Sounds like howfie is handling the triangle strips incorrectly. Deriving triangle winding from vertex normals is a Bad Idea, and there's no way Namco's engineers would write something that does that at load/run time. I'm betting that if you feed the index buffer through Noesis using RPGEO_TRIANGLE_STRIP, it will work just fine, as it natively recognizes (and allows you to set custom terminators for) 360/PS3 triangle strips.
As for uncompressed DDS, DDS files can be in shitloads of formats so the format depends on the DDS header. If you meant to say DXT instead of DDS, then you'd want to use the appropriate DXT type. Given that the DXT data is from a console game, you may also have to endian-swap it first. See the Bullet Witch script for examples, it handles virtually every type of DXT data and demonstrates endian-swapping it as well as untiling it. That game is from PS3 from what I gathered from the thread, though, so you shouldn't need to untile.
I'm again going to guess that howfie misspoke there, and he meant the texture data is headerless DXT, not headerless DDS, as headerless DDS makes no real sense.
You'll probably want to use NOESISTEX_DXT1-NOESISTEX_DXT5 on the data. Again, endian-swapping may or may not be necessary. If it is necessary, you just need to do something like "data = rapi.swapEndianArray(data, 2)".
And, finally, half-floats. If you need to read a bunch to build a list of floats (that is, you need them in floating point format and not as raw bytes), I would say a loop is best. However, keep in mind that the rpg interface also supports half-floats natively. So if they're a vertex component or something, you can use RPGEODATA_HALFFLOAT to feed them in with a rpgBind* call. For example, "rapi.rpgBindUV1BufferOfs(vertBuffer, noesis.RPGEODATA_HALFFLOAT, vertexSize, uvOffset)".
Edit: Oh, and yes, when vertex weights are part of the central vertex structure, you just bind the buffers like any other vertex component. The flat weights structure is for converting variable-sized weights to a flat array format that can be conveniently bound with a fixed stride.