I'm back with some good news. It bothered me that I was able to load a sketch one time but only once. So I kept playing with it. I connected a 9 volt supply to the Bluno and successfully loaded a sketch. Disconnect the 9 volt supply and it fails. Reconnect the supply and it succeeds. After programming, the Bluno runs fine with the USB cable supplying power but will not reliably write the flash. BTW - this is true using my Laptop and my deskside PC. Apparently, since writing flash requires additional power, the USB supplied power is marginal.
So maybe if others see the same problem and this will help them.