Wow, you've asked some very good questions. I would like to first start by saying "I am no expert by any means.
1. Spool Preparation - It's best to wax your spool with a good car wax. I used pure carnauba wax and polish it 3 times. Then I apply in the center of the spool about 2 turns of flex wrap like this stuff from Johnson and Johnson http://www.drugstore.com/products/prod.asp?pid=149716&catid=59966&aid=338666&aparam=149716
2. Securing line to the spool - I used to tie a nail knot but recently leaned from Jim a stronger method. Tie a bimini in the braid to create a double line, then with the double line, wrap around the spool twice and tie off with a nail knot and cut off the tag end leaving about 1/4" or 5 mm of the tag
3. Splices - Assuming that you are not using splice connections where the mono/fluorocarbon is inserted into the hollow braid, uni to uni is common. Depending on how much time I have, I sometime use a Seagar knot (I think that is what they call it). Others use a PR knot,... If you search YouTube, there are many knot demonstrations for these connections.
4. Spooling Tension - Jerry Brown's site specifies about 1/2 the expected drag pressure should be sufficient. I prefer for the first 1/3 spool, at least 1/3 the breaking strengh then after that, at least 1/4 the breaking strength of the line. There's a lot of debate on this one, and many cannot agree or even agree to disagree.
5. Swivel splice - This is very common among trollers using barrel swivels. I'd say it depends on whether your rod has all rollers. It's okay, but I prefer a direct splice or loop to loop connections.
6. A blood, palomer,... I'd say a knot that you know how to tie well, and test it. Note, that even surfaces that appear smooth is not really smooth enough for braided line and knots should be checked and changed every so often due to the abration. If you take a close up picture of a hooks eye that looks smooth, you will see the inperfections that abraid the braided line.
7. Braid as Leader - I've not used braid as leader material, but I have tied lures directly on the main braid. I have not used it for leader, so I cannot give you definitive results, but think if you tie directly to a hook and hook on a live bait, it would be a pretty darn good method to give the bait fish the least amount of resistance as it swims in the water. You guys that do long range trips, have you ever done this?
8. Special Knots - I don't think there are special know you need to know unless you are trying to accomplish something, such as splicing. If you google splicing braid to mono or fluorocarbon, you will get a lot of hints of the different knots. Learn a few well and know the limitations and you will do fine.
9. Dyneema and Spectra are essentially treated the same. Spectra is a trade name for gel spun fiber line where Dyneema is a generic name for gel spun fiber line if my memory serves me. Dacron is a braided line of sorts, it's thicker and a lot cheaper. it may be affected by UV, salt, etc. where as Dynemma and Spectra are not.
What ever you use, mono, braid, fluorocarbon, wire, your weekest link will be the knots or splice connections. Test your skills by tying those connections and see how they are breaking on average and set your drags at 30% or so of based on the breaking resistance of the connecton.
Have fun, and you will not regret going to braid. it's great.
Lastly, read all of the safety issues regarding braid. tight braid, if running, will slice you like a razor sharp knife. protect yourself and you will be fine.