I knew about the concept but I was unaware of how it was referred to.US cartoonist Rube Goldberg gave his name to the incredible machines that perform simple tasks in indirect ways. See for instance the "Keep You From Forgetting To Mail Your Wife's Letter"
As described by the Wikipedia:
"The term also applies as a classification for a generally over-complicated apparatus or software. It first appeared in Webster's Third New International Dictionary with the definition "accomplishing by extremely complex roundabout means what actually or seemingly could be done simply." Rube's inventions are a unique commentary on life's complexities. They provide a humorous diversion into the absurd that lampoons the wonders of technology. These send-ups of man's ingenuity resonate in modern life for those seeking simplicity in the midst of a technology revolution. Goldberg machines can also be seen as a physical representation of the 'pataphysical—carrying a simple idea to a nonsensical, ornamented extreme."
Why do I blog this? rube goldberg, as chindogu, are intriguing phenomenon and surely of interest in terms of design issues/opportunities. And I think it goes beyond simply making fun of some human tendency to make things more complicated than they are. I will surely check more what has been written on that topic