i just received this reply from willem, moderator for mebeam forum:
"I got a very clear answer now from Ashod!
Ashod did intentionally implement the 5 minutes room close down, when
there is no one else in a room. Because sometimes, people are at a netcafe
or even at home and just goto a room and forget to close the browser page
and the room can that way run for days... and that will cost lots of money
for the used servers. So, it saves that way lots of datatraffic and money.
The other thing he implemented is the auto refresh room after 20 min's:
It will that way:
(1) speed up connections, when there are long delays in a room.
(2) if room is full and someone is waiting to enter room , it gives
everyone a chance to use that particular room.
I've added this info in short form on the Mebeam help page too."
well, i was beginning to think i was losing it(having forgotten that i lost it a long time ago) -- i'll explain our unique usage of mebeam, but i'm sure they're not going to change it back -- i get the impression that this was a recent change, and that would explain why some of us have seen a change in our ability to use mebeam -- with this new info, however, we can see that it is not because of any changes we may have made to our computers
thanks again, charles and jundo, for figuring this out