It's tough to find good uses for interns. They don't have the experience to do any heavy lifting, and management gets annoyed if you only use them to fetch you coffee. Usually, they get to re-organize the supply closet or maybe help sanitize some DB records in test, if anyone trusts them near a computer.

Matthew thought he had found some good work for Timmy, his fresh-faced intern. "This is hopefully pretty straight-forward, but please, let me know if you have any questions," Matthew said. He pointed to a screen-mockup. "We want this little round swatch to display the user's currently selected color. When the user clicks the round swatch, they should see this text-box and they can enter in a new hex-code. When they hit 'save', the hex-code gets saved to the DB, and the swatch displays the new color."

Timmy smiled, nodded, asked a few basic questions until he felt like he understood the problem and then ran off to work. No one saw Timmy for a week. Since the swatch was fairly low priority, nobody really noticed. Any emails enquiring about progress simply generated the reply, "Working on it- almost there."

When Timmy re-appeared the following Monday, his hair was unkempt, his eyes bloodshot, and his optimistic smile had submlimated. "It's- it's done. It took me an overnight over the weekend, but I got it done!"

Matthew complimented his dedication and privately questioned the intern's sanity. After explaining that overnighters were not expected or desired, Matthew took a look at the page. Sure enough, everything worked exactly as Matthew had described. Points to Timmy, but Matthew couldn't help but wonder why this simple task took a week. He took a look at the code, expecting to see some seriously bad and overly complex code, but no. Everything was perfectly normal. Although, upon close inspection, he noticed that the colored swatch was actually an image file.

Making anything circular on a web-page takes a little know-how. Since HTML favors nice, rectangular blocks, to make a round DIV, one needs to get a little bit creative about masking things with images. Or, if one isn't feeling creative, one could do what Timmy did: generate 16,777,216 JPGs, each named for the hex-code it represented, and each perfectly round.

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