaw Model 950 pre/pro (which I hope to have in my hands before Christmas), and maybe an update to the pictures of the home theater. It won't be much, but after it's done you can probably count on not seeing much else happen here until late January or early February -- I've got something called a wedding on my calendar for January 12. :-)

November 19, 2001: OK, a news post again. Last week I put up some new pictures of the cats. I'm also probably going to tweak the home theater system in the next month or so, so expect some changes there as well as maybe a couple new notes in the home theater guide.

If you are looking for a good movie to watch in the next few weeks, give Harry Potter a try. It's a lot of fun, especially if you've read the book (I've heard it described as a companion to the book, which is sort of true). Plus it is supposed to have the new trailer for Star Wars.

October 18, 2001: It's been a while since I updated here, but with the release of the new Star Wars DVD I've taken some time to make some revisions to the Star Wars on DVD page. I have some thoughts on the very nice new Phantom Menace disc, as well as some of the various bootlegs that are still pretty common online. I'm also leaving the ribbon and mirror of drazz's images around.

September 14, 2001: Flying High.

September 13, 2001: The ribbon to the left will be hanging around the page indefinitely, as a small show of support for everyone affected by the atrocities Tuesday morning. I came across it at The Digital Bits (they got it from one of their readers).

September 11, 2001: There's all sorts of news on the web today about the upcoming Star Wars DVD, due in stores on October 16. I don't have time to post a full update on it (haven't even had time to read most of it), but I'll add links to some of the major sources on the Star Wars DVD page. The good news: it's a great DVD (good transfer, reference quality audio, and some very good extras) and Episode II will hit DVD late next year at the same time the VHS is released. The bad news: Episode II will be the last DVD until after Episode III, when the Episode II disc will be released and Lucas will re-visit the original trilogy. On a darker note, there's also a lot of news on the web today about the disaster at the World Trade Center -- so much so that is inaccessible.

UPDATE: I've mirrored a set of pictures taken by drazz, a user at ShackNews, who is 11 miles from the World Trade Center. The pictures can be found here.

September 6, 2001: While I've been home sick today, I've added a couple of files to the site, pictures taken with my dad's new digital camera, for those friends who are interested in digital cameras (or Becca's ring, the test subject for the camera's first pictures). They can be found here and here. Patience or a broadband connection are recommended if you want to view these two pictures, though -- I haven't re-sized them, so they are very large files.

August 15, 2001: This will likely be the last news post here for a bit; work is getting really hectic again, and since I've got the revisions to the page pretty well done now (I've added the wiring diagrams) I probably won't do much around here for a month or two. In the mean time, I am involved in the design of a web site for a local church at the moment, and am also beginning to put together a new site for work (the current OGCB site is purely a placeholder, and has been there an embarrassingly long time).

August 13, 2001: OK, another short news post. I've continued my work on the Home Theater Guide, and have pretty much everything except the wiring diagrams done.

August 10, 2001: I've got a couple minutes to spare here before delivering some stuff for work, so I'm going to post a quick update. I've started revising the Home Theater Guide. The old guide has been split into sections, and I've added an intro and improved on the receiver section. I'll be revising the speakers, displays, DVD players, and cabling sections in the next week or two (and transferring some of the notes I currently have in the Pro-Logic and DD/DTS system descriptions to the guide), as well as adding sections on other audio/video gear and some sample wiring diagrams.

August 8, 2001: Yep, another news post. Third one in a week! Just wanted to post here that I've updated all the image galleries (the house pictures, cats, and the home theater system) to the final version of the new format. Everything should work. Next step: a couple of "front end" tweaks, and some updating of the home theater information section.

August 7, 2001: Just wanted to say that I updated the Star Wars on DVD page with the title for Episode II. It's been all over the news for a day or so now, but I've got it here just in case you missed it. I am also starting to think about continuing my site improvements (particularly updating and improving the home theater/DVD section, now that I've more or less finished my hardware and cabling upgrades for the year). I hope to clean up the Home Theater Information section and add to it some, as well as "finalize" my current system once I get the last couple cables I've ordered in place.

August 2, 2001: Not much new on the site itself (I've started revising the way I do image galleries and have a basic interface I like, but that's as far as I've gotten -- I still need to clean up the interface some), but I just wanted to pop in here and say that I now have a stamp! What, you ask? What's so special about $0.34 worth of paper and adhesive? Wrong stamp -- I got my P.E. (Professional Engineer) stamp today; the state of Tennessee gave me my license number about a week ago, making me officially a professional engineer. There's something really odd about seeing "James R. Prillaman" across the top of a stamp. :-)

July 25, 2001: I've been thinking about a site re-design for a while, and have now begun one. This is the beginning of the re-design and reorganization of the site. A lot of it is purely cosmetic for now, but there will be some additional content later as well as a generally better structure to the whole site. I plan to dress up the graphics throughout the site, add to some of the home theater reference information, improve the interface on the image galleries, and generally come up with a more consistant look for the site.

email For anyone who wants to e-mail me, will take care of that.


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