The LEGO Mac
I enjoyed my fifteen minutes of international fame in 2003, when a computer I built from LEGO attracted news coverage from around the world. I was selling it on eBay to clear out some space; instead I found myself being interviewed by the BBC and news organisations as far away as Australia (years later, I still get the occasional request for an interview). In the meantime, the final bid for the LEGO Mac was in the hundreds of pounds, and the buyer was someone sufficiently well-known that I am not allowed to reveal their name.
I am not sure why it attracted so much attention. It was well designed and executed, and I thought it was pretty neat myself, but I certainly wasn't expecting the intense excitement it generated (in May 2003, apparently, it was the 14th-hottest weblog topic in the world - I have no idea how they measure these things).
How it came about
One day back in 1997 a client came into my office with a damaged PowerBook 5300. The socket on the logic board for the LCD screen had been smashed and was beyond repair. The computer was a write-off, and was put in the box of things I didn't have the heart to throw away, despite their being useless.
Some weeks later I was going through the box glumly transferring its contents to a rubbish bin. As soon as I picked up the old 5300 a thought struck me. Instead of going in the bin it came home with me, for an appointment with my children's LEGO collection; sometime after that, the LEGO Mac emerged.