Category Archives: Blogging

WordPress automated upgrades

When we upgraded to WP 3.8 right around the new year, I noticed that it promised to automatically apply security updates.  Sure enough, we now have 3.8.1 without any of us having to lift a finger.  It’s always nice when something works like that.

If any of you still have WordPress sites on our server that are not part of the main install at, please be certain that they are upgraded to the latest version!  Un-maintained WP sites are a serious security hazard, and unfortunately we’re going to need to be a little tighter about separate WP installations.  If you have a site like this and want to move it to the central installation, we can help you with that; just contact me at  Also, if you know of one of these separate WP sites that isn’t needed anymore, let me know and I’ll remove it for you safely.

And now, WordPress!

Due to a teeth-grindingly annoying legal issue, we suddenly can’t use any google apps outside the core package for anything WOU-related.  One of the ones we lost is Blogger, so now we’re using WordPress.

The migration wasn’t particularly hard, except for posts that contained images, i.e. not very many of mine.

I moved the blog last Tuesday, and by Sunday I already had four spam comments.  How did I know they were spam? Well, the standard “I liked this post which I will not talk about specifically” sort of wording is probably a giveaway to most people already, but here’s the real clincher: because I forgot to set a theme after importing, this blog was not visible at all in normal browsers. Pure white screen, until a few minutes ago.  So, the comments must’ve come either from a robot reading the source code directly, or one posting automatically to the comment submit link.  Spammers, gotta love ’em. If by the word “love” you actually mean “loathe”, that is.

Anyway, enough of that.  Gotta get more work done.

Template change

Well, I tried the snazzy new “Dynamic Views” template, but couldn’t find a layout I liked that still didn’t make people have to roll the mouse over an icon to see the sidebar stuff.  That’s more important now that I’m actually listing more coworkers’ blogs here.

This one’s about as plain as homemade vanilla, but that’s fine with me.

How to search for WOU blogs

Since Blogger is one of those weird services that’s still not quite compatible with Google Apps, there’s not an easy way to list blogs owned by others in our domain.  Not that I’ve yet found, anyway.

You can try Blogger Search, though; it’s available in a bunch of different ways:

Some help is available at the Blog Search FAQ page, but it seems to be a bit outdated.
Currently, just searching for “” (our Google Apps domain name) doesn’t get you much, but once more of us get active and start linking to each other, that should change. Right now it’s probably best to search for a specific person’s blog using “” and their name, like so:

This will search the contents of all publicly available entries in the Blogger system, so you’ll probably also get results from outside WOU, but anything from the blog you’re looking for should be near the top.

Now, I’m not sure why this search only returned one entry, since Nathan has more than that in his blog, but the important thing is that it gives the blog’s address.
Later I’ll post on how to add a blog to your blog’s sidebar, or to the list of blogs in your dashboard.

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.

Time flies…

And yet again it’s been a few months since I last posted. In my defense, these have been crazy months, including the mailserver upgrade, the mess with the all-faculty-staff email lists, frantically trying to get caught up on all the other stuff I had to lets slide because of the big things, then I went on vacation, then I came back and had to get caught up from that, then I was out sick a few days…

Sheesh. The thing is, none of this stuff should be a barrier to updating my blog. I think my problem is that I feel like I have to write something long and involved, not to mention at least a bit witty. Really all that’s needed are quick updates.

So let’s see if, this time, I can do better. I’ve been working on those posts about “how does the Web work anyway” that I mentioned, but they’re pretty dense, so it might be a while before I put them up. Meanwhile I’ll concentrate on shorter posts and try to catch up on my entry count.

So how does the Web really work, anyway?

I’m always fascinated to learn how things work, especially stuff we completely take for granted, like for instance how electricity gets from a power plant to your house. So in the hopes that there are others like me out there, I’m going to describe the inner workings of something most of us take for granted: the World-Wide Web.

Naturally this is going to take more than one post, since I’ll try to start from fairly non-technical concepts, and use analogies. Those of you who already know most of this may find the explanations not quite accurate, because I’ll leave out a lot of the nitpicky details, especially at first. I don’t have an outline in mind, so I can’t say exactly how this is going to go, but here’s a basic idea of what I’ll try to cover:

  • Internet 101
  • What is a protocol?
  • Before the Web was born
  • HTTP vs. HTML
  • Why are there different browsers?
  • What’s a URL and how do I read it?
  • What is actually happening when I click that link?
  • How does the page get to me?
  • What if there’s a problem?
  • How forms work
  • Secure connections (HTTPS)
  • E-commerce and shopping carts
  • Web video
  • More security concerns
  • What’s “Web 2.0”?

Hmmm, OK, just off the top of my head I came up with a lot more than I thought I would. And there’s a lot more where that came from! So we’ll see how far I get, and how many entries it takes.