With widespread power outages and retail shortages, companies are pitching in to help Japanese residents in a variety of ways. In this photo, vehicles driving south out of Fukushima Prefecture, where a troubled nuclear power plant is located, make a traffic jam in Kitaibaraki, north of Tokyo on Tuesday. (Yuji Furuya/The Yomiuri Shimbun/AP)
After last week’s quake and tsunami struck Japan, destroying thousands of homes and leaving many without electricity, employees at Tokyo Apple stores brought out surge protectors, extension cords and power adapters for people to plug in gadgets and contact their loved ones.
Apple stores have been a central outlet for some Tokyo residents, because they’re some of the only locations to offer free Wi-Fi in Japan, explains a Tokyo Apple store employee.
“Even after we finally had to close [at] 10 p.m., crowds of people huddled in front of our stores to use the Wi-Fi into the night, as it was still the only way to get access to the outside world,” the employee e-mailed to Digg founder Kevin Rose. In response to the quake, Apple has also created a page in its iTunes Store for customers to donate money to the American Red Cross.
Several tech companies are responding to the Japan earthquake with plans to aid survivors. Microsoft has pledged $250,000 in cash and $1.75 million worth of software and services to assist people affected by the multiple disaster. The software program’s primary purpose is to help businesses get their operations back up and running with free incident support and temporary software licenses.
Social-networking giant Facebook set up a Japan Earthquake page for users to find information about disaster relief, and Google has set up a crisis-response project with a Google Person Finder Tool to help find victims, as well as links to disaster resources and news stories about the quake.
Also, NTT DoComo, Japan’s largest wireless carrier, has set up a database where you can enter the cellphone number of a person to confirm his or her safety, according to MSNBC.
Some game companies are responding to the quake with sensitivity. Game developer Irem has announced it will cease development of the PlayStation 3 title City in a Desperate Situation, a game with a disaster-related theme. Also, Sega has indefinitely delayed releasing Like a Dragon, a game that involves zombies swarming a ruined Tokyo, which was supposed to hit stores Thursday.
Meanwhile, game developer Square-Enix temporarily shut down its servers for the game Final Fantasy to conserve power.
A massive tsunami followed the 9.0-magnitude earthquake Friday. Police say 6,000 people have been confirmed either dead or missing, and analysis firms estimate the disaster caused up to $34 billion in economic damages.
Fuente: Gadget Lab