Dickie: I can't help you with your "main" questions, but I can help with the "other" questions.
I use the keyboard/mouse with the CF-01 all of the time. My dock is connected to a KVM. I have also used a keyboard/mouse connected directly to the dock. I have a few mice that do not work. I'm not sure why. I also get a error message when the CF-01 boots with a mouse attached. I'm not sure about this either. You may want to try a different mouse.
I built a hood for my CF-01 for use on my boat. This works OK (just barely). I have posted about this solution in the past. There is not much that can be done to make the screen directly readable in direct sunlight. I've been looking for alternative display options (transflective, TFT) for the CF-01. So far I haven't found any.
If you want, I can take a picture of my hood setup and put it on my website.
Electronics run on smoke, if you let the smoke out they won't work