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No Hurt Feelings: Getting Over Getting Actively Refused in the Epicor System

“When you were called, did you answer or did you not? Perhaps softly and in a whisper?”

― Søren Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling


Kierkegaard, the nineteenth century existential thinker, wrote at length of the internal struggle between the individual agent and his or her sense of existence. His philosophical work Fear and Trembling outlines the moral anxiety produced by choosing to live according to an absolute faith, in a world that provides no validation or verification. This has been commonly referred to as a leap of faith.



The Epicor System Doesn’t Hate You

With its logical foundations in propositional calculus and its physical manifestation in Silicon, one might not expect such angst to enter the realm of information technology. Nevertheless, anxieties flare more often than one might expect when implementing software such as ERP. For example, when I worked for an Epicor customer, users encountered the following login error with trepidation:


I never expected logging into the Epicor system to require a leap of faith, yet users found the message especially troublesome, and came to me in desperation, pleading that I restore their confidence in the application. The mere thought of being “actively refused” by the application server struck many new users as a surprising, almost personal, affront. “What did I do wrong?” they would anxiously ask me, “Did I make it mad?”


The error is really quite easy to explain and resolve without things getting personal. The system normally raises this error when the application server gets stopped, hung up or is otherwise unresponsive. It’s an error due to inactivity rather than activity. There is no angry ghost in the target machine, more of a sleepy doorman. System administrators normally resolve such a circumstance by simply restarting the AppServer. Once restarted, the AppServer can nowactively respond to login requests.



Moving On From Lost Connections

Have you ever felt actively refused? Do you fear the temporary loss of connection to the information you need? Has your AppServer ever made you tremble? Well, fear no more—the next time you receive this error when logging into the system, remind your system administrator of your existence with an email that includes the error message. And keep the faith.

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