The images and news reports coming out of Japan are absolutely heartbreaking.
If you’re an artist and would like to do something to help out, Wednesday’s Heroes has a way to contribute.
Craig at the site has started an art auction and he’s looking for donations from folks who want to participate. Details at the link. The Fraim Brothers, Mitch Byrd, Gene Colan, and Robert Pope already have stuff up with more to come.
Tom Spurgeon at The Comics Reporter has a number of related links to other ways you can help, along with announcements related to those affected by the crisis.
Robot 6 also has a nice round-up of helpful links.
Japan was a big help to the US following Hurricane Katrina and the US comics industry is very closely aligned with the Japanese manga industry, so if you can please lend a hand.
[Artwork: News photo of Sendai]
Given the destruction caused by the earthquake and subsequent tsunamis, Apple announced today that it will delay the release of the iPad 2 in the country.
"We are delaying the launch of the iPad 2 in Japan while the country and our teams focus on recovering from the recent disaster," Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris confirmed.
The iPad 2 went on sale in the U.S. on March 11 and was scheduled to launch in more than two dozen additional countries, including Japan, on March 25. An 8.9-magnitude earthquake, however, hit northeast Japan on March 11, prompting devastating tsunamis that have wiped away entire towns and killed thousands.
Hours after a massive earthquake measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale struck Japan, an Apple store in Tokyo kept its doors open to hundreds of nearby victims, and instructed stranded employees and their families to stay overnight at the five-story flagship store.
A moved Kevin Rose, founder of Digg, posted two anonymous letters from "an admitted [Apple] fanboy" and Apple store employee in Japan, who wrote at length about Apple's calm, humanitarian response to the quake.
"[With] the phone and train lines down, taxis stopped, and millions of people stuck in the Tokyo shopping district scared, with no access to television, hundreds of people were swarming into Apple stores to watch the news on USTREAM and contact their families via Twitter, Facebook, and email," the letter read. "The young did it on their mobile devices, while the old clustered around the Macs. There were even some Android users there. (There are almost no free wifi spots in Japan besides Apple stores, so even Android users often come to the stores.)"
"Staff brought out surge protectors and extension cords with 10s of iOS device adapters so people could charge their phones & pads and contact their loved ones. Even after we finally had to close 10pm, crowds of people huddled in front of our stores to use the wifi into the night, as it was still the only way to get access to the outside world."
Sony Online Entertainment is officially flipping off the servers for its Final Fantasy XIV, Final Fantasy XI, and PlayOnline games and services. Don't worry, they'll be back online in short order. The move comes as a result of Japan's Friday earthquake—and the temporary loss of massively multiplayer online gaming is just one of the fallouts.
"Due to the continuous earthquakes occurring in the eastern regions of Japan since Mar. 11, 2011, the power companies in Japan have encouraged everyone to cooperate by conserving as much energy as possible as it is feared there will not be enough power supply," reads a Sony blog post, published today.
Accordingly, Sony is suspending service for its two Final Fantasy MMOs and PlayOnline starting at 3 p.m. PST today. There's been no indication as to how long the servers will remain offline, though Sony promises that it will update players with additional information as soon as it comes in. Sony plans to leave the servers offline for at least a week, possibly more—the company indicates that it will not be billing players for any time the servers are offline.
As the devastating images of the earthquake and subsequent tsunamis in Japan come in via cable news, newspapers, blogs, and homemade videos, tech giants like Google, Apple, Twitter, and more are donating funds and using the power of tech to help those in need.
In the wake of the earthquake, Google set up its Person Finder Web site to help people locate the missing or post data on those who had been found. In a Saturday blog post, Google Japan's Ken Miura said his team started working on Google's Crisis Response page within minutes of the quake.
Miura was in Tokyo, about 250 miles away from where the first quake hit, but the Google Japan office – located on the 26th floor – "started shaking slowly," he wrote.
"Although alerts from the building urged us to evacuate via the emergency stairs, I couldn't help but stay and search for information about the earthquake's epicenter and scale," he wrote. Miura said he was a university student when the Kobe earthquake hit 16 years ago and he recalled "the immediate desire for information."
With that in mind, the team launched Person Finder in Japan within an hour of the earthquake, pulled together public information from local governments about affected areas, and posted tsunami warnings on the Google homepage.
Miura also said Google will donate $250,000 to Japanese relief agencies.
In the wake of the devastating 8.9 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunamis in Japan, Google has launched a version of its Person Finder tool for Web users looking friends and loved ones in the affected region.
The tool is available in English and Japanese. Users can click on the "I'm looking for someone" link or the "I have information about someone" link and enter what they know. Search by name or parts of a name, or - if you have information - enter the family or given name to create an entry.
Google stressed that all data entered is available to the public and viewable and usable by anyone. The search giant also does not review or verify the data entered into the system; after the immediate crisis has passed, Google archives the data. At this point, the system is currently tracking about 7,200 records.