So the endgame to my near brush with device death worked out. My laptop rebooted, and my phone reloaded itself. (I am now officially on IOS 7.1) There were a few hours of yak shaving involved, but so be it...
(In case you're wondering, yes, you can restore an iPad backup to an iPhone :)
So what do I think of IOS 7.1? Well, it's slightly better. The new round buttons are better than the old square ones. Lots of little things have been fixed to be more obvious. On the other hand, the shift key on the new keyboard is a joke... how could they possibly let something so crummy ship? At the highest level 7.1 does not "fix" the usability issues of IOS 7, it just mitigates them. I would go back to IOS 6 in a flash.
Here's something they could fix: Browse vs Search. It's true, who wants to pick from a long list... Contacts, Songs, Artists, these lists appear everywhere in IOS and they're hard to use.
Perception: the day I saw Van Gogh's genius in a new light. Original is on the left, color shifted version (the way he might have seen it) on the right.
The Hard Thing about Hard Things. I feel like I should read this, but it feels ... hard. Can't someone please summarize in a few bullets? :)
This is great: Books in the age of the iPad. Written four years ago, and every bit as true today as it was then.