After some while, I succeeded in flashing an app into my new Photon (the blinky light, of course). I knew this much would work, when I noticed the Android app in my Galaxy S4 showed the Tinker screen when it persistently failed to do so previously. After doing this and verifying the running of the sample app the Android app has now reverted to not showing Tinker and leaving me perplexed as to why it would work once, and never again after that. I was able to also finally rename my Photon (Loki) where a week ago that was not possible after initial connection. I cannot rename Loki any more, even if I completely remove the app and factory reset the Photon.
After wiping the Photon and redoing the initial configuration, the cloud server re-imposes the renaming I had done previously, when that was not what was expected. My hope was that whatever fugue state the system was in would be reset by a complete factory wipe of the Photon and redo of the firmware.