Category Archives: Accounts

Setting up a blog on Blogger with your WOU Google Apps Account

Updated April 4, 2012

As promised earlier, here is how you get started on Blogger, AKA Blogspot.

Before you go through this process, though, check to see if it works already; that’s happened for some people, and it may work for more now that we have Google Profiles and Google+ enabled on our Google Apps domain.

  1. Log in to the WOUPortal.
  2. Go to gmail (Google’s systems need to know you’re online or this won’t work.)
  3. Go to  If you get a server error, or are redirected to the Portal login page, then blogger isn’t already set up for you and you need to do the workaround process below.
  4. If you see the login page for blogger, try logging in with your WOU Google Apps account: “”.  It is important to use “”, not just “”!

Here’s a snapshot of the login page, so you know you’re in the right place:

If none of that got you in to blogger’s control panel, here’s the workaround to use:

  1. Sign out of Gmail, which should return you to the Portal login page. This won’t work unless you are actually signed out; just closing browser tabs is not enough.
  2. Go to and click the “Sign up for a new Google Account” link in the upper right.  Enter your address, and the same password you use in the WOUPortal, then fill out the rest of the form.
  3. Click Continue.  You will probably see a message like this:
    Blogger is not available for Learn more about 
    Google products you can use with

    Did you use this product with a different Google Account?
    Sign out of your current Google Account and then sign in
    to the account you want.

    The text might be different, but that should be the gist of it. This is actually a good sign, and you’re almost done with the process.

  4. If the text “Sign out” in the message is a link, click it. Either way, next go to the WOUPortal, where you should see the login form.
  5. Log in, go to Gmail, and then go to Instead of the login screen, you should see a user profile including the option to create a new blog. If you do see the login form, click Sign In but don’t enter any email or password. That should take you to the blogger user profile if you weren’t there already.

That’s it! From then on, as long as you’re signed in to Gmail, you should be able to go directly to blogger and be logged in.

Google Apps Accounts vs. Google Accounts

There’s a lot of confusion about this, so hopefully I can explain it in a way that makes more sense.

A “Google Account” is basically a personal account.  This is the original type of account Google offered, back when they started up Gmail and Google Apps didn’t yet exist.  If you created an account on any Google service, it would be a Google Account.

A “Google Apps Account”, on the other hand, is what you get when a whole domain is set up to use Google services.  If you own a domain you can sign up for this yourself, but more likely you got it when an organization signed up and then gave you an account. These accounts are managed centrally by the owner of the domain. For brevity, I’m going to refer to these as “GA accounts”, and domains with Google Apps enabled as “GA domains”.

When you log in to the WOUPortal and go to gmail, you’re using a GA account; WOU’s GA domain is “”, which is why you’ll often see “” instead of “” in Google services. Particularly, when you send an email, Gmail will use “” as the From address, unless you tell it to use “” instead.  (We have instructions for that in the WOU Google Apps tutorial page; see step C in the PDF guide to transferring your old mail.)

Google accounts and GA accounts used to be completely different under the hood, and GA accounts could not access services like Picasa and Blogger that aren’t part of the core Google Apps suite like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, etc.  In 2010, however, Google changed the inner workings of GA accounts so they were more like Google Accounts; if you’re looking at Google’s help pages and see a reference to “transitioning Google Apps Accounts to a new infrastructure”, it’s referring to this change.

Since the change, GA accounts can use most services offered by Google, not just the Google Apps suite.  Most, but not all; Blogger and the new Google+ and any other service requiring a public profile are still not available to GA accounts.  Well, Blogger sort of is, but only if you sign up for it using a Google Account and then link your GA account to it.  (I’ll post a separate entry about that soon.)

As of the start of November 2011, Google announced that Google+ would be available to most Google Apps domains.  Because the minimum age for Google+ is 18, any educational institution wanting to enable Google+  for their GA domain needs to prove that they’re a college or university.  We’ve put in an application for this, and soon should get the option to enable Google+ on

However, I don’t know when that will be; supposedly there’s a wait time because they have lots of applications to process.  Once that’s done, your WOU GA Account will be almost exactly like a Google Account, and you (hopefully) won’t have to worry about the difference anymore.

Meanwhile, I hope this helped!

Creating a Google Docs account

This is part of an occasional series of instructional posts on various topics.

If you want to use Google Docs but don’t already have a Gmail or Google Docs account, you’ll need to click the “Create an account now” link below the login box, which will take you to the account creation form. There, you need to enter the following:

  1. Your current email address. This does not need to be a gmail address, but must be a real address where you can get a confirmation email. Your address is OK to use here. Note that this entire address will be the login name for your Google Docs account.
  2. A password. For security reasons, you should NEVER use your WOU password on a non-WOU server. Please create a password that you can remember; it must be at least eight characters long and ideally should include at least one number and punctuation mark. It is OK to write down this password as long as you keep it in a safe place, such as with your credit cards.
  3. Re-enter the password to confirm that there weren’t any typos the first time.
  4. If you are likely to use publicly accessible or shared computers to log in to Google Docs, uncheck the “Stay signed in” checkbox. Otherwise, it is OK to leave it checked so you won’t have to log in as often.
  5. Uncheck the “Enable Web History” button, unless you are comfortable with Google tracking and remembering searches that you make even when you are not logged in. Click the “Learn More” link for more information about this.
  6. Choose your location from the dropdown menu; if you are in the US, the menu will probably already be set to “United States”.
  7. Enter your birth date. Make sure to use a four-digit year.
  8. Type in the verification word. This is necessary to show that you are a person and not some computer program trying to automatically create an account for some sneaky purpose. Unfortunately, their verification words are rather hard to read, because Google is attacked often by hackers and they have to be very sure you are indeed a human. Sometimes the letters are extremely narrow and squashed between two others, but luckily it doesn’t matter whether you type them in capitals or lowercase. If you have trouble with the visual verification, turn on your speakers and click the handicapped icon. After a few moments, you will hear three beeps followed by a slowly spoken series of numbers with a computer-generated random muttering in the background. Sometimes you will hear non-number syllables like “oway”, “no”, or “yow” in the foreground; ignore those and pay attention to the numbers alone. You will hear the words “once again” and the code will be repeated.
  9. If you are so inclined, read the Terms of Service. A more readable version may be found at ““. Here are some important points:

    • You agree to do nothing illegal, nor attempt to hack or otherwise mess up any of Google’s services.
    • You agree that Google can change the features of their service without notice.
    • You agree that Google isn’t legally responsible for what you do with your account, and that you can’t blame Google if you see anything objectionable.
    • You agree that Google does not guarantee that their service will be available 100% of the time
    • Google agrees that you retain any intellectual property rights to content you upload.
    • You agree that Google has a license to display your uploaded content as part of its services, i.e. if you share content with anyone, Google is legally allowed to show it to them. This is the infamous “Section 11.1” which looks very scary when read by someone not versed in legal technicalities; you can find more information at ““. The key point is that the license granted in Section 11.1 is limited by the Google Docs Privacy policy which states that your information is only shared with people whom you designate. Click here for an independent opinion. Further information can be found by doing a web search for “Google Docs Terms of Service Section 11.1” without the quotes.
  10. Assuming you are satisfied with the terms of service, click the button below them that tells Google that you agree and want your account created. You may need to retry once or twice to get the verification text right.

Once you are done with the form, you will get a confirmation email at the address you gave in step one. The subject line will be “Google Email Verification” and it will be sent from “”, so make sure your spam filters are set to allow the message through. You should save this message, because you may need it again if you forget your account name or password. Consider saving it as a file in your home directory, so you have a backup in case the email is accidentally deleted.

Click the verification link near the top of the email. You’ll be taken to a page that confirms that your account is now active and gives you several options and informational links. It is not necessary to link your account to a gmail address or a mobile phone, but you can do so if you want to. However, instructions for those actions are beyond the purpose of this document.

The “Click here to continue” link will take you to Google Docs itself, which I will cover in another document.

User creation process improvements

A few weeks ago, when Brian was on vacation, some of the rest of us had a communication breakdown about creating new user accounts, and several new employees had to wait entirely too long before they could log on. This was at least partially my fault.

Brian is going to be gone again next week, but this time we won’t have these problems because we’ve improved the process. First of all, we found out why most of the notifications were misrouted and fixed that. Also, I’ve added some more automation to the faculty/staff account creation system, so there’s less work to do. I can’t really talk about the details because that would mean giving out too many specifics about our servers, but several steps that formerly had to be done by hand now happen by themselves. The weird part was how easy it was to do, once we took another look at the process; once upon a time it had to be complicated, but thanks to various changes we’ve made in the last few years, a bunch of stuff was no longer needed.

Anyway it’s way the heck late at night and I need to get out of here. At least the prettymail stuff is working , um, pretty well. (Yeah, this is my 2AM sense of humor.)