Computers have been the least of our problems this week as we've sat and watched the country where many of them are made being torn to shreds by an earthquake, tsunami and impending nuclear disaster. It's really too awful for words and certainly for trite comparisons.
But as we've witnessed from the ongoing uprisings in the Middle East, technology now plays a supporting role in most major world events. It's no different with the current Japanese disaster aftermath and ongoing crisis.
Internet giant Google has joined in relief efforts by creating the Google Crisis Response page, which has information, links, messages, maps and other resources available in Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean.
Google's efforts also involve Person Finder, a Web application that let people post and search for the names of residents who are missing or out of touch. And Google has set up a Picasa Web Album that has pictures of hand written survivor lists taken at shelters. The Crisis Response page is also providing volunteers to help non-Japanese speakers translate the lists.
In addition Google have set up a simplified version of the Crisis Response page that is configured to be run on a variety of mobile devices.
The Japanese have long been on the cutting edge with computers, mobile phones and other digital accessories. Few would have imagined them having to use their hard won tech savvy in such a dire situation as this.