So I tried an official BenQ exe again today and it worked...how bizarre!! I don't know what the deal was with the errors, but it appears to be working now, so I'm satisfied.
Burned to a 4x Ritek +R at 8x in under 9min. I don't have any higher speed media or -R's at the moment, so those tests will have to wait. I'll be doing some more message board reading to see what the best media is.
Thanks for everyone's help!
I am a newbie, but I did plenty of research and message board reading before attempting the flash. I wasn't pleased with the performance of the drive as a Philips, so there was good reason for the flash -- it was definitely not done just for fun. I understood the potential consequences, was willing to take the risk, and followed instructions to a cue...just ended up encountering some strange behavior.