Well, this is getting rather lengthy, but I'm hangin' in there as this might assist others in a similar situation.
Thank you to @allObjects and @Gordon in their responses above as their insight provided enough to resolve what is going on.
I'm replying in several more manageble chunks to make review easier and as I'm not sure of the reply char count max.
There were three separate simultaneous situations going on:
1) A repeatable project code file load native IDE anomaly
that occurs when uploading using the Right-hand text-editor pane, when:
causing the upload process to not complete, that then causes repeatable error:
3) 'Unable to retrieve board information. Connection Error?'
As the IDE freezes, the only way to continue is to close the IDE and power down the connected device
Eighteen months ago, I had a single SK6812 Neopixel demo working powered by a Pico using code fragments that are now superceeded by the 'neopixel' module.
ref old Neopixel commands (circa Jan 2017)
// Note: GRB not RGB
SPI2.send4bit([255,0,0], 0b0001, 0b0011); // grn
To assist another in a separate forum post, I fired up my Pico mounted on a breadboard. Unable to locate that older working code file, I copied the snippets and 'random colours' from the current Aug 2018 tutorial http://www.espruino.com/WS2811
Upon upload not completing, the error 'Unable to retrieve board information. Connection Error?' occurs.
As the pre 'neopixel' module code worked six months ago, my first incorrect conclusion was to blame the new module.
The response from #7 set me straight that I was on the wrong solution path.
I found the documentation superb and the authors need be recognized for their efforts. I only point out the following in the anticipation of helping others.
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