It's time for me to swallow my pride and admit that I killed my Chromebook. Oh, okay, so maybe it's not really dead, but it might as well be. I guess, technically speaking, it's in a persistant vegetative state - like a coma.
For those who don't yet know, there's a hack circulating the web that will supposedly allow you to shorten the 30 second delay at boot that comes with developer mode to 2-3 seconds with minimal risk of problems. You just have to flash the Read-only firmware. Well, verily, I say unto you, "Don't believe the pipe!" (RIP, Richard). It's a lie!
I wish to state for the record that I'm not exactly a noob at flashing EEPROMs. I've been flashing devices of some sort for probably 35 years and have never bricked anything that I couldn't recover ... until this Chromebook! I flashed the patched firmare and everything seemed to go perfectly. There was no indication of any sort of problem, so I rebooted and ... nada. It hasn't booted up since. It powers on and after 20 seconds or something, the fan kicks in, but thats all it ever does. Now, perhaps, you get the coma analogy. The light comes on, but there's nobody home.
So 2 weeks, $60 in gizmos and probably 120 hours of research and hacking later, all I can say is: Kids, don't try this at home! Please!!