Category Archives: Life at VSO

A glimpse at what it’s like to work at VSO, the office, the team, the brains behind the software and software news

Win a VSO Goldmember license!

Trivia Time! One guess and the Goldmember license could be yours!

At VSO Software, we work hard and it’s no surprise that we drink a lot of coffee!

Will you guess how many used coffee pods there are in the box?

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Send us your estimation and you may win one of five Goldmember package! Yes that’s all VSO  Software programs and their updates for free, for life!

The contest is now over! A big thank you to the hudreds of you guys who participated!

Surprisingly, NOBODY guessed the right amount of coffee pods: there were 114 in the box!


The 5 winners closest to 114 are Benoit, Ian, Tracy, Steven and Richard. All 5 have been contacted and have won a Goldembership licence!


Visiting Downton Abbey

I was fortunate enough (and very excited to say the least) to be able to visit the real “Downton Abbey”, Highclere Castle last week!


Here is a glimpse of  the place where the show is filmed (or was filmed, since Season 6 production just wrapped up and this will be its last season):


Highclere castle is situated near Newbury, an hour from London by train. And of course, this being the UK, it rained… But no matter the weather,  the magnificient building and the majestic grounds still take your breath away as you arrive….



The victorian castle belongs to the same family since 1679, and they still live in it, which is why visiting time is limited and only some of the rooms are open to the public.


The gardens are absolutely beautiful, though the lack of sun didn’t do them justice. It’s a shame we don’t see much of them on the show. You can even buy some of the plants at the gift shop to recreate your own garden at home!



Sadly, no photography is allowed inside the castle.  But gazing through the library, dining room, drawing room, the saloon and some bedrooms was a great experience, everything looked so much better than on TV. And of course walking down the grand staircase was the highlight of the visit!


The dragon is one of the emblem of the castle:


And much to my disappointment, Carson didn’t come to open the door when I rang the bell…



This is the back of the castle, where Thomas Barrow plots his next scheme while smoking. The “downstairs area” does not exist, the kitchen and servants quarters are filmed in a London studio.20150820_134311

Real fans will also remember this “folly” which is seen in the earliest seasons:


The actual Downton Abbey storyline is loosely inspired by the real inhabitants of the castle, mainly Lady Almina, an American woman who married the Earl of Caravon at the turn of the 19th century, bringing along an impressive dowry and who turned the castle into a military hospital during WW1. Her life story is fascinating and documented in a book. The cellars of the castle are home to an Egyptian exhibition, as, back in 1922, the 5th Earl of Carnarvon discovered  the Tomb of the Egyptian  pharaoh Tutankhamun, with his archaeological colleague, Howard Carter.

If you want to visit Highclere castle, be aware that it’s only open to the public in Easter and over the summer holiday. Tickets are sold 6 months in advance and sell out very fast. (I bought mine on February 1st and there were none left for the whole summer season 10 days later).

And now let’s wait for Season 6 to start on ITV in just a few weeks!


Tour de France special


Since the Tour de France is coming close to our headquarters in Toulouse, I thought of you all biking fanatics!

Here is a selection of the finest cycling movies of all times, that you can watch and download with our VSO Downloader!


The Bicycle Thief  This classic italian movie tells a heartbreak story set amidst the rubble of war-ravaged Rome: Ricci, an unemployed man, gets at last a good job – for which he needs a bike – hanging up posters. But soon his bicycle is stolen. He and his son walk the streets of Rome, looking for it.


The Triplets of Belleville  or “Belleville Rendez-Vous” is a cartoon like no other!  Madame Souza buys her grandson a bicycle and encourages his dream of winning the Tour de France. However, a group of Mafia gangsters kidnapps him so they can use his bicycling prowess in an elaborate gambling scheme. The Belleville Sisters set out to the rescue.


The Flying Scotsman The true story of celebrated Scottish cyclist Graeme Obree, a former world champion, who broke the world one-hour record on a bike of his own design, made from parts of a washing machine. The film follows his life’s victories as well as his battles with mental health problems.


Jour de Fête  or “The Big Day”  is a French classic movie about an easily distracted mailman obsessed with speeding up the delivery of the service on his route – doing it as well or even better than the Americans – with only his bicycle, his ingenuity and advice from the townsfolk to do so.


A Sunday in Hell  The film follows the French Paris-Roubaix spring classic, notorious for the hellish paves or cobbled roads of the north “which are no longer used for traffic but only for transporting cattle – and for cycle races”.


The Armstrong Lie picks up in 2013 after Armstrong was stripped of his 7 Tour de France titles, and presents a riveting, insider’s view of the unraveling of the greatest deception in sports history.



Contest Time: spot the invader!

At VSO, we’re very busy making amazing software. Which is why sometimes, we don’t always have time to keep things tidy. Check out this picture of one of our developer’s desk (who shall remain unnamed).  An intruder has made its way in the picture… can you spot it?

If you do, you can win a license for a VSO program of your choice! (except Goldmember)

The contest is now over! Thanks for participating and congratulations to Martyn!